I note on a Facebook post this morning (That I cant share here unfortunately) that historic Ag-DC-3 ZK-AZL has been moved from Mystery Creek to Te Kowhai Airfield. My aeroplane has a new neighbour! This is a very sensible move after all the effort spent restoring it a few years ago, as no-one could actually see it at Mystery Creek. I know no other details about where it will be assembled and dispalyed, or whether its cover shed will also be coming to protect it from the elements.
If it was supposed to be easy. everyone would be doing it...
I must admit that not being able to see it at Mystery Creek was a bit sad for me. I hope that it will be open for the public at Te Kowhai. I have a lot of happy memories of AZL. It was the first aircraft I ever flew in and also the last DC3 I flew. In between was the time spent both loading and flying it.
I remember reading and hearing a lot about the project to restore/refurbish AZL on WONZ so the comment that she needs a bit of love strikes me as strange, though I confess I've no kept up with the aircraft.
Great to see it back among "friends". I first saw AZL on Rongotai when I was "knee high to a grasshopper" in mid 1953 when de Havilland was undertaking some on it. Unsure if they were fitting a hopper or possibly overhauling the engines as I remember my father remarking about the amount of oil they were leaking
Post by Dave Homewood on May 15, 2019 17:22:00 GMT 12
This is a result of a suggestion I made quite some while ago, lmost two years I guess, to Lynnette James when she told me that she was very unhappy with it being locked away at Mystery Creek where no-one could see it. At the same time Dan Readman, one of Te Kowhai's co-owners, had told me they'd like to create a small museum and find an interesting aeroplane as centrepiece. So I told Lynnette this and put them in touch. I am really pleased to see my idea has actually come to fruition.
Lynnette told me that the building they had it in at Mystery Creek was designed to be movable as they always thought they may have to shift the aircraft at some point. So I assume and hope that the building will follow.
There are some corrosion issues that the team plan to sort out and Ryan Cadwallader asked me today to spread the word for any volunteers who would like to get involved in the restoration, get in touch with the Te Kowhai team.
Post by planewriting on May 16, 2019 9:15:50 GMT 12
I can answer part of Mad Max's comment:
"Great to see it back among "friends". I first saw AZL on Rongotai when I was "knee high to a grasshopper" in mid 1953 when de Havilland was undertaking some on it. Unsure if they were fitting a hopper or possibly overhauling the engines as I remember my father remarking about the amount of oil they were leaking"
The hopper would not have been installed in 1953.
The wider picture of its history is: The aircraft served in the RNZAF as NZ3545, and along with the majority of its type, went to NAC where they were to be progressively converted into airliners and freighters. From an early Whites Directory I see it was given the name "Kuaka". As fate would have it, ZK-AZL was the last in line for conversion however before that took place, the maintenance hangar at Milson (Palmertson North), in which the conversions took place, burnt down, in October 1953. In the absence of a facility, AZL's conversion plan went out the window. Soon after, the RNZAF came knocking, "can we borrow AZL to use as a baggage aircraft for the Royal tour coming up in December '53 / January 54?". "Yes said NAC and handed over the aircraft, still in RNZAF livery. At the end of the tour, and with still no conversion facility, AZL resumed its wait. A while later Ossie James came knocking at NAC's door, asking "I'm looking for a DC-3 to use as a topdressing aircraft". "Have this one, pointing at a forlorn AZL" said NAC. So, AZL joined James Aviation as "Highland Duster" and entered service in a quasi civil livery which retained the RNZAF cheet line.
A few years ago, I sent a copy of Civil Aviation's ZK-AZL registration card to Lynette to mount in the aircraft. Can someone confirm whether or not it has been put in the aircraft. In need I can supply another as I believe it is a significant part of its history.
I was out there over the rainy weekend. Caught AZL under a rainbow.
Tried to do a "Pot-o-Gold" onto the cockpit shot but was defeated by a combination of poor phone camera and fast-changing lighting as the rain-clouds passed through, driven before a blustery westerly...