Also, how many crew members were required to fly one in topdressing? I assume the navigator was dropped, but did they still have two pilots and an engineer aboard?
Single pilot operation. Had a mate who cadged a ride in one working out of Ardmore...reckoned it was quite strange to see the pilot doing all his control actions some seconds (seemingly) before the plane reacted...like pushing the wheel in half way up the face of a hill, to maintain optimum height up and over the top...everything seemingly in slow motion. Being used to Tigers and sundry small DH stuff, he initially found it rather...off putting, but the pilot sure knew his plane...and the terrain.....Also the pilot (can't recall who) had a lit cigarette in his mouth continuously from take off to touch down......Myles reckoned he'd need them, flinging the Dak around some of the terrain they were flying through...
Post by Peter Lewis on Jan 16, 2010 1:09:24 GMT 12
ZK-BKD working off Wairoa October 1982. This was the last AgDak I saw actually in operation
We visited the bar at Gisborne about 12 years ago. At that time the place was quite neat, and there were stairs leading up to the Dakota. The interior had been stripped out, and there was a long table fixed to and running down the starboard side of the fuselage inside with bar stools adjacent. You could comfortably sit there and discuss past present and future.
Another visit in January 2009 revealed a different story. The whole place had a run down look, the stairs up to the Dakota had been removed and the aircraft was inaccessible. I managed a quick peek through a window, and the inside of the aircraft was just a rubbish dump. Vegetation was growing up around it as these photos show. Sad.
Retirement is something for the young. Once you are old you never seem to have the time.
Post by kiwithrottlejockey on Jan 23, 2010 13:40:15 GMT 12
Those photographs of AG-DAKs, particularly at Gisborne, bring back a lot of memories.
I used to see a lot of them while driving trains out of Gisborne. Quite often, we'd get held at the Up Home Signal at Gisborne Airport while an aeroplane was taking off or landing on the main runway and one of Fieldair's DC-3s would be taxiing in and swinging around to line up with the loader, or taxiing away after loading up. We knew all the pilots by sight (just as they no doubt knew us by sight) and we'd always wave to each other, but the only one I knew by name was Bruce Thompson, who I managed to bludge a ride with during the last few weeks of Ag-Dak operation in return for taking him for a ride in a locomotive down to Napier and back. Gisborne Airport was an interesting place back then, especially during the busy super-spreading season when they had three DC-3s working hard-out.
We also used to see a lot of the DC-3 operating out of Wairoa as well while driving trains past there. I'll never forget the time I was driving a Gisborne to Wellington passenger train past Wairoa airport just as a Fieldair DC-3 began its takeoff run. About halfway along the runway, the Dak suffered an engine failure and the result was extremely spectacular as the pilot dumped the load of super out the bottom onto the runway and the DC-3 shot up into the air like a rocket as it lost all that weight. The superphosphate went for miles, right through the boundary fence at the end of the runway and across several paddocks beyond. It left a huge mess on the runway too....they were still cleaning it up when I went past there again on the way home with a freight train a couple of hours later.
Who was the Dak pilot who used to load his Morris or Austin Mini van into the rear of a Fieldair DC-3? I seem to recall he had a pair of portable ramps he used to drive the van into the aeroplane.
If you aren't living life on the edge, you're taking up too much space!