Post by Dave Homewood on Nov 8, 2012 17:59:03 GMT 12
Today I went out to Karapiro to help the guys set up for Armistice in Cambridge this weekend. I was chatting with my mate Andy Moreland who has the big military vehicle colection at Tauwhare, just north of Cambridge (and also a lot of stuff at Tauranga airport) and we were looking at some of his collection of WWII military vehicles. Seeing some of the trucks I struck me how they were similar to some in Ossie's photos, and so asked him if any of the military vehicle collectors have WWII trucks now that had been used in the 1950's and 60's by topdressers, and he said 'oh hell yeah' and then pointed to one right beside us which when he got it had been rigged up as a spray tanker. So in a way the topdresser guys using cheap surplus trucks has actually saved some of the military vehicle heritage we now see back in original wartime condition it seems.
Post by Dave Homewood on Nov 8, 2012 19:15:59 GMT 12
Well there are actually a load more photos than what you're seeing here, these are just the highlights in the Fletcher sequence, I cut down on it because it is repetative, but in the photos not seen the aircraft was indeed rolled out of the hangar after the ceremony inside, with a chap in white overalls in the seat. The photo shown is the end of the roll out sequence where it is started. I am not sure who did the engine run as it's hard to tell.
However on seeing your post and looking carefully again that might not be Gut Robertson getting in, but someone else getting out. The man in the aircraft when it takes off, is, however, Guy Robertson, isn't it?
Post by Dave Homewood on Nov 8, 2012 19:23:28 GMT 12
Ah you're right, I just checked the coloured footage and it is definitely a different man who did the engine run and then who took it up. Maybe Guy ran the engine and the Fletcher test pilot did first flight?
There were two RNZAF Avengers there at Rukuhia that day too, wings folded, one with black and yellow stripes and the other blue. Did Ossie ever buy any surplus Avengers? Or would they have been in-service examples?
Fantastic photos Dave, thanks for showing them and thank you to Ossie's daughter. I see in post 19 there doesn't appear to be a hopper lever beside the flap handle. I wonder if the lever on the control stick has anything to do with the hopper? Apparently the first flight of BDS was on the 24th September 1954 with Guy Robertson at the controls, he had already flown this prototype aircraft in the US. ( Information from Lou Forhecz book on the Fletcher )
I thought it was the same person but with a different hat for flying. But if you have more photos then you'll have a better idea.
This edit will confuse our posts but the guy doing the run up and the guy getting out are the same (or at least wearing the same hat), don't know if it's Guy though (though who ever it is they kicked out the man in the overalls and he's now out by the wingtip).
My money is still on Guy Robertson doing the first test flight ( in NZ ) of the aircraft on 24/9/1954. It then completed 70 hours of test flying with E.F.Carpenter CAA rep, Cliff Andrews ( test pilot ) and Bill Dunn monitoring. It then went to work with Robertson Air Services Chief pilot Bob Gummer in December 1954. Gerry Barden ( USA test pilot and assistant designer ) was project manager for Fletcher Aviation and was in NZ for a years assignment. ( Info from Lou Forhecz excellent book on 50 years of the Fletcher FU24 )
Post by kiwibeavers on Nov 9, 2012 18:41:13 GMT 12
Just spoke to Guy Robertson who confirms he flew BDS on it's first test flight. He had a wonderful trip to London via Singapore to receive the Jean Batten Award in front of 600 other Aviators. Not bad for a 96 year old.
If you have any photos regarding Beavers and other topdressers in New Zealand, please dig them out and e-mail them to me. Thankyou.
Yeah poor Zac, he might accidently get shot for rabies he'll be foaming at the mouth so much in anticipation. Makes you wonder what other photo collections are out there. It amazes me that some people think that no one would be interested in a lot of old photos but they are a absolute goldmine and it saddens me to think some collections have been chucked for that reason.
The Auster should be recognised for what it is: a gentleman's aerial touring carriage and a nice aeroplane.