Post by Peter Lewis on Sept 27, 2014 22:19:16 GMT 12
Following the above incident, Barnewall was still keen on the Prince as the cornerstone of Polynesian Airline operations possibly as a consequence of the extensive spares holding still in stock. He therefore scoured the world market and found two more of the type that were available.
The first of these was Prince Mk.4E c/n 50/48. This had initially been operated as an executive transport by the Standard Motor Company based at Baginton as G-AMPR from 30Sep52. After it had finished work in this role, it had been exported to the Tanganyika Government where it became VR-TBN in February 1956 and was employed on aerial survey work alongside Prince 3A VR-TBD (c/n P54/25) which had been operated by the Government from new since 27Oct51. The two Prince aircraft had been named while in Tanganyika Government service, VR-TBD as ‘Prince Charles’ and ‘TBN as ‘Prince Hal’.
Both aircraft were bought by PAL and flown from Africa to Singapore where they were paint-stripped, repainted into PAL colours, and VR-TBN became ZK-BYN and VR-TBD became ZK-BYO on 7Feb1961. Both aircraft were then flown to Brisbane via Darwin. They left Australia on 8 Apr60 for Noumea, Fiji and eventually Apia. During the next few years of apparently trouble-free operation both ZK-BYN and ZK-BYO occasionally appeared at the TEAL base at Whenuapai, Auckland, for maintenance work.
Having flown 3046hrs by March 1963, ZK-BYO was due for an extensive overhaul. This was deemed to be uneconomic, and the Prince was withdrawn from service at Faleolo airfield. Similarly, ZK-BYN was withdrawn at 3059hrs in July 1963. Replaced in PAL service by DC-3 5W-FAA (ex ZK-AOZ), the two Princes were offered for sale by brokers Central Aircraft Exchange of Sydney, into who’s name ownership of both aircraft was transferred in May 1965, at £AU5000 each.
There were no takers, so the two aircraft were parked on the far side of Faleolo airfield and stripped of any useful items. The airframes were visible for some years, gradually disappearing under the tropical vegetation and as locals removed material for reuse elsewhere. The last reported sighting was in March 1981. When I was in Samoa a few years ago I made what enquiries I could about any identifiable remains that might still exist at that time, but found nothing.
Percival P.50 Prince Mk 4E G-AMPR as the Standard Motor Company executive transport
Prince Mk 4E ZK-BYN visiting Whenuapai
Percival P.54 Prince 3A ZK-BYO refuelling at Faleolo
Post by Peter Lewis on Oct 4, 2014 22:48:29 GMT 12
The Percival Prentice was designed as a basic trainer for RAF use, replacing Tiger Moths. The Percival factory was unable to handle the production order, so most Prentices were built by Blackburn Aircraft at Brough.
Prentice T.Mk.1 c/n B3/1A/PAC-252 was built by Blackburn and delivered to the RAF in October 1948 serving as VS316. When the Prentice was withdrawn from RAF use in 1953, it was one of a batch of 252 bought by Freddie Laker’s company Aviation Traders (Engineering) Ltd. based at Southend.
Most of these surplus Prentice aircraft saw no civilian use. However VS316 became G-AOMF on 3Apr56 with Aviation Traders but did not attain its UK CofA until 12Apr60. Two days later, on the 14th, ownership was transferred to Lux-Lux Ltd. of London followed by a sale to the Surrey and Kent Flying Club based at Biggin Hill on 23Sep60.
Bill Wilkinson had trained as a dentist at Otago University during the 1950s, and had been active with the RNZAF Territorial Squadron based there during that time. After qualifying, he moved to London to practice dentistry but retained his interest in aviation by buying two Prentice aircraft, G-AOLU and G-AOKF, in July 1962 and a third, G-AOMF, which was registered to W B Wilkinson on 7Aug63.
Wilkinson moved to Jersey, in the Channel Islands, in mid-1965 and used at least one of the Prentice aircraft to commute between the Island and the UK mainland. He sold all three aircraft in 1966, G-AOLU to another UK owner and G-AOKF to Liberia, with delivery to that country as a condition of sale. G-AOMF went to CAVU International Ltd., also of Jersey, on 13Sep1966.
Later, Wilkinson decided to return to New Zealand, and flying there seemed a good option. He bought G-AOMF back in late 1968, found a non-aviation friend as a passenger, equipped the Prentice with an additional fuel tank in the rear seat, and departed from Jersey for New Zealand on 29Feb69.
The trip was not without drama, and they did not reach Singapore until 12th March and continued on from there to Brisbane where the passenger left the adventure. Wilkinson then flew by commercial airline to New Zealand to complete arrangements for the trans-Tasman leg. Returning to Brisbane he then flew G-AOMF solo to Norfolk Island and Auckland, arriving on 20Mar69.
After completing an aerial tour of New Zealand G-AOMF was parked up at Tauranga airfield for some time. It is of interest to note that the ownership of G-AOMF was not transferred from previous owners CAVU International to W B Wilkinson of Jersey until 20Jun69.
The Prentice was not a successful private aircraft. Even though it was powered by a 215hp Gipsy Queen it struggled with 4POB, had poor performance with any load at high temperatures, and was suspect of poor spin recovery. Thus there was not a great rush to buy G-AOMF, and the UK registration was cancelled on 21Jun72. Not until 29Nov72 did it become ZK-DJC with Neville B Cooper of Kaiapoi.
Cooper had previously owned Austers ZK-AUO and ZK-CXA, and in later years has indulged in Cessna ownership. A somewhat controversial character, he has also adopted the name Hopeful Christian and founded the Gloriavale Christian Community and Garden of Children in Haupiri on the West Coast. Ownership of ZK-DJC was therefore transferred to the Christian Brothers, Cust.
There was a plan to convert it to an eight seater and to replace the Gipsy Queen 50 engine with a 300hp IO-520 but instead it received a Gipsy Queen taken from a DH Heron.
On 9Feb1994 Gerald F Rhodes of Christchurch bought the Prentice, and it went to his Transport and Toy Museum at Wanaka. Grounded, the registration was revoked by the CAA on 9May1998. It is currently at the museum, but those who have been there will understand when I say that it is almost unviewable and unphotographical, packed tightly in between other aviation and motor vehicle exhibits.
Percival Prentice T.Mk.1 G-AOMF at Ardmore in 1969, soon after arriving in the country.
First local colour scheme for ZK-DJC was quite basic
ZK-DJC at Ardmore 21Jan73
At Dunedin February 1974
and at Rotorua 27Feb75
Probably just a primer coat, ZK-DJC parked at Rangiora 26Sep93
At the Wanaka air show April 1994, in its final colours and Rhodes ownership
Still at Wanaka, December 1994
ZK-DJC at Hokitika, date unknown
Tightly packed in, ZK-DJC at Rhodes' museum, Wanaka
Post by Peter Lewis on Oct 11, 2014 21:22:56 GMT 12
Proctor 1 P6271 was one of a batch of 222 such aircraft built by Percival Aircraft. With the c/n K305, it served with the RAF from April 1940 in the radio trainer role.
Civilianised postwar, this Proctor became G-AHTV with Air Services Training Ltd. at Hamble on 5Jun1946. In December 1952 it became the property of Hants and Sussex Aviation Ltd. of Portsmouth, who then sold the aircraft to Thomas H Marshall of Dorset later that same month.
Meanwhile two Australians, Arthur Lowe and Jim Montgomery, had arrived in the UK looking to buy two aircraft that they would then take back to Australia. Lowe bought G-AHTV off Marshall, and aircraft changed ownership to A G Adnams who was acting as agent for Lowe and Montgomery on 20Oct1953. Proctor 3 G-AKVS was the other aircraft they bought.
After both Proctors had undergone an overhaul and had extra fuel tanks installed at Southend, they departed the UK for Australia on 26Oct1953. Lowe and Montgomery flew G-AKVS, Engishman John Simler and another Australian Brian Wales flew G-AHTV. Travelling via Paris, Nice, Rome, Bari, Corfu, Athens, Nicosia, Beirut, Basra, Sharjah, Karachi, Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Akyab, Rangoon, Mergui, Penang. Singapore, Batavia, Denpasar, Koepang and Wyndham they reached Darwin on the 15th November. G-AHTV then continued to reach Lowe’s home base at Julia Creek, Queensland on the 22nd December.
G-AHTV became VH-BCX on 31Dec53, owner A M Lowe, with its UK registration being cancelled the same day. Lowe kept the aircraft until May 1961, when it was sold to Mr & Mrs E M Shersby of Brisbane. By 1974 the Proctor was out of the air and in need of work, so Norman Therecht and John Pike, who owned and ran Redcliffe Flying Services, bought the Proctor with the intention of having it restored in their own workshops.
This did not work out, and VH-BCX was passed from hand to hand through several would-be restorers over the next 25 years until struck off the register as ‘exported to New Zealand’ in October 1999.
Shipped to the Croydon Aircraft Company workshops at Mandeville, the Proctor was bought by Guy Clapshaw in 2002 and restoration commenced with the intention of reverse-engineering it to Vega Gull standards so that it would closely resemble the Jean Batten Percival D.3 Gull Six G-ADPR/ZK-DPR.
With this in mind, the Proctor adopted the now-available registration ZK-DPP (the Cessna Agwagon that had previously flown as ZK-DPP from 1974 had been exported in 1987) under the ownership of E W Clapshaw on 21Nov2006 and carried out its first post-restoration flight the same day.
Guy Clapshaw lives in Auckland, and although ZK-DPP has visited Ardmore, it seems to spend most of its life as a Mandeville resident.
It is interesting to note that fellow-traveller Proctor 3 G-AKVS, which became VH-BEG with Jim Montgomery and flew until 1964, is now also reported to be at Mandeville for restoration.
Proctor 1 G-AHTV in the UK prior to departure for Australia
VH-BCX while based at Archerfield, Brisbane, 1967
Ed Coates photo
Fully restored, ZK-DPP at Mandeville with Ryan Southam, at that time Croydon Aircraft's chief pilot. Ryan flew the Proctor's test flight program.
Percival Proctor 1 ZK-DPP shows off its Vega/Gull look-alike profile at the Omaka Air Show, April 2007
A classic profile in the air
However, the Percival logo on the fin seems to be non-standard
Proctor ZK-DPP 'at home' with friends at Mandeville, October 2013
Post by Peter Lewis on Oct 19, 2014 22:13:26 GMT 12
Possibly the most famous Percival Gull was Gull VI c/n D.55. Built by Percival Aircraft in 1935, it was bought new by Jean Batten for £2000 and registered as G-ADPR in her name on 29Aug1935.
By that time Jean Batten had successfully flown from the UK to Australia in Gipsy Moth G-AARB, setting a new woman’s record after two previous unsuccessful attempts. She was therefore looking for a more capable aircraft that would be suitable for further record attempts, and she recorded that “to buy the Gull took every penny I had”.
Following a successful record flight from the UK to South America in late 1935, Jean and the Gull departed from the UK on 5Oct1936 to reach Darwin on the 10th and left Richmond airfield, north-west of Sydney, on the 16th, arriving in Auckland later the same day. This flight set a new UK to NZ flight record of 11 days and she became the first person to fly solo from the UK to NZ. Returning to Australia in February 1937, she then used G-ADPR to set another record of 5 days 18 hours for the trip from Darwin back to England.
G-ADPR remained in Batten ownership until impressed into military service in the UK as AX866 in July 1940. It survived the war and was restored to civilian life on 15Aug1946, returning to Percival Aircraft ownership as G-ADPR.
During its active flying life at this time it carried the name ‘Jean’ and details of its previous flight records painted on the fuselage. Percivals were now part of the Hunting Group, so Hunting Aircraft Ltd. became the owners of G-ADPR in August 1954. It was reportedly offered for sale in 1958 at a price of £300.
As the historic nature of this aircraft later became widely recognised, Hunting presented the Gull to the Shuttleworth Collection in April 1961 and the Gull was then kept airworthy as part of the collection at Old Warden until 31Dec1969. It remained there on static display until a rebuild commenced in 1987 and it flew again on 31May1990. That same year G-ADPR was lent to the Auckland Airport authorities as part of a display for New Zealand’s 150th anniversary celebrations, which coincided with the airport’s 25th birthday.
Returning to the UK after this event, the Gull remained at Old Warden for the next few years, achieving 1166 flight hours by 1991. However, financial problems beset the Shuttleworth Collection around that time, and in 1996 they accepted an offer to sell G-ADPR outright to the Auckland Airport company.
Freighted back to Auckland, the Gull was prepared for one final demonstration flight to commemorate the 60th anniversary of its October 1936 arrival. Registered as ZK-DPR to Auckland International Airport Ltd on 8Oct1996, the aircraft retained its original markings. A female pilot, Cherie Marshall, was selected to fly the Gull after consultation with the NZ Airwomans Association. The commemorative flight had to be postponed twice due to inclement weather, but ZK-DPR finally took to the air on the 4th November. However, the over-Auckland flight had to be cut short after the engine began playing up and the Gull quickly returned to land at Auckland Airport for the last time.
ZK-DPR was then hung in the airport’s international terminal, originally over the departure area but in 2010 was moved to a Batten display adjacent to the public food court where it is more easily seen but much more difficult to photograph. The registration of ZK-DPR was finally cancelled on 5Aug2010.
Jean Batten and G-ADPR arrive at Mangere 16/10/1936
Photo: NZ Herald
Percival D.3 Gull Six G-ADPR at Luton, about 1954, showing the name 'Jean'
Photo from the internet
ZK-DPR hanging in the departure area, Auckland International Airport, 1998
New location, same plane. Beside the AIA food court, 4Jul2011
Post by Peter Lewis on Oct 26, 2014 21:38:10 GMT 12
The Percival Provost was designed to replace the Prentice in RAF service as the basic pilot trainer. With an engine of twice the power of the Prentice and much the same weight, performance was excellent. The cockpit was deliberately complex to allow students to progress more easily to advanced operational aircraft. Adjustable seats and pedals, a lean-forward type harness, a handle for winding the canopy open or closed, a 24-volt electrical system, variable-pitch propeller, pneumatic brakes and flaps, windscreen wipers, cockpit heating and ventilation, an accelerometer, trimming facilities for rudder as well as elevators, ailerons with servo-tabs, oil- cooler control, three-position air-intake lever and so on combined to create an ‘advanced’ atmosphere for the student. In service from 1953 until the early 1960s, a few ex-RAF Provost have since operated as civil aircraft.
One of these, c/n PAC/F/183, served with the RAF as WV666 from 18Jun1954 until withdrawn from active service in 1966 and becoming a ground instructional airframe in November of that year.
Declared surplus, it was stuck off charge on 4Apr1978 and sold to an owner located in the British Virgin Islands. After some time in storage the aircraft was moved to the USA and became N2416R firstly with P A Armour of Pennsylvania in February 1983 and then with Derek White of Jacksonville, Florida, in October 1985. When he decided to quit the aircraft, no local buyers could be found so the Provost moved back to the UK to become G-BTDH with Transport Command Ltd., Shoreham from 25Jan1991. On 14Aug1966 ownership passed to John J Woodhouse of Church Crookham. The Provost appears to have remained in its RAF livery throughout this time.
G-BTDH was on a local flight from Popham airfield, Hampshire, when it was damaged in a forced landing near Lasham airfield in the evening of 28Mar1998. The incident is believed to have been caused by fuel starvation. During the landing the aircraft ran through a wire fence and a ditch before coming to rest in a hedge. The Provost suffered considerable damage in the incident, and the registration G-BTDH was cancelled on 7Feb2000.
Don Subritzky, well known in New Zealand aircraft restoration circles, was visiting the UK during 2000 and Allan House asked him to locate a suitable Provost for them to buy in partnership. Don found G-BTDH dismantled but complete on a trailer at Reading, and arranged to buy the aircraft and have it despatched ‘as is’ to New Zealand where it arrived in November 2000.
After repair work was completed by Don back home at his workshop, the Provost flew again on 12Jun2003 having been registered to the Subritzky and House Partnership as ZK-JOT on 17Apr2003.
Since that time ZK-JOT has appeared at some local air shows still painted up as WV666 carrying the code O-D. It is currently grounded at North Shore airfield awaiting completion of some work on the propeller.
Damaged Percival Provost WV666 / G-BTDH at Reading, 2000, as purchased by Subritzky & House
Percival Provost ZK-JOT flying near North Shore airfield soon after completion of the rebuild
ZK-JOT at the Whenuapai air show 3Mar2007
ZK-JOT outside its home hangar at North Shore airfield 27Feb2011
Post by Peter Lewis on Oct 29, 2014 20:54:47 GMT 12
Edgar Percival sold the EP.9 manufacturing company to Samlesbury Engineering Limited in 1958 after 21 airframes had been completed. The business was transferred to Squires Gate airfield, Blackpool, and renamed Lancashire Aircraft Co.Ltd. Thus the aircraft type was renamed as the Lancashire Prospector EP.9, but only six more airframes were produced by the new owners.
At the time Percival sold out in 1958 it is recorded that 20 EP.9s were in the process of construction: five were completely assembled, five were ready for assembly and the remainder completed in component form. The sale deal included all jigs, parts and design rights. Thus it can be considered that all EP.9 aircraft were in fact built by Edgar Percival Aircraft Ltd, but that c/ns 41 to 47 were either completed or assembled by the Lancashire Aircraft Co.Ltd.
One of these, c/n 42, became G-APWZ and was registered to the Lancashire Aircraft Company on 5Nov1959 as a Lancashire Aircraft Prospector EP.9 . The aircraft made its first flight on 23Feb1960, and the CofA was issued on the 22nd April. The Lancashire company retained ownership of the aircraft until 21Jun1977, when it was cancelled as destroyed. However, the registration was reactivated on 17Aug1977 by Strutbest Ltd t/a Sussex Ag Aviation based at Shoreham Airport and then cancelled again and temporarily withdrawn from use 1Oct1984. The final UK owner was the Prospector Flying Group at Worthing from 5Nov1993 to 12Jun2002. G-APWZ has been written off at least once if not twice, most recently when it was blown backwards into the boundary fence at Goodwood on the night of 7-8Feb1994. It was repaired in the UK after these events.
Hallett Griffin has been collecting vintage agricultural aircraft, and imported this EP.9. Unfortunately it had been damaged en-route, possibly as a result of the container being dropped and also from unsecured items moving around within the container. Rebuilt to airworthy, it was registered as an Edgar Percival E.P.9 Prospector with markings ZK-PWZ under the ownership of Kairanga Aviation Ltd. of Palmerston North on 17Oct2003.
ZK-PWZ flew for the first time in New Zealand on 14Jan2004. It has made some appearances around the country from its Kairanga base, but has generally kept quite a low profile as is appropriate for an aviation artifact rather than a productive commercial aircraft.
Percival EP.9 ZK-PWZ at Kairanga
ZK-PWZ on short finals for Wellington International 4Feb2007
Post by Peter Lewis on Oct 31, 2014 17:35:36 GMT 12
During the rebuild of Provost ZK-JOT by Don Subritzky , James Slade called in to view the project. Impressed by this aircraft, he asked Don if he could source another Provost for himself.
Don was aware of a Provost then located in Australia that was for sale, and arranged for James to buy it. This was Provost Mk.1 c/n PAC/F/226 which was BOC as WW397 on 20Sep1954. This particular Provost had the distinction, at the end of its service life, of performing the last RAF Provost flight - Shawbury to Halton on 30Oct1969. It was then used as a maintenance training airframe 8060M at Halton until sold in 1973. Bought by Flt Lt M. J. Crymble of RAF Lynham, it was then resorted to airworthy over some years, becoming G-BKHP on 26Aug1982 but did not fly until 28Mar1983. In 1993 it went to Australia, becoming VH-OIL with Keith Clarke, St Huberts Island, NSW on 13Jul1994. With both of these owners it flew in RAF colours as ‘WW397’ N-E.
Imported into New Zealand, the Australian registration was cancelled on 7Aug2002. The Provost was reassembled by Don Subritzky at North Shore airfield and became ZK-SGN with J H Slade, Blenheim, on 5Nov2002. The first flight in New Zealand took place on 11th November, reported as at Omaka but more likely at North Shore.
Ownership was later transferred to other Slade-controlled entities, the Owlco Trust of Blenheim on 27Feb2003 and the Airtight Trust of Masterton on 25Mar2010.
Initially flying in its previous RAF markings, at some point ‘SGN’ was painted at the top of the tailplane, above the RAF military markings. ZK-SGN was repainted into foreign air force markings for its appearances at various air shows. It bore Sultan of Oman AF markings at Omaka in 2003 and Luftwaffe markings in 2007. An appearance in Japanese markings has also been noted.
On 14Apr2011 ownership of ZK-SGN was transferred to R Young of Fielding. Two months later, on 8th June, he re-registered the Provost as ZK-PPP. Robert Young later moved to Boulder City, Nevada, and has reserved the registration N397WW for the Provost, but apparently the aircraft is still held in storage at Foxpine airfield. Last flown in September 2011, it remains in the Oman colour scheme. It has recently been offered for sale in New Zealand. Percival P.56 Provost T Mk.1 ZK-SGN under assembly at North Shore airfield 2002
ZK-SGN in RAF colours at Ardmore 2003
Portrayed in Sultan of Oman AF markings at Omaka in 2003
Luftwaffe markings Omaka 7Apr2007
Retirement is something for the young. Once you are old you never seem to have the time.
Post by Peter Lewis on Nov 1, 2014 22:34:15 GMT 12
In 1954 the Burmese Government bought 12 Provost aircraft, armed, for use in the ground attack role. These were designated Provost T Mk.53s. At a later date a further 28 were obtained, and the Provosts were serialled in the UB201 – UB240 range. The survivors were among a selection of Burmese military aircraft that were sold at auction in 1999.
Provost T-53 c/n PAC/F/451 was built in August 1959 and flown out to the Union of Burma Air Force as a new aircraft. Initially allotted the serial UB232, this was later amended to 2232. Withdrawn from active service in 1977 having flown 2832hrs it then passed into the possession of the Air Force Museum at the Mingaladon air base in Myanmar where it remained until 1998. At the 1999 auction it was among the aircraft sold to David Gouldsmith who traded as part of the Golden Aviation Partnership based at Cassville, Missouri, in the USA.
Brendon Deere from New Plymouth bought this Provost and the Spitfire Mk.IX PV270/UB242 from Gouldsmith and both were shipped to New Zealand. Work proceeded to restore the Spitfire to airworthy condition while UB232 remained stored in its shipping container at Feilding. The registration ZK-PPD was initially reserved for the Provost, but this reservation later lapsed.
As there were no plans to restore the Provost, it was passed on to the Ashburton Aviation Museum by Brendon Deere. After many years and still in its original container it arrived at Ashburton in mid-2012.
The Provost has now been restored to static display standard and repainted to represent its original ground-attack role as UB232. It may be viewed at the museum.
Percival Provost Mk.53 UB232 as displayed in the Ashburton Aviation Museum, 21Jan2014
Photo: Dave Paull
UB232 posing outside in the Ashburton sunshine, 11Oct2014
Acknowledging its ground attack role, UB232 displays underwing ordnance
Post by Peter Lewis on Nov 3, 2014 20:52:24 GMT 12
That covers all of the Percival aircraft that have operated in New Zealand.
There will be an addendum, as I have arranged to visit a couple more owners and of course there is always the bit more information that arrives just after the relevant posting.
This has been a much more complex task that what I originally envisaged, and has taken up more than a year. The work has been made possible by quite a number of people.
In the meantime, those I wish to thank for information and assistance include Marcus Bridle, Don Noble, Allan Wooller, Dave Paull, the late Leo White, the late F J (Popeye) Lucas, the late Arthur Bradshaw, Don Subritzky, John Geary, Stan Smith, John Hill, the late Bill Pennelligan, Bruce Gavin, Jim Mungall, Geoff Goodall, John King and a few others who wish to remain anonymous. Thank you all.
Post by Peter Lewis on Nov 14, 2014 10:07:49 GMT 12
Vega Gull ZK-AFI/ZK-AKV – addendum
I have now spoken to John Geary, and he tells me that after the Vega was damaged at Otematata it was taken to Aerotech at Timaru. It was condemned there. The fuselage went to Howies’s property and was stripped and burnt. The wings were taken by Bruce Murray and broken up.
John visited both sites and recovered what he could of the remains.
He now possesses enough fittings from both the Vega and from Proctor 3 ZK-APG and has sufficient technical information to carry out his plan to eventually build/rebuild the Vega Gull.
Retirement is something for the young. Once you are old you never seem to have the time.