Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 21, 2018 19:28:19 GMT 12
It's fairly well known the Harvards NZ1037 and NZ1056 flew as Forward Air Control aircraft with No. 14 Squadron RNZAF for the Strikemasters working with the NZ Army. But what else can people add about the FAC aircraft?
For example which other Harvards flew in that specialist role over the years?
What were all the modifications made to them to carry out the work?I know radios were fitted but did they have smoke dispensers other other additions?
Were Harvards used as FAC aircraft for the Vampires and Canberras too?
Did all the squadron pilots get rostered on to fly the FAC work? Or were there just a small handful of specially trained FAC pilots at any given time?
Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 21, 2018 20:16:04 GMT 12
Paul Harrison has sent this through, very interesting!
he says, " I know of NZ1037 and NZ1056 being fitted with the VHF FM and UHF extra radios (the tell tale antennae on each is the clue) but have just come across this pic of NZ1058 taken at Wigram which also has that fit."
NZ1056 and NZ1017 were the original FAC Harvards with NZ1037 being the replacement for NZ1017 after it was wrecked.
They were all painted silver with flat white undersides.
Not sure about NZ1058 not aware of it being a FAC frame.
Edit, I have found a picture in my colloction of NZ1058 with the "towel rail" under the belly as well as the long aerial on the rear fuse, still in the orange and gray. I can't find any ref it it ever being a FAC aircraft.
When I was an Airframe Fitter at ARS No1 RD, I built the racks and did the Framie bits for radio fit on NZ1017 and NZ1056. Dave the radio fit and paint jobs were the only mods carried out. No flares or smoke. The Harvards replaced the Austers in the FAC role. The Austers were used in the Vampire and Canberra era and were flown by a mix of Airforce and Army pilots. I am not certain if the Army pilots carried on and flew the Harvards but I think that this may have been the case. When NZ1017 crashed, the radio gear was removed and I fitted it into NZ1037, which had been removed from storage and went through the Harvard reconditioning line which was operational at Woodbourne at the time.
Post by agalbraith on Aug 22, 2018 16:38:06 GMT 12
Interesting reading, being that '58' survives at Ferrymead I wonder if there is any evidence or remains of an FAC radio fit inside? I seem to remember back in the 80's someone mentioning this to me when I was showing them around the workshop, but cant remember any more than that....old age setting in, LOL
Post by denysjones on Aug 23, 2018 19:22:07 GMT 12
In respect of the above photo of 58 I checked with the a/c today and can say that..
She is still in said colour scheme, the forward aerial is still in place, in the dorsal spine hatch cover (where the rear aerial in the photo appears) is a circular rubber grommet.
Seems therefore that she was still fully equipped as per the photo when she met her end in the Darfield paddock as had the rear aerial been removed by then then a solid bung would have been inserted in lieu of the grommet for the obvious reasons.
I'm wondering if the powers that be thought with only two Harvards equipped for FAC work perhaps it might be prudent to have a backup aircraft in case one goes u/s or a major servicing requirement pops up. My other thought was if both 37 and 56 were at Ohakea would 58 have been at Wigram and used for traiming pilots in the FAC role as well as basic flight training? Someone from PTS in the 70s might know the answer to that one.
The Auster should be recognised for what it is: a gentleman's aerial touring carriage and a nice aeroplane.
Post by kiwiredley on Aug 25, 2018 17:50:02 GMT 12
When I was a young lad on 42 at Ohakea in 1978 I heard a story that one of the 14 Harvards was doing some low level flying down at the beach in the Weapons Range area and had a collision with a Ministry of Works Truck. Apparently the Works guys were supposed to be doing some maintenance work at the Range but had sneaked off to do a bit of beach fishing and had stashed the truck within the sand dunes. The Harvard apparently limped back to Ohakea with smashed up wing tip and damaged Aileron. Don't know the truth of the story, maybe one of members of the era involved can shed some light on it.