Saturday, 20 January 2018


The local Pauanui Menz Shed organised a fund raising parachute drop via a team of 5 from the RNZAF, and they used Fly My Sky BN2A Islander ZK-PIY for the task,  now fitted with a parachute drop door

To add to the event Venom ZK-VNM did a number of low level passes before heading south to Tauranga

An earlier visitor was the privately owned RAM 160hp Cessna 172M conversion ZK-WTD from New Plymouth.

The pick of my week.

The 'Bluebus' was down South Canterbury way during the last few days.
Below are four photographs taken on this journey.
First sighting was the Micro Aviation Bantam B22J ZK-JQL (c/n 05-265) purring quietly over Caroline Bay at Timaru.
 It has been with Brent Findlay since first being registered on 27-04-2005.
Outside its hangar at Timaru's Richard Pearse Airport was the Bell 206B JetRanger ZK-ISM2 (c/n 3667) of Southern Wide Helicopters Ltd.
Built in July 1982 it served time in Texas and Oregon before going to Japan in February of 1988 to become JA9746.
It entered the NZ register on 04-04-2011 with Helicopters Otago Ltd at Taieri before transfer to Heli South Ltd at Balclutha that October.
It was relisted with Balclutha Helicopters from 13-05-2015 until being taken up by current operator Southern Wide Helicopters Ltd of Timaru from 04-07-2015.
Up at the Mount Hutt Helicopters 2013 Ltd's facility was their all white Eurocopter AS 350 BA ZK-IBC3 (2562). It has been with Mount Hutt since importation in February of 2012.
It has been covered several time previously on this blog Here.
Also out on their pad was the McDonnell Douglas 500N NOTAR ZK-IKG (c/n LN018).
You probably know this one better as being ZK-HBC4 until its re-registration to ZK-IKG on 06-09-2017.  
This change allowed the ZK-HBC letters to go to the North Shore Helicopters Eurocopter EC 120 ex ZK-HJW4.
Earlier posts on ZK-HBC can be found via the 'search' box toward top left of screen.

Friday, 19 January 2018

19-1-18 New Caravan for Barrier Air

A smart looking 2008 built Cessna 208B Grand Caravan N2057 msn 208B2057 arrived into Auckland tonight from Apia on the final leg of its delivery flight to Auckland based Barrier Air.

Unregistered Homegrown Homebuilt Single Seat Aircraft of New Zealand (4) - The Williams Mark 4

Maybe because of the lack of success with his Mark 3 model Geoff Williams still wasn’t finished with building aircraft, and in May 1988 materials arrived from the USA for the start of the Williams Mark 4. The house where he was living at the time had the luxury of a basement so the project didn’t have to occupy his bedroom, although the wings were covered in the kitchen.

This aircraft was more like a conventional high-wing pusher microlight and turned out to be his most successful effort. Another single-seater, it was powered by a Rotax 447 and, like all of his designs, had a fabric-covered all-wood structure. The wing aerofoil, dimensions and construction techniques were copied from a Sisler Cygnet that was being built in Dunedin at the time.

The first engine start up was on the back lawn in December 1990.  That is Geoff tending to the throttle while running the motor in.

The wing assembly is a tight fit!

The Williams Mark 4 was assembled at the Hooper’s Inlet strip in January 1991. It first flew from there on 24 January 1991, and Geoff flew it cross-country around the outskirts of Dunedin on 27 January and on to Lee Stream in Central Otago, a distance of around 40 km.

During the 1990s the aircraft was kept at an airstrip on Monterey Station at Lee Stream, inland from Outram, under the shelter of macrocarpa trees and covered from the elements and birds. Geoff and some friends would go up there in the weekends and fly it,.  The photos above and below were taken at the Monterey Station airstrip.

In flight at Monterey.

Over the 1990s the Williams Mark 4 was flown extensively around the lower South Island for a total of around 250 hours, and Geoff took some nice shots of his travels.  The photo above is returning from a flight to Five Forks which is about 20 km North of Moeraki, on 31 March 1991, and shows some of the detail from the instrument panel.  All the instruments you would expect are there - RPM, ASI, Turn and Slip indicator, Altimeter and CHT and EGT.

At Five Forks on 31 March 1991.

Another flight over the snow covered St Bathans area on 4 July 1991, with the St Bathans Range in the distance.

Flying over the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter on 17 December 1991.  On this trip Geoff ventured across to Stewart Island and flew up Paterson Inlet.

On the beach at Toetoes Bay, East of Invercargill on 17  December 1991, with the aluminium smelter chimney in the background.

Then back home along the Catlins coast.  That is quite a trip in an aeroplane that you designed and built yourself!

There are undoubtably many untold stories about Geoff Williams and his Mark 4 - it is rumoured at some stage to have been fitted with a machine gun and was used for shooting geese! 

Various people have described Geoff Williams’ last flight in his Mark 4. Suffering from cancer, he was very ill in the hospice when he asked a friend to fly the aircraft back to Taieri and for someone to refurbish it. Despite Geoff’s condition, his friend said to him, “Why don’t you fly it back to Taieri yourself?” And that is what they did. They drove to the airstrip at Monterey and his friend strapped Geoff in and started the engine, and Geoff flew it back to Taieri with all his remaining energy. People at Taieri recall that when the strange aircraft landed and nobody emerged, they went out to investigate and had to carry Geoff from his cockpit. He died in May 2002 and his ashes are buried at the airstrip at Monterey Station, under the trees where he used to keep his aircraft. 

I have already posted about how the Williams Mark 4 came to be registered, and the link is HERE

Since my post in July 2012, its owner Mike Nicholson has gifted the Williams Mark 4 to the Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre at Mandeville.  The link to this post is HERE

There is a lot of Southern aviation folklore in the Williams Mark 4 and given its builder Geoff Williams' history with "the authorities" in much the same way as some residents of the nearby Hokonui Hills had problems with earlier "authorities", I think that displaying the aircraft at Mandeville is very fitting.

Finally I must thank Geoff's brother Richard Williams and the Williams family for sharing Geoff's amazing aviation journey with us.

ZK-MCK update.

The Pilatus PC-6 B2-H4 Turbo Porter ZK-MCK (c/n 809) has been mentioned on at least three previous occasion - Here.
Nathan Graham has sent in these two recent photographs of  her.
 Above it is seen at Mount Cook having a 100 hourly inspection carried out on 05-12-2017.
And below. Outside the Skydive Franz hangar at Franz Josef on 29-12-2017.
From memory it began its parachute dropping career from about October of 2011 from the Waiho Strip at Franz Josef whilst still with Aoraki Mount Cook Ski Planes and was purchased by Skydive Franz Josef Ltd in April of 2012.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Some changes at Auckland this month.


Saab SF340A N135GU msn 340A-135 arriving at Auckland on the evening of January 9th on delivery to Air Chathams from Guam via Honiara. The aircraft had previously been operated by Skydive Guam Ltd

The second new arrival for Air Chathams Saab SF340B N357GU msn 340B-357 seen on the companies ramp on January 14th having arrived into Auckland on the evening of the 13th via the same route as N135GU. It was also operated by Skydive Guam Ltd

Both aircraft together on the 14th

Title by the entry door to N135GU taken on the 14th

Fokker F-27 Friendship Mk 500 VH-EWH msn 10596 ex ZK-PAX photograped at Auckland on 18-1-18.
This aircraft is due to depart shortly to join the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) at Wollongong Airport / Albion Park in NSW.  Sad to see her go but at least it is to a great new home.

Unregistered Homegrown Single Seat Homebuilt Aircraft of New Zealand (3) - The Williams Mark 3

Although Geoff Williams signed a document that he would not fly his Williams Mark 2 aircraft again, he figured that that would not stop him from designing , building and flying another aircraft.

So the Williams Mark 3 was conceived. 

This was a low wing aircraft a bit reminiscent of a Corby Starlet and it was also VW powered.  From the photos it looks like it was the same VW engine that had powered the Mark 1 and Mark 2 aircraft.  Construction spanned between 1975 and 1977 and when it was completed it was taken to the Hooper's Inlet airstrip. 

Its first flight was on 22 May 1977.

But on 23 May it failed to become airborne on its second flight which resulted in some damage.

The damage was repaired by the end of July and on 31 July 1977 Geoff flew the aircraft from Hooper’s Inlet to Tarras in Central Otago, a long cross-country of more than 200km in a straight line. However, in the Lindis Pass area he was caught in a rising valley situation and crash-landed on a hillside.

This time the damage was more substantial and Geoff had a rethink.

When it appeared again in January 1979 it was reconfigured as a high-wing parasol aeroplane, but it still suffered from major problems and crashed yet again on its first flight from Tarras, after having flown only a mile or so. At this point Geoff gave up on his Mark 3 aircraft, and the fuselage was stored in the back of a hangar at Taieri for many years.

For his first three aircraft Geoff Williams used non aircraft grade materials such as plywood from tea chests and some people advised him that he would be better to use aircraft grade materials so that his completed aircraft might have some residual value.  I think he took this on board for his next aircraft....

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Unregistered Homegrown Single Seat Homebuilt Aircraft of New Zealand (2) - The Williams Mark 2

Geoff Williams' second aircraft was built between October 1971 and January 1973.  It was then taken to the Hooper's Inlet airstrip where it first flew on 11 April 1973.  It was a high wing strut braced design that may have been based on the Tomboy model aircraft, and it probably used the VW engine from his earlier Mark 1 aircraft.

The Williams Mark 2 undergoing engine runs in early April 1973 outside the hangar that Geoff Williams built - you can see the old Fire Station doors forming the rear wall.
The first flight on 11 April 1973.  

 The aircraft flew well and quite a few flights were made around the Otago Peninsula.

Some of the flights resulted in forced landings with minor damage.  The above photo taken on Allans Beach on 7 June 1973 shows some temporary repairs after a forced landing including the windscreen being held in place by rope!

After further repairs Geoff Williams flew his Mark 2 aircraft further afield in 1974 and it is photo'd above tied down at Jardine's strip under the shadow of the Remakables on 4 January 1974.

And this colour photo of the aircraft was taken at Ruddenclau's airstrip at Five Rivers on 22 March 1974.  It can be seen that it is silver with a red fin and green rudder.  That is Geoff Williams in the brown jersey.

Following these flights the CAD made efforts to track down Geoff Williams and threatened him with prosecution, with the result that he signed a document to the effect that he would no longer fly this aircraft — and he never did. It was in a dismantled state in the hangar at Hooper’s Inlet in 1977, along with his first aircraft, and later both were burnt. In later years the hangar became dilapidated and, stripped of its roof and walls, it eventually collapsed.

So ended the Williams Mark 2, but Geoff Williams was not finished with building aircraft yet!

Monday, 15 January 2018

Unregistered Homegrown Single Seat Homebuilt Aircraft of New Zealand (1) - The Williams Mark 1

Back in July 2012 I was posting on the histories of Homegrown Single Seat Homebuilt Aircraft of New Zealand when I got to the Williams Mark 4.  The link to this post is:

In the post I asked if anyone had photos of the earlier Williams aircraft.  Some time later I was contacted by Geoff's brother Richard who said that there were photo albums that Geoff had kept that he would look for, and then some time later again Richard produced scans of the albums which told a fascinating story!

Geoff Williams of Dunedin designed and built three homebuilt aircraft in Dunedin in the 1970s plus a fourth aircraft between 1988 and 1991.  None of these aircraft were registered as it seems that Geoff did not like officialdom much.  However he must have had a very clever aeronautical brain because he designed and built all of his aircraft himself, including the propellers, and flew them all with very little flying experience (at least in the early days).  His father was Rodney Williams who was a WW 2 Lancaster pilot with 90 Squadron RAF and who was awarded the DFC in 1945.  After the war he was very involved with the ATC in Oamaru and was awarded an MBE for this work in 1964.  His son Geoff was an ATC cadet and it may be that he experienced some flying in Harvards with the ATC, but apart from that he had no official flying training.

He started building his first aircraft, the Williams Mark 1 in August 1969 and remarkably had it finished by the following May when he took it to Papanui Inlet on the Otago Peninsula and tried to fly it from the beach.

The Williams Mark 1 was a small biplane with a VW engine.  When a local farmer saw what Geoff was attempting he suggested that he would do better trying to fly his aircraft off a farm airstrip at Hooper's Inlet.

So in June 1970 the aircraft was towed by road to the Hooper's Inlet strip where Geoff built an open hangar from salvaged materials from the old Dunedin Teacher's College which had been burnt down and the doors from the old Dunedin Fire Station that made up the rear wall.
I do not think that the Williams Mark 1 flew successfully, although you can see from the above photo that it was not for the lack of trying!  It is probable that the aircraft was quite heavy (based on construction photos).  There are photos of it in 1971 but then Geoff Williams moved on to his next aircraft.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Sunday at Pauanui

Sunday brought a variety of visitors to the Pauanui airfield including the first visit of the recently imported Aeroprakt A22LS Foxbat ZK-CEC from Huntly

Several EC130 called in to drop off and pick up passengers including ZK-IFC from North Shore and ZK-IPV from Hamilton.

Further from home was the Whanganui based SH2 Glasair ZK-JDL which stayed for an hour before departing northwards.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

At Christchurch

Tony McFarlin caught the Cessna 402B Utililiner ZK-SVQ (c/n 402B0601) of Kiwi Air Ltd on the Western grass at Christchurch International Airport today (13-01-2018). 
Yesterday I noted the Aerial Surveys Ltd C402B ZK-PVC also there. It had been working the area northeast of the airport mid the week but the weather put a stop to that.
Previously mentioned several times HERE.
 Yesterday I shot the Cessna U206F Stationair ZK-RPM2 (c/n U20602042) of TAM Flight Ltd from Tauranga on the tie downs. It was also still there today.
Previously mentioned here.