Nervous country man gets on plane. Asks if it goes to Timaru.
Pilot replies 'Yes, what street?'
South Canterbury’s first public airport was formed at Washdyke in 1920. The Timaru Airport was opened 9 April 1932, a small airfield built at Saltwater Creek in 1931, was used for commercial flights and by the South Canterbury Aero Club. The operation of full size aircraft from The Creek continued until two major flooding events caused the authorities to find a more suitable site at Levels. In November, 1946, the South Canterbury Aero Club (SCAC) was incorporated with flight training at Saltwater Creek, in Tiger-moths ZK-ALJ and ZK-ALQ. On 12th Sept. 1953 a new airport was opened at inland and north of Timaru -The Richard Pearse Airport - Falvey Road, Levels. Regular air services between Christchurch, Timaru and Oamaru began in 1956. Improvements to State Highway 1 reduced the need for flights between Christchurch and Timaru but there are still scheduled flights to Wellington. Photo of biplane refueling at King St. DC3 at Levels 1957.
3 Nov. 2013, Part 1. 30.20.
13 April 1957 opening of the terminal buildings and extension at the Timaru Airport at Levels. The National Airways Dakota takes off. There was an air pageant arranged by the South Canterbury Aero Club and the South Canterbury Air Force committee, chairman Mr Hervey. Gliders, Tiger Moths, Oscars, Piper Tri-pacer, 4 RNZAF pilots in attendance, 2 DC3 and a Bell 47 helicopter. The runway was extended to 5,000' and removal of trees. Officially opened by Sir Arthur Neville. Speeches by Councillor C Russell Hervey, Sir Leonard Isitt and Sir Arthur Neville.
Evening Post, 21 November 1934, page 10
Airport for Timaru. Investigations are now being made by the Public Work Department to determine the merits of alternative sites for an airport for Timaru. The work is being done at the request of the Timaru Borough Council, states the "Christchurch Press." There are two possible sites for the purpose—one on a large extent of tidal marsh at the Saltwater Creek, which would have to be drained and the other on the flat plains immediately north of the town, at Washdyke. The site at Saltwater Creek has the advantage of being much nearer the town than the Washdyke site, but it was found that before any decision could be made it would be necessary to secure detailed data about the possibilities of effectively draining the marsh. The flat at Saltwater Creek has a big catchment area and in flood periods receives a great deal of water.
Evening Post, 22 February 1945, page 8 Timaru
February 21. With all rivers running feet above the previous highest levels, and some already having broken their banks to send water swirling over the countryside, South Canterbury is experiencing the worst flood in memory. The season has been disastrous enough, but exceptionally heavy rain in the last 24 hours has produced damage which is likely to amount to thousands of pounds. There is also a distinct possibility of loss of life, as several parties were known tonight to be marooned with no chance of rescue before daylight. Throughout today hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes in the Saltwater Creek area, Timaru, where the water on the airport reached a depth of 11 feet, and was still rising tonight. Many homes had to be evacuated in Waimate, Temuka, and Geraldine. In Temuka the water was two feet deep in the shops. The previous highest level in Temuka was back in 1902, and then was not as serious as now. In the Totara Valley area 1000 sheep were washed away from one farm alone and stock losses on other farms are likely to be heavy. There were a number of rumours tonight concerning the loss of life, but none was confirmed. It is known that a number of persons are marooned on the Opihi River reserve, where the water rose 10 feet. At Pleasant Point a bus containing 12 passengers is marooned on a bridge, and they will have to stay there, till daylight. Further south an Army truck with an unknown number of passengers is also marooned. The rainfall in one area was 14 inches in 36 hours, while in Timaru six inches fell in 24 hours.
"The Wrights were clearly the first to achieve sustained and controlled powered flight but the question of whether or not Pearse beat them off the ground with a powered takeoff remains."
Timaru Courier Thursday, March 28,
2013 Pearse flight dates questioned
Letter to the Editor
The report about Richard Pearse (March 14) errs in suggesting that Waitohi inventor Richard Pearse may have carried out a powered flight attempt in 1903 some nine months prior to the successful flights made by the Wright brothers in December of that year. In an interview with the Timaru Post on November 16, 1909, Pearse stated categorically that he ‘‘did not attempt anything practical with the idea until, in 1904’’. In other words, in 1903 the inventor had yet to even build a flying machine, let alone attempted to fly one. Letters he wrote to the press in 1915 and 1928 reiterate that he only started out on the project in early 1904. In fact many years were to pass before he actually completed his machine, first flight attempts not being made until November 1909.
Errol W. Martyn
Richard William Pearse b. 1877 -
the first British citizen to have achieve powered take off in a heavier than air machine, in a
monoplane, nine months before the Wright Brothers. It was not until after
his death that the importance of his work became more widely appreciated, thanks
to the efforts of George Bolt, the founder of the Canterbury Aero Club. Bolt
spearheaded an investigation that involved the interviewing of eye witnesses of
the flight attempts, as well as the location of the remnants of one of Pearse's
earliest machines that had been dumped in the Opihi riverbed.
The Timaru's airport at Levels is named after a
Waitohi, the first British citizen to fly, on March 31, 1903. Pearce's
attempts at flying were witnessed not only by Warne Pearse, brother, but by
local farmers and pupils of Upper Waitohi School who would see him flying on
their way to or from school. The Wright Bros. flew on December 17, 1903. Look
for plaque on fence at the airport. The Richard Pearse Memorial with a replica
of his monoplane is in the Upper Waitohi district, near Pleasant Point on the
Main Waitohi Road, overlooking the field where he crashed.
two letters, published in 1915 and 1928, the inventor writes of February or
March 1904 as the time when he set out to solve the problem of aerial
navigation. He also states that he did not achieve proper flight and did not
beat the American brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright who flew on December 17,
1903. It was not his last aviation invention. He created an autogyro in his
garage in Christchurch which was designed to be an everyday utility plane, to be
driven down the road, and to take off vertically. Although Pearse's design was
not available to later inventors, his concepts had much in common with modern
aircraft. Aerilons (the small flap on the outside of the wing), the propeller in
front of the plane, single wings – all have been adopted as the norm. "But what
was absolutely categoric was his vision for flight in the early 1900s – history
has shown 100 years later how absolutely correct his vision was," said Jeffrey
Pearse, s/o Richard Pearse (a great nephew of Richard Warne Pearse) and grandson
of Warne Pearse. About 15,000 people attended the Richard Pearse Centenary of
Flight air pageant in Timaru 29, 30 31st March 2003.
The young man’s eyes are bright with his vision. Richard was an accomplished musician, and played the cello. He was also a very good tennis player and golfer. He obtained a patent for his plane in 1906, and kept experimenting until 1911. All his inventions were made with junk or scrap metal. He made a sound-recording machine, two music boxes for his sisters, and then there was his bamboo bicycle, patented in 1902. Its pedals went up and down, rather than round and round, to achieve greater efficiency, and tires self-inflated as you rode along. He is also believed to have made a 16-cylinder engine. He later invented a power generator, a mechanical potato planter and a home-built motorbike, lathe, forge, magic viewer, harp, topdresser, motorised disc harrows, and a novel "sparking plug".
Marlborough Express, 4 November 1909, page 4
A young South Canterbury farmer who has for some years past been working in secret in an endeavour to perfect a flying machine, considers that he has now nearly reached the goal at which he is aiming (telegraphs our correspondent). He intends to make trial flight with his airship, at an early date. The framework of the ship is of bamboo, the wings all of calico, and the propelling power, is a 24-h.p. motor. The inventor is Mr Richard Pearse of Waitohi.
19 July 1906 After several years of farmyard tinkering which may have involved ‘flying’ as early as 1902, aviation pioneer Richard Pearse of Waitohi, entered the official records by filing a patent for his Improved Aerial or Flying Machine which incorporated many features of modern aircraft.
Progress, Volume I, Issue II, 1 September 1906, Page
318 Applications for Patents.
The following list of applications for Patents filed in New Zealand during the month ending 15th August, has been specially prepared for Progress. 21476 — R. W. Pearse, Temuka Flying machine.
Taranaki Herald 18 June 1909, Page 2
The proprietor of a motor garage at Timaru, believing that flying machines will presently be in common use, says he intends to erect at one end of his garage an aerial platform from which the machines may start and at which they may alight.
New Zealand Aero Transport Company, of Timaru - the county's first airline
Evening Post, 29 April 1920, page 6
Active steps are being taken towards the proposed aerial service to Mount Cook. On 5th May Mr. R. L. Wigley, of the Mount Cook Motor Service, will leave the Sockburn aerodrome with Captain Euan Dickson, manager of the Canterbury Aviation Company, on a direct flight to Fairlie, where the tanks will be refilled, and an aerial survey will be made of the route to Mount Cook. The machine will fly as far as the Hermitage and back, to Fairlie, but no landing will be made on the way. Captain Dickson has not yet made a ground survey of the route, but Mr. J.C. Mercer has been over the ground, and he states that there are suitable landing places in case of emergency. Mr. Wigley's idea is that tourists to Mount Cook should fly from Timaru to the Hermitage, where a landing ground would be levelled off. The distance by air is about eighty miles. It is also hoped to establish an aerial service from Mount Cook to Queenstown, about 130 miles.
Timaru Herald 21 May 1920, Page 7
FLIGHT TO MOUNT COOK DELAYED BY STORM. The start from Sockburn. Christchurch. May 20.
Flying directly into the teeth of a strong southerley wind, Avro 4242, piloted by Captain Euan Dickson, left the aerodrome at 11.3 a.m. to-day for Fairlie and Mount Cook. It was originally intended to use the machine that made the Invercargill flight, No. 3247 but No. 4242 was the best tuned up of the three Avros at present in commission, and it was selected. Flying coats, balaclavas, and goggles were put on by the passengers, and the, pilot was fur-helmeted- and wore a leather flying coat, in which was slipped a map of the country. The weather was very overcast and the wind cold as they climbed into- the cockpit. After a little coaxing the engine, started up with a roar, and after a little warming up the pilot gave a nod to the mechanics to pull the chocks away from the wheels and the machine flew straight into the southwester and was off to the south. The wind was dead ahead and a hit bumpy near the ground, but the Avro climbed steadily but slowly, and was soon cut of sight. It left at 11.3 a.m., and was expected to be in Fairlie (100 miles) at about 12.30. The question of flying on to Mount Cook to-day will be decided at Fairlie. If the ground is heavily coated with snow an aerial survey will be impossible, as the nature of the landing place and the country generally will not be discernible from the air. The Avro took enough petrol for 2½ hours' flying, giving a flying radius of close to 300 miles. Mr J. E. Moore, the mechanic is at Fairlie, ready to refill the tanks for the circuit to Mount Cook, which will be undertaken by Mr. T.D. Burnett, M.P. for Temuka. Immediately after the landing lunch was provided by the Mt. Cook Motor Company in Harper's tea rooms, to which representative residents of the district were invited. Mr T. D. Burnett, M.P., presided, and speeches of congratulation and approval of the enterprise of the Mt. Cook Aviation Company were made and applauded. A number of shares in the company were subscribed for to-day.
Ashburton Guardian, 21 May 1920, page 5 Flight to Mt. Cook. Timaru, May 20
Captain Euan Dickson was to have flown from Sockburn Aerodrome to Mount Cook and back to Fairlie today. A wintry storm delayed the start from Sockburn from 8 till 11 a.m. and two hours were lost on the way to Fairlie, a descent being made at Pearse's farm, Waitohi, for petrol, driving against a head wind having run the supply short. It was expected at starting to reach Fairlie at 12.30 p.m., and a large number of people, many coming by car from Timaru, awaited the arrival in the keen winter air, the surrounding hills being white to the foot. The Avro have in sight over Brother's Hill, 3000 feet high, about 3 p.m., and after some fancy stunts a good landing was effected in a paddock near the township. Captain Dickson stated that he had a 30-mile wind against him. The actual flying time for the 100 miles was 2¼ hours. The pilot and passengers, Messrs R. Wigley and R. L. Banks, stated that they enjoyed the trip in spite of the cold. The flight was made at an average height of 3000 feet. The course ran just seaward of Geraldine, across Waitohi Downs and up Totara Valley. Snow fell at the Hermitage in the morning. Later it cleared, and fine weather is expected to-morrow. A start will be made for Mount Cook at 8 a.m.
Timaru Herald 22 May 1920, Page 9
Yesterday morning broke fine and calm at Fairlie, giving a prospect or suitable weather for the flight to Mount Cook. Before the time for starting arrived, however, wisps of snow drifting from summits of the Two Thumb Range showed that a strong nor'wester was blowing up there, though it was still calm at Fairlie. At 10.26 the start was made, Mr T.D. Burnett M.P., accompanying Captain Dickson. The Avro circled around Fairlie to gain altitude, and when at a height of 7000 feet, as was judged, Capstan Dickson made for the Ashwick Pass — the hollow in the Two Thumb Range- which enables the peak of Mount Cook to be seen from Timaru. In about half an hour after starting the machine was lost to view. About this time the gale readied Fairlie, a very strong blow indeed. It seemed but a short time later before the cry was raised, 'There they are!" The Avro was returning; its mission, unaccomplished. In the face of the gale a good landing was affected little more than an hour after the start. Mr Burnett stated that the flight carried them well over the frontal ranges, so that a good view was obtained of the Mackenzie basin and a part of Lake Tekapo. The Alps were hidden by storm clouds. Captain Dickson was to start early this morning for Christchurch, taking Mr and Master Hunter-Weston as passengers.
FLIGHT TO MOUNT COOK
Timaru Herald, May 1920, Page 9 IMPRESSIONS OF THE FLIGHT. (By T. D. Burnett). Never before has it been given, to a Mackenzie man to see his native country spread out below him, to pass judgemen, from a height of 13,000 feet on the land of his birth, that he has traversed for a lifetime by bullock dray, journey horse, coach and car. He has looked down on the Alps that he has hitherto revered and looked up to. With one sweep of an eye, without turn of heads, he has seen the head waters of the Rangitata, the Macaulay, the Godley, the Cass, the Fork, and all but the mighty Tasman; with a half turn he has taken in distant Benmore and Lindis, the Waitaki gorges and the grassy Hakataramea and the sea-gaszing Nimrod, and has read the secrets of the Rollesby and Burke's Pass Valleys. Then he has turned his back on it all and gazed at the deep blue, far strething sea, fronting the mile upon mile of Canterbury's far-flung plains northward. And it was good. He has passed judgment on man's sixty years of toil here below, and it is good. We can have a clean conscience. We have planned, we have toiled, we have accomplished. We could almost take a Sabbath's rest with an easy mind.
There is but one scab on the face of; the landscape, and that is the wild, neglected, river-bed gorse. And then you take notice of the beautiful straight ruling of the roads', showing white against the field grey green of the Fairlie basin; then you note they all converge on one centre, after which you wonder no longer why Fairlie town came into being. Then you take pride in watching the even unrolling spread of the enclosed rich farm the straight plough lands showing clayey grey on the downs against a darker hue on the flats. Then, you note with a gasp how the faults of single discing cry to heaven, even at this height. And then and then, why it comes with a rush, partly mental but much more actual, how God tore the heart out of the mountains and hills to build up the rich farm lands for the use of man, that there might be fat and sap in the land for all. There it is, the perfection of creation, unrolled before the eyes of the bird man of the clouds.
And who will follow the carping cynic when he says that man's good works are but as the passing show, for see, see dotted all over the Fairlie basin, and all the valleys debouching onto its, plains, the living monuments to the faith of the men of the early, days. Better than obelisks and shafts of marble are the beautiful blocks of trees to the memory of A. B. Smith at Rollesby, old William Sibbald at Sawdon, Melville Gray at Ashwick, Donald MacLean at Strathconan, the Gillinghams of Lambrook. So too with a southward sweep of the eye can you remember that men were dreaming old English dreams at Albury and Opawa. And away to the west the age-old nor'-west storm is gathering its forces to withstand the daring intruder, the last and youngest child of science and brains. The old Mackenzie is saying "You have conquered our lands, our rivers, our snows, but by the help of hurricane and snows we will fight you one supreme fight for the conquest of our air." Go on old nor' wester, blow! Your imperial reign is nearing its close. To-day is yours, to-morrow ours. And see, there is the long blue lane of Tekapo Lake, and with nature's dam built across its foot, with the water all but lapping over its lip. Even the birdmen at 13,000 feet can note what, those who walk upright on earth fail to see, that nature has thrust into our very faces the means of, gaining unlimited power by placing turbines at the foot of the lip. Truly, truly, ours is a glorious country. God give us brains to plan and hands to work it.
Northern Advocate 21 May 1920, Page 5 AVIATOR LOST IN STORM.
Timaru, This Day. Captain Euan Dickson, who was to have flown from the Sockburn aerodrome to Mount Cook and back yesterday, was delayed by a storm for two hours and became lost on the way to Fairlie, a descent having to be made for petrol.
The first aeroplane to land at Fairlie around May 1920 was E4242. There is a
good photo of the plane in the book Fairlie1866 -2000 on page 24. Souvenir card shows an illustration on the front cover, of a
small biplane aeroplane, the "Avro" model, flying above Mount Cook and above the
clouds. Inside shows a photograph of the Canterbury Aviation Company's
"Avro" 504K - E4237, that made the journey,
parked in a flat field. Inside also shows the names of pilot and passengers:
Pilot Euan Dickson, DSC, DFC, Croix de Guerre.
Passengers from Christchurch to Fairlie: R L Banks and R Wigley.
Passengers from Fairlie to Mt Cook and return: T D Burnett, M.P., and G Pearson.
Passengers from Fairlie to Christchurch: R H Hunter-Weston and Master Gould Hunter-Weston.
Timaru Herald 25 August 1920, Page 9 CARAVANS OF THE AIR
SOUTH CANTERBURY'S NEW INDUSTRY. FUTURE OF CIVIL AVIATION. That war has its industrial victories no less renowned than peace, will not he. disputed, and it is safe, to assert that but for war, commercial aviation, would not have attained the position it has reached at the present time. But war, having assorted the safety factor possessed by the machine, it is not surprising that commerce, at the first opportunity, should have been induced to regard with favourite new means of locomotion. The advantages offered by way of the air are many; the principal feature no doubt, from a utility point of view, is that it renders possible the establishment of routes, at present hopelessly impracticable, in the commercial sense to road, rail, or sea. But to the community, and also to commerce, the all-important factor is that of safety. This must be above all suspicion, as much to prevent the loss of goods in transit as of life. The cessation of hostilities saw the establishment of "'joy-flying" schools at popular resorts in England, and from May 1 to November 1, 1919, 30,000 passengers were carried over short trips, being thus introduced to the novelty of aerial travel, without a single mishap. In effect this circumstance, although looked upon in some quarters with feelings akin to disgust, proved the greatest, educating influence yet devised to turn the man in the street and the woman at home to the way of the air.
Probably the widest known and most frequently quoted modern transport service is that connecting London with Pairs. The success of this service from the reliability and safety points of view was virtually a foregone conclusion. It was indicated by the record of the Handley-Page during the period following the armistice. Two machines —liners of the air—were converted from, bombers into passenger carriers and were attached to the Peace Conference. During a single month they carried 700 passengers, without the slightest untoward incident, between London and the historic conference. This machine has accomplished many other notable flights, including that from Ipswich to India via Egypt, entailing an 800 miles leap over the waters of the Mediterranean, a non-stop 1000 miles flight from Cairo to Baghdad by way of Damascus and a similar non-stop flight, with six passengers, over the 800 miles from Marston to Bairritz. The Vickers-Vimy, however, is the machine which has created the greatest sensation of the flying era, and the trans-Atlantic flight plus the Australian venture, have made its name a household word. New Zealand is peculiarly adapted for aerial services, and so far as commerce is concerned, the lack of railway development and the road conditions, afford golden opportunity for the advancement of aviation. When one thinks of the tri-weekly train service to Fairlie, the three hours there by occupied on the journey, and then realises that the return trip could be accomplished in little over an hour, it, will he readily conceded that a reliable, and well conducted aerial service must have a prosperous career. The New Zealand Aero Transport Co., which will commence its activities at Timaru, in the beginning of next month, is setting itself out to eater for mail, transport and passenger flights, and the five machines which have been promised by the Government arc expected to arrive at Lyttelton on August 28 per the Waimana from the Old Country. There will he three De Haviland 9s. and two Avros, and the machines will be convoyed to Timaru by train, and will he assembled on the Company's aerodrome in the vicinity of Timaru. Passenger flights will be commenced at once, while the more serious business of transport from Timaru southwards to Invercargill. and as far inland as Queenstown, will he organised at a later date. For the Mount Cook passenger traffic the promoters are considering the question of importing high-power machines with seating capacity for ten to twelve passengers. The type of machine has not yet been decided upon, but several, likely designs are in view. The oragnisation is one which is not likely to stick at difficulties.
Poverty Bay Herald, 3 September 1920, Page 6
No doubt the interest in flying has been stimulated by the passing through on his way from Christchurch to Wellington of Capt. Dickson. Another factor is the reported gift of five aeroplanes by the Government to Mr. R. Wigley of Timaru, who is forming a company to carry tourists from Timaru to Mt. Cook.
Grey River Argus, 9 September 1920, Page 3 An Air
Flight to Mount Cook
Timaru, September 8.— Captains Wilkes (Secretary of the Air Board) and Isitt flew from Washdyke to Mt Cook and back this morning, passing over the tail of Tasman Glacier, and down the Hooker Glacier to the Hermitage. A strong north-west gale was blowing over the Mackenzie country. The aeroplane went out against it in 68 minutes, and returned with it in 27 minutes. The whole trip took 95 minutes. A bank of clouds hid the West Coast. The flight at the Alps reached a height of 14,000 feet. In the afternoon they made several turns over the town, distributing leaflets in connection with a band bazaar. They continue a survey of southern routes for the Air Board on Friday.
Hawera & Normanby Star, 2 November 1920, Page 5 AERIAL TRANSPORT SERVICE
Timaru, Nov. 1. The New Zealand Aero Transport Co. has received a formal offer of the loan of two Avro and three de Havilland planes now at Washdyke, on condition that the machines are kept in an airworthy condition and are used in the advancement of aviation in the Dominion. The aerodrome at Washdyke is almost completed, and the company expect to be flying in a fortnight. The intention is to establish a service from Timaru to Invercargill, and from Timaru to Mount Cook, and later to include Queenstown.
Ashburton Guardian, 2 November 1920, Page 4
Timaru. November 1. The Mount Cook Motor Company, Ltd., has been advised by the Minister for Defence, Sir Rhodes, that the Government has, assigned The New Zealand Aero Transport Company two Avros and three De Havilland planes now at Washdyke, on condition that the machines are kept in airworthy condition, and are used for the advancement of aviation in the Dominion. The aerodrome at Washdyke is almost completed, and the company expects to begin flying in a fortnight. The intention is to establish a service between Timaru and Invercargill, and between Timaru and Mount Cook, and later, to Queenstown.
Southland Times 2 December 1920, Page 5
Timaru, December 1. The South Canterbury Aerial Transport Co. sent D.H.9 to Mount Cook this morning, Captain Buckley being the pilot, with Mr J. C. Mercer and two business men as passengers. They went out in 80 minutes, and on returning landed at Irishman Creek station, where business in sheep was transacted and breakfast taken. They returned to Washdyke at 10.55. The machine reached an altitude of 12,000 feet. There was excellent visibility and the party saw Tasman Sea and well over North Canterbury. On the way out and home they dropped Timaru Heralds at hotels and stations.
Evening Post, 14 January 1921, Page 8
The most southerly aeroplane flight in the world was made to-day, when a De Havilland machine from Timaru made a surprise visit to Stewart Island, making a delivery of the Southland Times, and selecting a site suitable for a future landing-place. The first aeroplane seen in the island caused considerable excitement. The New Zealand Aero Transport Company's De Havilland machine, which made a flight from Invercargill to Stewart Island and back this morning, returned to Dunedin this evening, landing at 5.30 o'clock, after a fast flight of 65 minutes. The aeroplane was piloted by Captain Buckley, and carried three passengers. The pilot followed a new-route direct to Clinton, and thence direct to Mosgiel, reducing the air-line distance to 110 miles. The flight was further assisted by a light following wind.
E4104-E4303: 504Ks built by Humber Motor Co. Ltd., Coventry. E4242 was purchased by Canterbury Aviation Company arriving in New Zealand on 24 December 1919. To NZPAF in June 1923 when the company was taken over by the Government. NZPAF New Zealand Permanent Air Force (The NZPAF became the Royal New Zealand Air Force on 1 April 1937, following the passing of the Air Force Act.)
Airmail service - first in New Zealand
Ashburton Guardian, 29 January 1921, Page 4
The first Royal Air Mail between Christchurch and Ashburton, and Ashburton and Timaru will be inaugurated. on. At 8 a.m. the aeroplane will a leave the Sockburn aerodrome, arriving at Ashburton about 8.40. The local landing-place has been announced as Mr T. Langley's paddock Beach Road, where flying was carrier out during the visit of Captain D Gray at the beginning of the year. The aeroplane will unload its Christchurch-Ashburton mail, and take, up the local mails for Timaru, setting out immediately for the South. At Timaru the landing-place will be a paddock close to the racecourse at Washdyke, three miles from Timaru. It is probable that a postal officer will be a passenger on the machine leaving Christchurch for Timaru on Monday morning. The first aerial mail will close for Timaru correspondence at the Ashburton post office at 8 o'clock on Monday morning and for Christchurch letters at 12 noon. Letters should be endorsed "Per Aerial Mail." No special stamp will be used. The postmaster announced to-day that the charges for letters per aerial mail will be as follow:- For all letters, under 2oz. an additional 6d, making a total charge of 8d per letter; for all letters over 2oz. and under 4 oz., an additional charge of 7d i.e., a total of 9d. The object in thus, restricting the weights of letters is to curtail the sending of heavy matter by aerial mail. There will be no facilities for late letters. Ordinary postage stamps will be used.
Hawera & Normanby Star, 31 January 1921, Page 7
The trial aerial Timaru-Christchurch mail service was inaugurated to-day. The Avro plane accomplished the journey in 1 hour 40 minutes, stopping at Ashburton to drop and pick up a bag. An altitude of 500 to 1000 feet was maintained against the strong head wind. Clear weather was experienced after leaving Ashburton. Over 200 letters and a bundle of newspapers were carried. The plane returned at noon.
Ashburton Guardian, 29 March 1921, Page 7 DOMINION AVIATION.
OPERATIONS OF PAST 11 MONTHS One fatal accident for 152,096 flying miles, or 2509 flying hours, is the record of civil aviation in New Zealand during the 11 months ended March 5, 1921, states the Dominion. The sole fatality, which occurred at New Plymouth, resulted in the death of a pilot and two passengers. Four companies are operating in New Zealand to-day the Canterbury Aviation Company (Christchurch), the N.Z. Flying School (Auckland), the N.Z. Aero Transport Company (Timaru), and the N.Z. Aerial Transport Company (Hastings). The first-named two are subsidised by the Government. The Timaru Company began operations on December 1, 1920, while the Hastings Company began as late as March 5 of this year. New Zealand Aero Transport Company, Timaru, 9,857 passengers, 163h 4m, 1660 miles, approx. machine mileage 1183 flights.
Evening Post, 9 September 1921, Page 8
AERODROME AT LYALL BAY. A scheme has been initiated by the New Zealand Aero Transport Company, of Timaru; to establish an aerodrome at Lyall Bay.
Evening Post, 16 September 1921, Page 7 Flight from Timaru.
Another aerial crossing of Cook Strait was made yesterday, when an Avro machine owned by the New Zealand Aero Transport Company (Timaru) arrived. After "nodding" at the city from aloft, landed in the Recreation Ground at Lyall Bay. Mr. Cuthbert Mercer piloted the aeroplane, and was accompanied by Mr. S. V. Mallard who is also a pilot, and will have charge of the machine while it is here. The flight is notable because the aeroplane has only a low-power engine, a "Gnome" of 100 horse-power. The flight started from Timaru at 11.30 a.m. on Wednesday. It was proposed to come on to Wellington on the same day, but a leaking oil pipe made it necessary to land at Kaikoura. Eighty minutes after leaving Timaru, the aviators landed at the Sockburn (Christchurch) flying ground, and a fresh start was made just after 2 o'clock. The enforced landing at Kaikoura meant a day lost. The aviators worked on the leaking pipe during the night, started again at 11.20 a.m., and reached Blenheim in 56 minutes. The last stage of the journey was begun at 5 p.m., and Wellington was reached in half-an-hour. Mr. Mercer states that except for the stoppage at Kaikoura, the flight was without incident. He flew over the Strait at a height of 4500 feet (nearly a mile) and climbed to 8500 feet when approaching the land. Though it was growing, dusk, he had no trouble in finding his land marks, and at the Lyall Bay ground a fire was lit to show how the wind was blowing at a low level, so that a landing could be made properly.
Evening Post, 26 September 1921, Page 8
SPECTATORS AND FLYING MACHINES "SAFETY FIRST."
The Wellington representative of the New Zealand Aero Transport Company of Timaru (Mr. A. M. Adams) mentioned to-day that a crowd of over 4000 people was on the Lyall Bay Recreation Ground yesterday to witness the Avro flying. The pilot, Mr. Mallard, although very popular with the crowd, was for a while unable to alight with safety because a certain number of people would run out on to the field when the aviator was about to come down; consequently he abandoned flights for, some time, much to the disappointment of many who do not got frequent opportunities of going out to the aerodrome. However, it was better to do this than run the risk of knocking the curious spectators down, as unfortunately happened in Sydney. Mr. Mallard's action has been entirely approved by the Wellington syndicate which brought the aeroplanes here, for it complies with the Timaru Company's policy of "safety first." It is hoped that spectators will in future rather assist the aviator than increase his responsibilities, of which he has .many in the air, the principal ones being to his machine, his passengers, himself, his company, and the spectators, all of whom are depending on his skill and knowledge to provide pleasure and safe service.
Evening Post, 21 November 1921, Page 8 Air Adventure
AVRO WRECKED BY GALE
FORCED LANDING ON THE BEACH. One of the two Avro aeroplanes sent up to Wellington by the New Zealand Aero Transport Company (Timaru) was severely damaged yesterday morning as the result of a forced landing on the beach near Ohiro Bay when within a few minutes of the Lyall Bay aerodrome. The pilot (Mr. W. F. Parke) had a very trying experience, but was not hurt. Both machines started out from Blenheim at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Mr. Parke's engine, when he was about halfway across the Straits, began to behave badly, and he turned back to Blenheim, where it was found that the trouble was caused by water in the sump. He was unable to get petrol promptly, and deferred his flight till yesterday morning. In the meantime Mr. Mercer made a fine crossing in beautiful weather, and his arrival was something of a spectacle.
Hawera & Normanby Star, 26 October 1921, Page 5
Auckland, Oct. 25. The DH9 aeroplane, piloted by J.C. Mercer, with W. H. P. Fleming, of Gore, and R. L. Wigley, of Timaru, as passengers, arrived at 6.8 p.m. from Invercargill in a total flying time of 8 hours 53 minutes. The trip from Trentham to Auckland occupied 3 hours 36 minutes actual flying. Leaving Trentham at 1.50, they flew over Otaki, Feilding and Wanganui thence to Hawera, arriving at 3.25 and at 4.5 for Mokau. Thence the plane followed the West Coast line. Good conditions were experienced through the North Island. The altitude averaged about 4000 feet. The petrol consumption from Invercargill was 94 gallons. Mr Wigley, who is managing director of the New Zealand Aero Transport Co., is of opinion that it is quite feasible to run a daily passenger service from Bluff to Auckland.
Hawera & Normanby Star, 2 November 1921, Page 5
TIMARU, Nov 1. The DH9 aeroplane, in its Auckland to Invercargill flight, arrived at Timaru at 5:54 this morning. The plane left Trentham at 9.46 a.m., making a non-stop, flight to Christchurch, which was readied in approximately three hours. The afternoon was spent in transacting business. Timaru was reached after an hour's flight. The flying time from Auckland to Timaru was 8 hours 15 minutes. The plane carried a cargo of parcels and letters, and a Wellington morning daily was delivered for the first time in Christchurch and the south on the day of its issue. The plane reached 6000ft altitude crossing Cook Strait, and the average altitude of the flight was 3000 to 4000 ft. The flight is likely to be concluded to-morrow.
Evening Post, 11 May 1922, Page 8 CIVIL FLYING -YEAR'S TOTAL 69,039
During the year ended 31st March, 1922, flights made by civil flying companies totalled 69,039 miles, the actual flying time being 1006 hours 19 minutes, and the passengers carried being 9582. For the last month of the year, March, the figures for the respective companies are: New Zealand Aero Transport Company, Timaru, 295 passengers, 21hrs 42min, 1660 miles, 160 flights.
Auckland Star, 16 July 1928, Page 10
CHRISTCHURCH, Saturday. The new Gloster-Grebe aeroplane flew from Wigram aerodrome to Timaru yesterday, "stunted" over the beach at Caroline Bay and arrived back an hour and a-half after it had started. This is believed to be the fastest trip ever made in New Zealand, but the new plane was not flown at its maximum speed. Captain J.L. Findlay was the pilot. He left Wigram about 15 minutes after two other planes, Bristol fighters, but caught up with them before reaching Timaru, which is 100 miles south of Christchurch.
Press, 8 January 1929, Page 5
On Sunday, Mr E. Hall, of Hororata, flying a Moth plane, made a safe landing at Mr George Murray's "Braemar" Station, Mackenzie Country, about 20 miles from the Mt. Cook Hermitage. Mr Hall set out from Hororata in the afternoon and reached Braemar at about 4.30 o'clock, after flying for one and three-quarter hours. A perfect landing was made, while the take-off, half an hour later, was also very successful. The return journey was made via Glenmore and Godley Peaks stations. Mr Hall experienced rather trying conditions owing to the heavy clouds over Fairlie, and was obliged to fly at an altitude of 9000 ft.
Evening Post, 17 April 1929, Page 11
In October, 1921, Mr. J. C. Mercer, now instructor of the Canterbury Aero Club, flew from Timaru to Auckland in 6hr 55min flying time.
Evening Post, 19 September 1929, Page 15 EXIT DH9
LAST OF ORIGINAL AIR FLEET EARLY AVIATION RECORDS
A few days more and New Zealand's original defence air fleet will be no more (says the Christchurch "Press"). Of the five original military aeroplanes that were brought to New Zealand, three how remain. They have all flown for the last time. Soon, after everything of even the slightest value has been taken from them, the remnants will, be burned and the ashes scattered to the winds. Those five machines—a DH9, two DH4's, and two Bristol Fighters—have all played their part in the development of' aviation in this Dominion. The first of the five to be written off was one of the Bristols. It was the plane in which Captain Horrell and a passenger named Reid lost their lives when it crashed at Papanui. Another passenger, Captain Turner, escaped with severe injuries. The other Bristol was written on from wear and tear a few weeks ago. The most interesting machine of the lot is probably the DH9. It was the first machine of this type to be flown in New Zealand, and the last. There were seven others of this type landed in New Zealand, but they have gone the way that all planes eventually go to make a bonfire.
The DH9, arrived in New Zealand in October, 1920, and was handed over by the Government to the New Zealand Aero Transport Company, whose aerodrome was at Washdyke, near Timaru. On 15th November of that year it was tested there by Captain M. Buckley, now Officer Commanding at the Wigram Drome, where the machine awaits the final inspection by the Disposals Board in order to be written off. Strangely enough, it was Captain J. C. Mercer who was the first passenger, and he rigged the machine. Captain Mercer is now pilot instructor to the Canterbury Aero Club, and when the DH9 is given to the flames, ho will be able to see them from the club's hangar.
OVER MOUNT COOK. The DH9 was converted, to a passenger-carrying machine and was the first in the Dominion to have an all enclosed cabin. It was the first plane to fly over Mount Cook. That was in 1921. Captain Buckley was at the controls, and Captain Mercer and Messrs. R. C. Herron and J. Moody were passengers. On this occasion a height of 13,000 feet was attained—a performance that would be a credit to-day to a 230 h.p. machine with a three-passenger load. Soon after this, the machine toured the South Island, Captain Buckley being pilot, with Captain Mercer and Messrs. R. L. Wigley and Harrington (mechanic) as passengers. On this tour, the first flight to Stewart Island was made, Captain Mercer and Mr. H. Fleming being carried in the cabin. The New Zealand Aero Transport Company had an idea of running a regular service from Timaru to Dunedin, and for five days, from 1st March to 5th March, 1921, this machine flew to Dunedin and back again with absolute regularity.
DEPARTED GLORY. Soon after this, Captain Mercer took the DH9 from Invercargill to Auckland in one day, his flying time being 8hrs. Mr. Wigley to Mr. Fleming were passengers. That performance has never since been equalled, and it stands to-day, as an excellent one. On 11th September, 1923, the machine was taken back again by the Government, and since then it has been used extensively at the Wigram Aerodrome. Practically all the pilots on the New Zealand Air Force Reserve have flown it, and included in the log are the names of Captain G. Hood and Lieutenant J. Moncrieff, who were later to lose their lives in an attempt, to cross the Tasman Sea.
The "9" is now hardly a semblance of its former self. The wings have been removed, the engine is gone, the fuel tanks are no longer in position,- and all that remains is the fuselage. The two DH4's.are also to be destroyed. One of them, No. 7929, saw active service in Flanders. Its log book shows, that on 28th October, 1918, it left Farnborough for France. It never took part in any battle, however, for only two flights were, made before the. Armistice came. Then for a month or two it toured Belgium and made some trips to Holland, returning to on 6th January, 1919. Six months later it was sent out to New Zealand. The next year it made its first flight here, with Major Isitt at the controls. When the defence Department took over the Wigram Aerodrome this machine was used extensively during refresher courses, and-has been in steady work until quite recently. The other DH4 arrived at the same time, and its log shows a large number of trips to Timaru, with Major Isitt in charge. Among its passengers have been Sir Keith Smith, who was co-pilot with his brother, Sir Ross Smith, on the first flight from England to Australia. It was with this plane that the photographic survey of Hanmer was carried out. Soon after these machines the Avros came out to New Zealand and the few of them that are left are still in service at Wigram Aerodrome.
At Stockburn aerodrome in 1929. These two aeroplanes are - left - Avro 504K and right- Bristol F2B Fighter. Both are WW-I types but remained in service for quite a long time, the Bristol finally being retired in 1936. The photo was probably taken around Fairlie. The boy, H.A.B., to the right was born in 1916.
Ashburton Guardian, 21 November 1901, Page 2
Homing Pigeons—The Timaru Herald chronicles a remarkable instance of the homing faculty of the pigeon. Two months ago a couple of pigeons were taken from Fairlie to Napier in a box, and after having been at the latter place a week were let out of the box. The birds few off, and were not seen again until Friday last, when they turned up at Fairlie.
South Canterbury Aero Club website
Aviation training in South Canterbury first began in 1930 at Washdyke and then moved to the Saltwater Creek Airport in 1932. The Timaru Air Pilots' Club fostered private flying, training and competitions. In November, 1946, the South Canterbury Aero Club (SCAC) was incorporated with flight training at Saltwater Creek, in Tiger-moths ZK-ALJ and ZK-ALQ. In 1953, the Aero club moved to it's present site at Timaru Airport.
Evening Post, 2 June 1930, Page 11
The Mid-Canterbury. Aero Club has decided to combine with the Canterbury Aero Club in the formation of one body to embrace the whole of Canterbury. The decision was reached at a recent meeting of the Mid-Canterbury Club, after a prolonged discussion. Mr. J. C. Guinness, who presided, said that the Government regulations had been so drastically changed since the club was formed that it could not carry on as an independent body. With no machines, little money in the bank, and only about 200 members, the club could not afford the expense of operating alone. The following proposals submitted by the representatives of the Canterbury Aero Club were agreed to: That a Canterbury Aero Club be formed to embrace the whole of the province; that the province be divided into three districts, namely, North Canterbury, Mid-Canterbury, and South Canterbury; that the body known as the Canterbury Aero Club become the North Canterbury branch of the Canterbury Aero Club - that the Mid-Canterbury Aero Club become the Mid-Canterbury branch; and that if and when a club was formed in Timaru, it should become the, South Canterbury branch. The new body is to take over all the assets and liabilities of the present clubs, and the use of aeroplanes is to be divided between the branches in proportion to the number of pupil members awaiting instruction.
New Zealand Air Force
Evening Post, 2 September 1930, Page 7 THE AIR FORCE
NEW SCHEME ADOPTED FOUR SQUADRONS ESTABLISHED
The Territorial branch of the New Zealand Air Force has been reorganised into a wing, consisting of four squadrons. Under the new scheme, details of which were finalised yesterday, the Territorial Air Force becomes a distinct body embracing the whole of the Dominion. Of the squadrons, two are to be trained for army co-operation work, and the other two are to be trained as bombing squadrons. The Officer Commanding the Territorial Air Force is Wing-Commander K. L. Caldwell, M.C., D.F.C., who has been raised from the rank of squadron-loader. Flight Lieutenants J. Seabrook, A.F.C., M.C., M. C. M'Gregor, D.F.C., N. E. Chandler, and P. K. Fowler have been promoted to be squadron-leaders. No. 3 Squadron—Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury, and Westland.
"A" flight, Blenheim, Flight-Lieutenant D. C. Inglis, D.C.M.
"B" flight, Christe Viureh, Flight Lieutenant W. L. Harrison.
"C" flight, Timaru, Flight-Lieutenant K. W. J. Hall.
(1903- 1997) and a blue Moth
After 41 hours of flying experience, and aged 23, he flew from London to Sydney in 18 days in 1930.
Mr. Garden as he rose to speak. "I hope if my flight has proved anything it will give "a fillip to aviation in New Zealand."
Evening Post, 26 November 1930, Page 6
The civic welcome given to Mr. Oscar Garden, the young New Zealand airman, in the Town Hall yesterday afternoon was notable for the large gathering of people and the warmth and sincerity of the congratulations expressed by the various speakers. The Mayor (Mr. G. A. Troup) presided, and among the others on the platform were Lady Bathurst (Government House), the Minister of Defence (the Hon. J. G. Cobbe), the Director of Air Services (Wing-Commander S. Grant-Dalton), city councillors, representatives of the Wellington Aero Club, and Mr. J. W. Stannage, wireless operator on the Southern Cross during the Atlantic flight. The Mayor welcomed Mr. Garden back to New Zealand, and congratulated him on his wonderful effort. When the news first came through that a New Zealander named Oscar Garden had left England for Australia, they wondered who the young man was who, without much training or experience in long-distance flying, had undertaken such a tremendous task. Probably a good many thought that like so many others he would never finish the journey, but after a few days they began to take a keen interest in his progress. Then it was found that he was from Timaru, that his age was 23, and that he was a Scotsman. (Laughter and applause.) In business in Christchurch, he had decided to take a trip Home, and while there he had sold his motor-car and bought an aeroplane, although he had never been in one in his life before. He made such good use of the machine that after a month's flying he set off for Australia on that great lone trip, and achieved what some of the most experienced flyers in the world had; failed to accomplish. It was one thing to set off on a journey he had traversed before, and quite another thing to essay a flight over countries of which he had no knowledge. As time went on it became apparent that Mr. Garden was making wonderful time, and finally the flight was completed in time which placed him third on the list of those who had flown out to Australia. He was beaten only by Kingsford Smith and Hinkler. When his lack of experience and all the circumstances connected with the flight were considered, the achievement was a splendid one, and, said Mr. Troup, he thought Mr. Garden could be acclaimed as one of the most illustrious flyers who had visited New Zealand. (Applause.) Mr. Garden as he rose to speak. "I told them at the Harbour Board reception that it took my breath away, and this is worse," he said, smilingly. "I hope if my flight has proved anything it -will give "a fillip to aviation in New Zealand." He deprecated any suggestion that his was an outstanding achievement; he was simply following in the footsteps of such wonderful flyers as Kingsford Smith and Hinkler. A lot of people imagined that the worst part of his trip was flying over the water. Actually, the worst part was when his machine turned over at Jhansi and the whole weight came on to the wings. When he resumed his flight he expected the wings to fold up at any moment. He certainly had had hopes of flying to New Zealand, but as soon as he went into the matter he realised that it was impossible with a machine like a Gipsy Moth. Mr. Garden confessed that his flight to Australia was mainly the result of a desire to make up the number of flying hours required for a "B" license. "When I left England I had done only 41 hours, and I thought I might as well get those extra hours by flying out to Australia as by flying about aerodromes." (Applause.) I can only hope that some day in the future I can do something which will make me feel I deserve this welcome." (Applause.) Mr. Stannage, who was also accorded an ovation, added his praise of Mr. Garden's flight, and said that from his own slight experience of flying he realised some of the dangers and the courage and enterprise required to overcome them.
Evening Post, 16 October 1930, Page 13
The Garden family came from Scotland to New Zealand the year after the war, and Mr. Garden was then 14. He first worked with his father in his aerated water factory at Timaru, but later, after spending some time successfully rabbiting, came to Christchurch and started a cycle shop at Spreydon, Christchurch. Finally he had bought a garage in Southbridge, but a year or two ago went to Sydney, where he again had a garage at Double Bay. When he came to Christchurch at the beginning of the year he said that he would learn to fly in England. Her brother had always been keen on motors and flying, said Mrs. Hindle, and had seldom thought of anything else. He had always done everything he had said he would, and she was sure that unless he had really bad luck he would be successful in his flight to Australia, but she felt that he really meant to fly to New Zealand. At present Mr. Garden's mother and his sister, Miss Violet Garden, are in England, having arrived there in August. Another sister, Miss Rose Garden, is a nurse in St. Saviour's Babies Home.
Evening Post, 25 November 1930, Page 11
The impulsive way in which Oscar Garden, started out on his flight to Australia is typical of the man. He made few preparations for the long journey, and gave the impression that he was simply starting out on a short pleasure trip. The following table shows the route taken and the days occupied on the journey:—
17th October: Left Lympne Aerodrome, Croydon, (Kent), 6.17 a.m. Heavy fog, forced land until it cleared, 3 hours delay. Reached Munich in 8.5 hrs.
Munich, Germany, Salzburg (Austria), refuelled, through Belgrade
Following day to Sofia (Bulgaria). (Passport problems)
Constantinple -a lost a day through passport trouble and next day heavy rain set in, 2 hour delay
Eskisekir (Turkey) engine trouble made his second forced landing caused by magneto trouble. "It was a very heavy landing. I was flying at a height of about 5000 feet at the time, and just flopped down like a sandbag." Another day was lost in Eskishehr, during which time the magneto was repaired.
Left for Aleppo. 3rd forced down due to wrong directions looking for aerodrome. Plane ran out of petrol. Surrounded by Arabs.
22nd October: Left Aleppo for Bagdad.
24th October: Left Bushire (Iran), had to land due to a sandstorm for Jask (Gulf of Oman). Met Mrs Victor Bruce, aviatrix. Flew in tandem to Karachi, Pakistan.
26th Oct. At Jhansi landed in a ploughed field. Plane crashed upside down. The wing was removed to flip the plane and the spare propeller was installed. The rained, the field became a bog. Pulled plane to a dry strip, trees were cut. Set out for Calcutta refueled at Allahabad.
28th October: At Calcutta to carry out further repairs.
30th October: At Rangoon (Thailand). To Sengora. On to Singapore.
2nd November: In Java.
3rd November: At Bima.
4th November: At Koepang, to refuel.
4th November: 550 miles later arrived at Wyndham (W. Australia) to Halls Creek to Alice Springs (they lit a bonfire, so he could see where to land).
5th To Sydney (Mascot aerodrome).
Total flight England to Australia — 18 days.
Garden had decided to make a motor tour of the United Kingdom, but suddenly changed his mind, purchased a plane and decided to fly to Australia, a distance of approximately 12,000 miles. At the commencement of his journey he stated that he was not out to break records, but would fly in leisurely stages to the Commonwealth. On landing in Australia, 18 days after the commencement of his journey, he attained third, fastest time for the Whole journey, being beaten in this only by Kingsford Smith and Bert Hinkler, both of whom were experienced aviators. Garden therefore put up the fastest time for the arduous journey that has been put up by an amateur flier. Garden landed at Wyndham, a spot which is considered by experienced aviators as a very difficult, landing point. Oscar Garden was born in Scotland 23 years, ago, and came to Now Zealand with his family at the end of the war. He settled at Timaru, where his father had a cordial factory. Later he removed to: Christchurch, then he opened a cycle shop at Spreydon, and later a garage at Southbridge. He then decided he would go to Australia, and purchased a garage at Double Bay, Sydney. Early this year he returned to New Zealand, and told his family he was going to England to learn to fly. He received his instruction in flying at the Norwich Aero Club, and had only 20 hours' solo flying experience, and 14 days' ground engineering and navigation instruction, when he decided to flying to Australia.
Evening Post, 8 December 1930, page 4 Mr Garden
Timaru, 7th December. Mr. Oscar Garden, accompanied by Captain Haig, arrived at Timaru from Dunedin on Saturday afternoon. The airmen were met some distance south by two planes of the Canterbury Aero Club and were escorted to Washdyke, a few miles north of Timaru, where the men were welcomed by several hundred people. The young aviator, was then driven to Timaru, and in the presence of several thousand he was officially welcomed to the town, where he resided a number of years, by the Mayor (Mr. W. Angland). Mr. Garden later paid a flying visit to Temuka, and in the evening was the guest of the aero club and municipal authorities at a dinner which was largely attended. The airman will go on to Christchurch early on Monday morning.
Oscar Garden and his second hand, metal framed, little blue coloured bi-plane, he named "Kia Ora" for good luck, was originally registered G-AASA on 9 November 1929, de Havilland DH. 60 Gipsy Moth manufacturers construction number c/n 1438. He purchased the plane from the "Aviation Department" at Selfridges Dept. store, on Oxford St., London Sept. 1930 for £500. It had belonged to H. Gordon Selfridge jnr. In The Times, a representative of the department store Selfridge & Co., Ltd. included a column “An aeroplane which we sold”. The author writes that a member of our department was at the Aerodrome to see him off. The article finishes with: “We are proud that the little machine served him so well. Our reward is in that knowledge and in a laconic cablegram from Australia: “Your department sells good aeroplanes. ”First flight 12 September 1930. Oscar's last flight in it was 29 April 1931.
Shipped to New Zealand from Australia and registered ZK-ACK on 3 March 1931
Garden's ZK-ACK Moth was sold to: Tom Mullan of Hamilton on 25 May 1931 part owner with Noy Engineers of Hamilton
M.A. Scott, of Frankton, Hamilton on 17 May 1933
Auckland Aero Club on 12 September 1933 who had established a branch at Te Rapu using D.V. Bryant's farm on Sandwich Rd. The club used ZK-ACK to ferry instructors to Te Rapa each weekend and eventually gifted the plane to Waikato Aero Club on 05 December 1937
Impressed into RNZAF for £350 on 11 Oct. 1939 as NZ510 used by 2 EFTS, New Plymouth.
Converted to INST37 in mid 1941 with Whangarei ATC. Written off books at Hobsonville on 11 June 1946 and broken up. photo
Pryce Parry was born in Southburn, Timaru, in 1913, and was brought up in a farming family. In 1926 he left Southburn School to attend Timaru Boys' High School. While at TBHS school he fell in love with aviation, and in Oct. 1929 (sic) Labour weekend, spent five shillings to go on his first flight in an aeroplane from Saltwater Creek airfield in a Tiger Moth piloted by Oscar Garden (sic- year is out -probably 1931. In 1929 Kingsford Smith and the Southern Cross came back to Timaru and ran sightseeing trips from Saltwater Creek). "One day a friend and I saw a man offering flights for five shillings. We hopped on our bikes and raced there. Ever since that day I wanted to fly. We went over the railway, past Caledonian Ground, past Fairview Hall and back. It was quite funny because Oscar got fined for flying the plane on a Sunday." He left school in 1930 to work on his parents' farm. By the time he was 19, he had learned Morse code. He was one of a select few foundation members to establish the Southburn-Lyalldale YFC at a meeting in the Southburn School on April 13, 1937. He served in the CYC. He joined the NZ Air Force in 1940, eventually going to Woodbourne to practise parachute jumping. In 1942 he moved to Canada for 1½ years for further training in planes before moving to Oxford, England, where he was selected for the elite RAF 195 Squadron Lancaster Bomber crew as a radio operator. "They picked me because of how well I knew Morse code." Pryce was a wireless operator on Lancaster bombers during WW2. He flew missions over France, Holland and Germany in Lancaster bombers. At the end of the war he returned to the Southburn farm. They sold the farm in 1966 and moved to central Timaru. John Pryce Parry died 1 Dec. 2011, aged 98.
Oscar gave joy rides in New Zealand between January and April 1931. These rides lasted about ten minutes and cost twelve shillings. They began on January 1, 1931 from a strip at Saltwater Creek near Timaru and over the next twenty days he took over 400 people on rides. After a week at Waimate, he made his way down to Oamaru.
Saltwater Creek aerodrome was like landing a multi engined plane in the back yard of a few houses bounding a miniature public park and a lagoon running into the creek alongside. I was most annoyed that the father of my childhood ____ next door to us at Waimataitai paid for his son to ride in the great plane - father was editor of Timaru's 'Evening Post' and I think it was one pound for that objectionable child to upstage me, wrote Thomas Hindley in 2004
Evening Post, 21 November 1930, Page 9 SAILING WITH
Sydney, 20th November. Mr. Oscar Garden, accompanied by Captain Haig, a local aviator, will sail for New Zealand tomorrow by the Ulimaroa, for a tour of the Dominion, Garden's aeroplane is going with him.
On the 25 Nov. the Ulimaroa came up to the Queen's Wharf. The "Kia Ora" was transferred to a waiting motor lorry, and a cheering crowd, accompanied Garden to a small platform in B Shed, on the wharf. The Wellington tramway Band played "see the Conquering Hero Comes" A procession followed to the Town Hall were a reception was held. New Zealanders have followed the progress of Garden's flight with interest, and the number of people gathered along the streets where the car of honour passed was sufficient evidence of appreciation of Garden's wonderful feat.
Saturday 6 Dec. 1930 a reception was given for Oscar Garden at Caroline Bay and he addressed the crowd. He was photographed with Capt. F.W. Haig, the mayor Mr. W. Angland and Councillor F.W. Chittock. Evening Post 9 Dec. 1930, pg 7
John Jock Ross of Fairlie wrote in his diary:
29th January, 1931 "Went for a ride in the Oscar Garden aeroplane."
21st March 1931 "Accompanied Captain Tiny White on a flight over 'Shinnes Farm' Ashwick Flat, in his ZK ABN."
Evening Post, 2 April 1931, Page 14 LICENCE PILOTS
An official list of the commercial pilots in the Dominion was issued on Tuesday by the Director of Air Services, Wing-Commander S. Grant-Dalton. A pilot is required to hold a B licence before he can carry out flying for hire or reward, although an A licensed pilot, who has completed 40 hours solo flying, and who has had his licence endorsed for passenger carrying, is permitted to take friends with him. The majority of the twenty-two B licensed pilots contained in the list are licensed to fly light aircraft only, and if they are qualified to fly other types details to that effect are endorsed on the licences. Officers in the Permanent Air Force are not included in the list. The names are as follows:— G. B. Bolt, Christchurch; J. C. Mercer, Canterbury Aero Club; T. W. White, Dunedin; M. C. M'Gregor, D.F.C., Christchurch; J. M. Smith, Invercargill; E. G. Olsen, Dunedin; B. Matheson (Autogiro pilot); Miss P. A. G. Bennett, Blenheim; and O. Garden, Timaru. ..
Ellesmere Guardian, 2 August 1932, Page 5
Mr W. H. G. Quartermain, of Stafford street, Timaru, and formerly of Doyleston, who recently obtained his A pilot's license, is the only one selected out of a number of applicants at Timaru to enter upon a course of twelve days' training as a ground engineer at the Wigram aerodrome, Sockburn.
Evening Post, 4 August 1932, Page 12
3rd August. Unable to find the Wigram Aerodrome in a snowstorm this morning, Mr W E Clark, ground engineer and assistant pilot to New Zealand Airways, Ltd., was compelled to make a forced landing, with a three-seater Spartan aeroplane on the Addington trotting grounds. He made a perfect landing. His passengers were Miss Esther James, who recently finished a walking tour of New Zealand advertising Dominion made goods, and Mr. H.M. Mackay, managing director of New Zealand Airways. The party set out from Timaru at 10.30 in brilliant sunshine and ran into snow at Rakaia. The aeroplane arrived over Christchurch when snow was falling heavily. Visibility was very bad, and Mr. Clark was quite unable to see the aerodrome, although he actually passed over it, flying low over the hangars. Snow fell for half an hour only, and the weather then cleared.
Evening Post, 30 July 1934, Page 10 £5000 Damages
sought a flying fatality
Blenheim, This Day. In the Supreme Court this morning a case was called in which Winifred Gertrude Maindonald, of Christchurch, widow, is proceeding against the Marlborough Aero Club and New Zealand Airways, Ltd., Timaru, for £5000 damages arising out of the death of her husband, Edgar Thomas Maindonald, of Reefton, who lost his life as the result of a crash at the Blenheim Aerodrome on September 24 last year. On behalf of New Zealand Airways application was made for leave to take the evidence in Australia of Squadron-Leader Trevor Watts White, and his Honour Mr. Justice Heed made an order accordingly. The matter will be, called again at .the next sessions.
Evening Post, 11 February 1935, page 10
Blenheim, This Day. In a reserved judgment Mr. Justice Blair non-suited Winifred Gertrude Maindonald, of Christchurch, in her claim against New Zealand Airways Ltd., of Timaru for £5000 damages arising out of the death of her husband, Edgar Thomas Maindonald, in an aviation accident at Blenheim on September 24 1933.
Evening Post, 26 November 1934, page 7 CRASHED IN
The Otago Aero Club's aeroplane which crashed at St. Andrews, near Timaru, on Saturday. The passenger, Mr. W. H. [Howard] Bailey, of Dunedin, was killed, but the pilot, Mr. F.C. Taylor, escaped with bruises and abrasions. ZK-ACE photo collection de Havilland D.H.60M Moth. Havelock Williams photo
Evening Post, 26 November 1934, page 8
Timaru, This Day. An inquest into the death of Howard Wentworth Bailey, who was killed when a Dunedin Aero Club Moth machine in which he was a passenger crashed at St. Andrews on Saturday, was opened before Mr. A. L. Gee, J.P., as Coroner, on Saturday afternoon. Henry James Selwyn Grater, solicitor, of Oamaru, gave evidence of identification. He said that he had known Bailey for 15 years. Deceased was a married man. Witness met him on Sunday last and had a telephone conversation with him on Friday evening. Bailey had stated that he was going to Wellington by aeroplane. He was a strong, healthy man. Inquest
Almighty Father, Who can still
The raging of the storm at will;
Thou Who can save on land or sea,
And if Thou wilt no harm can be:
O God, extend Thy saving care
To those in peril in the air.
New Zealand Airways Ltd., Timaru
New Zealand Airways Ltd was formed about 1928 with the objective of running a scheduled service between Dunedin, Oamaru and Timaru and charter flights. Their first planes were three Simmonds Spartan three seater.
Evening Post, 26 November 1934, page 11
The New Zealand Airways Spartan ZK-ABZ, piloted by Mr. K. Johnson, arrived from Timaru with a passenger on Saturday morning, and took a passenger to Blenheim in the afternoon.
Evening Post, 29 June 1935, Page 8 AIR TAXIS LICENCES
The Transport Co-Ordination Board has granted air taxi licences to New Zealand Airways Ltd., Timaru, and the Waikato Aviation Co., Ltd. (S. J. Blackmore), Hamilton. The licences, which are issued for a period of five years from October 31 last, entitle New Zealand Airways to operate six machines, at present used by them for the carriage of passengers and goods on journeys to any part of the South Island commencing from or terminating at the aerodrome of Timaru or Dunedin. Mr. Blackmore is entitled to use the machine at present in his possession for the carriage of, passengers and goods on journeys to any part of the North Island commencing from or terminating at the aerodrome at Hamilton.
Evening Post, 7 April 1936, page 13
The Director of Air Services has issued a licence for the aerodrome at The Hermitage, and it is now open for traffic. The official opening will take place early in May.
Evening Post, 13 April 1936, page 6 Forced Landing.
Auckland, April 12, Unable to locate the aerodrome owing to the failing light, Mr. A. Baines, pilot of a Spartan biplane which arrived at Mangere from Timaru shortly after dusk on Saturday evening, made a successful forced landing in a paddock on a farm about two miles and a half from the aerodrome. The machine, which is owned by New Zealand Airways, Limited, was not damaged in any way and was flown across to the aerodrome this morning. Mr. Baines, who was carrying a passenger, Mr. H. L. Grant, of Christchurch, had left Timaru at 6.45 a.m. Aero club pilots consider Mr. Baines showed considerable skill in landing.
Evening Post, 16 December 1932, Page 11
Squadron-Leader T. W. White, with Mr. H. M. Mackay as a passenger, arrived at Rongotai [Wellington] at 8 o'clock this morning from Timaru in the New Zealand Airways Spartan.
Evening Post, 19 May 1930, Page 13
Ashburton, 17th May. Thick misty rain marred the opening of the Ashburton airport this afternoon, causing the abandonment of the programme of races and displays. Seven aeroplanes took part, but after flying over the town it-was found advisable not to have the planes in the air owing to poor visibility. The County Chairman -(Mr. James Carr), the Mayor-(Mr. E. Galbraith), Mr. T. D. Burnett, M.P., Mr. W. Angland (Mayor of Timaru), Mr. G. Dash (Mayor of Waimate), and Sir Francis Boys were the speakers. The airport comprises 93 acres owned by the County and .Borough Councils, and was handed over to Mr. E. B. Newton, president of the Mid-Canterbury Aero Club, for operation. The visiting pilots had an unenviable trip to their home aerodromes after the ceremony.
Evening Post, 29 May 1934, Page 8
The New Zealand Airways Puss Moth ZK-ABG, piloted by Mr. E. Clark, with Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson, jun., as passengers, arrived at Rongotai at 2.5 p.m. today from Timaru. At the same time the company's Spartan, ZK-ABN, piloted by Mr. K. Johnson, also arrived from Timaru with Mr. Stevenson, sen., and Mr. H. McKay as passengers.
Evening Post, 14 July 1934, Page 23
Dunedin July 13. Miss Jean Batten arrived here this morning from Timaru, escorted by Squadron-Leader Findlay. [She used her own Moth machine for a tour of the South Island.]
Evening Post 13 February 1935, Page 13
The New Zealand. Airways Puss Moth, ZK-ABE, piloted by Mr. R. Johnson, with Mr. Acland as passenger, arrived at the Rongotai Aerodrome from Timaru at 8.15 a.m. today, and left again at 9.25 a.m. for Dannevirke.
Evening Post 26 July 1935, Page 13
The New Zealand Airways Puss Moth ZK-ADG, piloted by Mr. K. Johnson, left at 9.45 o'clock this morning for Timaru with two passengers.
Evening Post, 28 September 1935, Page 10
The New Zealand Airways Boeing ZK-ADX, piloted by Mr. A. Johnson with Mr. McKay and party as passengers, left for Timaru at 10.30 a.m. today.
Maurice William Buckley of Pussy, Fairlie
Pilot M W Buckley, age 25, (1895 - 1956) (centre) and mechanic Bill Hanington (left), alongside an Avro 504 K biplane owned by the Canterbury (NZ) Aviation Co Ltd. The man on the right is unidentified. Taken by an unidentified photographer, at an unknown location, in 1920. File print available in Turnbull Library Pictures. Note on back of file print reads: "c/n from print lent by Miss Burgess 31/7/61. Air Commodore Buckley served in WWI RNAS and RAF; chief pilot NZ Aero Transport Company 1920; Aviation Company 1922; flying instructor Wigram Aerodrome, RNZAF 1926 and commanding officer 1929-1930; commanding RNZAF headquarters London WWII. See `Who's who in NZ' 1956. CBE (1946) MBE 1935, Born Seacliff s/o Kate and Frederick Henry M.W.B. Buckley married Lykke Patricia (1908-1994) d/o W.T. Smidt in 1928; 1 d. He was commanding officer, No 75 (NZ) Squadron, 1939, and Air Officer Commanding, NZ RNZAF, Headquarters, London, 1946. 'Buck' was the longest serving and most decorated of the South Canterbury pilots. His father Fred Buckley drew the ballot for 'Sunny Vale' on Rocky Gully Rd in 1904. 'Buck' attended Albury School 1904- 1907 then Timaru BHS 1908- 11. He played rugby for Albury 1912- 13. Fred sold the farm to Bill Ross in 1913, the Buckley's then bought 'Pusey', on the road between Fairlie and Geraldine. Buck joined the RNAS (Royal Navy Air Service) in 1916 and served in the Mediterranean. He then joined the newly formed RAF and served on the Western Front. In 1920 he joined the Canterbury Aviation Company at Wigram and became a RNZAF instructor on 1926. In 1929 he became C/O at Wigram and was awarded an MBE in 1936. At the outbreak of WWII he was Squadron Leader of 38th Sqd, and later became C/O (Air Commodore) of the RNZAF, London. Was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 1946. 'Buck' died at Auckland in 1956 aged 61. Frederick Henry Buckley married Kate Eleanor Wilkinson in 1893.
|Serial No. 6/16 Private
Frederick Waldorfe Buckley
Nof Kin: Fred H. Buckley, Pusey, Fairlie, Canterbury
Martial Status: Single
Enlistment address: Pusey, Fairlie
Body on Embarkation: Main Body
Embarkation Unit: Canterbury Infantry Battalion
Embarkation date: 16 October 1914 Lyttelton
|Serial No. 72012 Tropper
Victor Lancaster Buckley
Nof Kin: Frederick Buckley (father), Pusey, Fairlie
Body on Embarkation: New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF)
Embarkation Unit: 37thReinforcements, Mounted Rifles Brigade
Embarkation date: 13 June 1918 Wellington
Canterbury Aviation Company Avro 504 K biplane, Maurice William "Buck" Buckley (1895-1956) another legend of the RNZAF on right and W. "Bill" Harrington. mechanic, in the middle, 1920.
Two pilots with Bill Harrington, the mechanic in the middle. Buckley to the left. The aeroplane is a DH.9. Looks as though it’s one of those that were converted carry additional passengers – three cockpits instead of the usual two.
Timaru Herald 25 May 1920, Page 7
Maurice Buckley (of the Royal Air Force), a son of Mr F. H. Buckley, Fairlie, arrived yesterday by the s.s. Ionic, from England, after five years service. After the armistice was Captain Buckley had a lot to do in charge of transport work. During the war he was engaged in flying fighting and scout planes.
Timaru Herald, 6 December 1920, Page 3
New Zealand Aero Transport Company's aerodrome at Washdyke. The aerodrome has a frontage to the Main North road and the Lower Seadown road, and covers area of about 80 acres, exactly opposite the "Washdyke Racecourse. The hangar is visible at some distance, and alongside it are three huts which are occupied by the company's staff. The hangar is a neat erection of corrupated iron in the shape of a gambrel roof. It has solid concrete foundations, and measures 85 feet long, 77 feet broad and 16 feet high, measurements
THE MACHINES. The company has six machines, but at present only two are in service. They comprise three De Haviland 9 s and two Avros which have been lent to the company by the Government for the promotion of aviation. One of each type is in use at present. A second De Haviland 9 is nearing completion, while the other two machines will be pushed ahead with all haste in order to allow the company to cope with the demand for flights and to establish the mail and passenger routes. The Avro is a very reliable, welldesigned, and widely-used machine, possessing great durability and unique stability. Its qualities can best be gathered from the fact that it was made the universal training machine for the peace time air force by the Air Ministry. It carries a Monosoupape rotary engine of 100 horse-power. The rotary engine is a novelty here, and has aroused much interest amongst motor men. As the name implies, the engine revolves with the propeller, both being fixed on the crank shaft. The advantages of this type of engine are its accessibility and lightness per horsepower, but it is very heavy on oil consumption using up to 10 gallons of Petrol and 2 of lubricating oil per hour. The Avro is splendidly upholstered to accommodate two passengers in utmost comfort. The De Haviland is a machine with in excellent war record, and, like, the Avro, is the last word in reliability. It has a Siddeley-Deasey engine of 350 horse-power, and has accommodation for three passengers and the pilot. One passenger is placed forward of the pilot, while the war observer's cockpit has been neatly converted into a compartment to accommodate two. In front of each passenger is a glass wind screen.
THE COMPANY'S PILOTS. The success of an aviation company depends to a great extent on the ability of its pilots, to whom is entrusted the lives of the passengers and the navigation of the machines. Extensive experience on different types of machines and under all conditions are among the requisites for the best qualified civil pilot, and in the pilots at present in the Aero Transport Company's employ these are amply, possessed. Messrs M. Buckley and P. K. Fowler occupy this important position. Each has a war record of aerial service of which any pilot could be justly proud, included in which are many exciting incidents of brushes with the enemy. Both were comrades in arms from 1915 to the time of demobilisation, and, as was frequently done, were allowed to "stick together right through the piece." Both joined the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915, and commenced training it Eastbourne, on the south coast of England. After the preliminary theoretical course both commenced actual flying. The machines in the early periods of the war included some that are now looked upon as antiquities, so rapid has been the forward march of aviation. The Maurice Farman "Shorthorn" has long since been relegated to the unemployed list, while the Bleriot monoplane was the design of a famous aeronautical pioneer, and each of these machines was in use during the training period of Messrs Buckley and Fowler. Passing through the finishing and gunnery schools, the colonial aviators were posted to No. 2 wing of the R.N.A.S., attached to the British Aegean squadron, which worked in conjunction with the fleet in eastern waters.
THE GOEBEN AND BRESLAU
The work of No. 2 wing comprised long-distance reconnaissance, bombing, photography, and artillery observation or the naval guns, and the theatre under patrol was a very extensive one, covering Mesopotamia, Saloniea, Gallipoli, the Sea of Marmora, to Constantinople and the Black Sea. Among the important encounters in which the two local pilots took part was the bombing of the German warships Goeben and Breslau in the Black Sea, and they also took part in the bombing of the Constantinople-Berlin railway line and other important lines of communication. In these operations several different types of machines were used, giving experience of the greatest value to the pilots. Just prior to the signing of the Armistice Messrs Buckley and Fowler were attached to the Dover patrol, where their experience was further augmented. On the Dover patrol some machines were carried on lighters towed by fast destroyers, from which the planes made their ascent when at sea and on which they alighted at the close of the operations. This was considered by many to be the most remarkable feat of aviation during the war. After a career which reflected the greatest credit on both came demobilisation, each then occupying the rank of captain. Mr Buckley is a native of South Canterbury, his parents residing in the Fairlie district, while Mr Fowler is a native of Feilding, North Island. Mr J. C. Mercer, who until the formation of the local company was manager for the Canterbury Aviation Company, is technical manager, and has a thorough knowledge of aeronautics, aeroplane design, and engineering.
FLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN.
On Saturday forenoon the Avro was flown over Timaru by Mr Fowler, with Mr R. L. Wigley as passenger, and hundreds of numbered pink and blue leaflets were dropped expressing a greeting to boys and girls under 16, and outlining a scheme of a free flight for the boy or girl who returned the slip bearing a number nearest to one previously selected. At 5 o'clock the competition closed, and it was found that two children had returned slips bearing the chosen numbers. They were Diana Frewer, Wai-iti Road, a bright little girl of five, who was very keen to have a "fly," and Selwyn Winterburn, who, with several of his companions, came in from Fairview in search of a free flight. The lucky numbers were 961 for girl and 959 for boy. The successful boy and girl were given their flight yesterday, and, like many of their elders, were very sorry when the joy ride was over. Yesterday was a busy day at the aerodrome, and both machines made a number of flights, both at one time being over the town together.
Evening Post, 1 December 1921, Page 8
Timaru, This Day. At the Magistrate's Court today, Mr. Mosley, S.M., gave judgment in an aviation case in which M. W. Buckley and P.K. Fowler, in the employ of the New Zealand Aero Company, were charged with trick flying over Timaru, and also with flying at an altitude so low that danger to the public was caused. The Magistrate found that low flying constituted a very real danger to the public and was a menace to public safety. He held the defendants guilty, and each was fined 20s. As this was the first case in New Zealand, the charge of trick flying was dismissed.
Evening Post, 21 October 1921, Page 4 TRICK FLYING
Timaru, 20th October. In the Magistrate's Court to-day, Philip Kenning Fowler, an aviator employed by the New Zealand Aero Transport Company, was charged with trick flying, namely, nose-diving over the town of Timaru, and flying at an altitude over the town so low that it was dangerous to the public. Another aviator in the same plane was also similarly charged, but he is ill, and Senior-Sergeant Fahey applied for a remand of both cases for a fortnight, which was granted. This is the first case in New Zealand under the Aviation Act.
Evening Post, 4 May 1936, Page 10 Swop low to ground,
aeroplane strikes bus.
NEWSPAPER MEN INJURED MISHAP AT MOUNT COOK
Christchurch, May 3. Flying-Officer F. Truman landed his Air Force Avro aeroplane at the Wigram aerodrome this afternoon without one of the landing wheels and without part of his left tail plane. These he had lost at the new aerodrome at Mount Cook, where he was present at the official opening today. Flying Officer Truman brought the machine down otherwise undamaged and his passenger and himself unhurt, a very skilful feat of flying. The wheel and tail plane were lost in a mishap at Mount Cook in which two other men were not so fortunate. After the official opening ceremony, Flying-Officer Truman took off, with Mr. Harry Wigley son of the managing director of the Mount Cook Tourist Company, as a passenger, to give an exhibition of aerobatics. At an altitude between 3000 and 4000 feet he commenced inverted flying, rolling and looping. Then he dived from about 2000 feet and swooped over the aerodrome very close to the ground. He turned and dived down the valley again, swooping low, greatly to the alarm and consternation of spectators. In a moment the undercarriage of the machine struck a parked motorbus, shearing through the roof, shattering the glass, and tearing the sheet metal as if it were paper. One wheel of the undercarriage of the aeroplane and part of the left tail plane were torn off. A wheel was at once taken out into the flying field and shown to the men in the aeroplane. The pilot flew low for a moment as if undecided what to do, then pointed in the direction of Christchurch and flew to Wigram. The two men injured were Mr. H. Max Whatman, a "Star-Sun" reporter, and Mr. Reginald N. Downes, chief reporter of the "Timaru Herald." They were sitting in the bus which the aeroplane struck. Mr. Whatman suffered severe shock and was cut by flying glass. His spectacles were smashed but his eyes escaped injury. Mr. Downes was also cut and suffered shock, but not so seriously. Mr. Whatman was brought to Christchurch by another aeroplane for medical attention.
Evening Post, 23 January 1933, Page 6
Aviator Actor. Preferring air travel to the train journey, Mr. Norman Shelley; a member of the Dame Sybil Thorndike company, left Wigram Aerodrome at 7.30 on Friday morning and made a perfect landing at Timaru at 8.45 (stated the "Christchurch Times"). He was accompanied by Mr. Elworthy, who flew the machine back to Sockburn later in the day. Mr. Shelley said that he had a delightful trip. He had to fly low nearly all the way because of low lying banks of clouds. Over one portion of the route, for a distance of twelve miles, he flew as low as forty feet.
Fred ‘Popeye’ Lucas
He left farming in Otago to join the RNZAF just before the
Second World War, during which he flew bombers in the European theatre. Poyeye
was posted from his old unit of No. 10 (B) Squadron to the NZ unit in July 1939
the No. 75 (NZ) Squadron, the first NZ bomber squadron in the UK. M.
Buckley W/C, OC NZ Squadron. Popeye flew 81 ops. Poyeye
formed and commanded the RNZAF's first transport squadron in the Pacific and
after the war he became a pioneer in agriculture aviation. On March 10th 1956
dropped fencing material on the hills between "Leslie Downs" and "Ribbonwood",
on Sherwood, by a fixed wing aircraft. It was a disaster. The waratahs and
barbed wire were smashed, he was flying too high. 15 the December 1962, fencing
material was again dropped out for the snowline fence but this time by
helicopter. A target was placed so the pilot would have an idea where to drop.
Obituaries ODT 6/10/1993, Press 9/10/1993.
'Popeye Lucas Queenstown' by F.J. Lucas, 1968
'Popeye's War' by Lorie Lucas, West Riverbank Farm, R.D. 1, Motueka, Nelson, 1996
'The Top Dressers' by Janice Geelen, 1983, 1990
[James William Humphrys Scotland]
In 1914 Will Scotland made the longest flight in NZ when he took off from Fraser Park (Timaru) on a flight to Christchurch, the first. He was the second aviator to gain his pilot's certificate and made the first cross-country flight in New Zealand. That first flight was between Invercargill and Gore; and later the Timaru to Christchurch flight on March 6, 1914.
Evening Post, 6 March 1914, Page 8
Timaru, this day. Mr J.W.H. Scotland left Timaru shortly after 8 o'clock on a flight to Christchurch. In the preliminary one of the planes went wrong, and he landed on Quarry Hill, Fairview road, to adjust it, and got away beautifully. He sailed over Timaru, in a line due north at a height of 400ft to 500ft [Caudron biplane]. The weather was fine, with no wind.
Timaru this day. Word from Orari, twenty miles away states that Scotland landed there at 9 o'clock the air being very cold, he became numbed, and thought it inadvisable to continue the flight. It is understood at Orari that the aviator is short of certain oil required for the machine, but may resume the journey about 2 o'clock.
Grey River Argus, 7 March 1914, Page 3 FLIGHT FROM TIMARU TO CHRISTCHURCH.
March 6. J.W.H. Scotland accomplished a flight from Timaru to Christchurch in a Caudron biplane to-day; He left Timaru at 8.35 a.m. but was compelled owing to the coldness, and engine troubles to descend at Orari at 9 a.m. which place he left at 3 p.m. arriving and landing successfully at the Show Grounds at 5 pm where he was welcomed by about 200 people. The trip was very rough with a gusty wind.
Evening Post, 20 March 1914, Page 2
After his recent successes in the South, much interest is being displayed in Mr. Scotland's exhibition at the Athletic Park to-morrow afternoon, when he will give his first ascent at about 3.30. During his recent flight From Timaru to Christchurch, he accomplished the distance of 100 miles in 100 minutes, and attained a height of over 5000 feet. The most interesting features of aeroplane work, from a spectacular point of view, are the actions of rising and alighting, the volplane down, and the dip, slide, and hover just before striking the ground. In rising again the interest lies in seeing just how quickly the machine can grip the air and clear that fence or building which always looms as an obstacle just ahead.
Grey River Argus, 2 July 1919, Page 3
"Oh, flight from New Zealand to Australia is quite possible - the Atlantic flight have proved that," replied the aviator. He added, however, that he saw no indication of the likelihood of such a flight being embarked upon the immediate future. Mr Scotland remarked: "The thing is only in its infancy to a certain extent, and you can't pick out how it is going to shape oven yet. I should think that airships would become most popular for such flights. I met Hawker at Home," continued Mr. Scotland. "He is a man of smallish build and bright personality. He is always smiling, and apparently knows little about fear. I haven't met Alcock, but they both are pre-war fliers. I saw Pickles's smash at Hendon on September 20, 1913. He was using a Champel machine, and was very badly injured. I saw a good deal of him while he was in the hospital." It will be remembered that Mr. Scotland near the, end of 1913, assembled, a Caudron machine at Otaki and brought it to Invercargill, whence he flew to Gore, and subsequently gave exhibitions in Dunedin, Timaru, Wellington, and Christchurch. The big smash he had in Wellington aroused , a good deal of excitement, and then he had a mishap with his second Caudron machine when flying at Burnside. On this occasion a wheel fell from the machine, which slewed round when he was landing, damaging the chassis. His opinion of New Zealand winds is that they are too unsteady. The first flight in New Zealand was of course, made by the late Mr. J. J. Hammond, who flew a Government Bleriot monoplane in the North Island. Mr. Hammond was in America, testing machines, when he met with his death, said Mr. Scotland. Mr Scotland's, exploits on war service in Mesopotamia have previously, been touched upon. He was invalided to New Zealand with throat trouble, had a rather bad spin in hospital. "I am not certain what I am going to do in the way of flying in the future. " he said, in reply to a question "But I shall keep on with it."
White (1893-1979) 4/960 1st NZEF
Air Commodore Trevor Watts White, CBE ED RNZAF (NZ1079) photo
He flew around in a Spartan biplane ZK ABZ and Stan Jones in Fairlie kept this plane going. This was the days before certified aero engine mechanics. If Stan couldn't do it, no one could. Stan had extraordinary mechanical ingenuity. He was a gift to the district. Without Stan the wheels of industry would have seized up.
Evening Post, 4 July 1917, Page 7
A good many New Zealanders are being transferred from the NZEF for duty with the Royal Flying Corps. A late list contained the following names: — Cpl. Ralph Arundel Stedman, Tpr. Trevor Watts White, Q.M.S. Frederick James Horrell, Tpr. Alexander, Cleveland M'Arthur.
Squadron-Leader Trevor Watts White known as 'Tiny' White to
all, he was a WWI pilot and POW, then a pioneer in airlines in NZ, also a civil
instructor at Wigram and a member of the NZAF (Territorial Air Force). In WWII
he served in the RNZAF as base commander at Rongotai, then Levin, and later as a
top RNZAF official in Canada. He continued to serve till 1951 when he retired as
a Group Captain. Born Sheffield, Canterbury, NZ, 19 Oct.1893. COE. Father:
Alfred John Watts White, Malvern Rd, Morningside, Auckland. Mother: Mary Frances
White. Occupation before war: Drapers assistant, Randells Ltd, Newton, Auckland.
Declared age 21. Enrolled in the as a sapper Auckland Div. Signal Corps 8th Aug. 1914 in Wellington for period of war.
NZEF 18 Aug. 1914 - 14 Aug. 1914 Transports 15 Aug. 1914- 29 Aug. 1914
Embarked overseas - Samoa 30 Aug. 1914 - 9 March 1915. HMNZT No. 16 10 March 1915- 11 June 1915
Balkan Theatre 1915. Egyptian Theatre 1915-1916. 1st NZEF 8/1914 to 10/1916 (served at Gallipoli, Egypt and Palestine) 5th Reinforcements
Discharged from NZEF for commission in the Royal Flying Corps 18 Feb. 1917.
RFC RAF 10/1916 to 2/1919 (Served No. 56 Sqdn on SE5a's; POW from 27/7/1917 to 11/1918)
NZAF 6/1923 to 9/1939. RNZAF 9/1939 to 3/1951. He had only been with the 56 Squadron some two weeks from July 12 and taken POW on July 27. As a Group Captain, RNZAF, he became the Chief Liaison Officer at the New Zealand Air Mission, Ottawa, Canada and was on the Supervisory Board of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. He returned to NZ after the war. Died at Levin 23 June 1979.
Air mail at Air Pagent
On 13 January 1917, Captain Clive Collett, a New Zealander, made the first British military parachute jump from a heavier-than-air craft. The jump, from 600 feet, was successful. He was an ace. Died 23 Dec. 1917 at age 31, will testing a plane.
Harry Wigley - Aviation pioneer
Henry Rodolph Wigley was born
at Fairlie, on 2 February 1913, the eldest son of Jessie Christie Grant and her
husband, Rodolph Lysaght Wigley, a mail contractor, and later an airline
operator. Harry attended Timaru Boys’ High School and Christ’s College. He was
still under 20 when he began his pilot training with Squadron Leader T. W.
(‘Tiny’) White. He completed his training with the Canterbury Aero Club in
Christchurch and gained his ‘A’ licence in October 1935.New Zealand tourism
pioneer Sir Henry [Harry] Wigley made aviation history on 22 September 1955 when
he made a world-first snow landing in
Mount Cook & Southern Lakes Tourist Co., Auster J-1A Autocrat aircraft with a
145 Hp De Havilland Gypsy Major engine with modified retractable skis. This four
seater carried Alan McWhirter, an employee. Sir Edmund Hillary and Harry Ayres
were passengers later that day. This aircraft is now hanging on from the ceiling
at the Aoraki Mount Cook’s Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre. Wigley had
developed a hand‑crank attachment with which he could lower wheels or ski
according to whether he wished to land on ground or snow on a similar machine,
and as pilot Wigley had to lean out the window to operate it. Wigley had spent
years perfecting the skis before he piloted the first ski plane from Mt Cook
village to the Tasman Glacier. The Auster company had provided a ski with a slot
in it through which the wheel protruded a couple of inches. Less than a year
after the retractable ski prototype was tested, the Mount Cook Company ski plane
business was up and running. Wigley was a World War II fighter pilot, in the
Pacific, mountain climber, national downhill skiing champion and an astute
businessman. After Mount Cook bought the plane back, the airline chairman who
was the original pilot, Harry Wigley flew the re-enactment flight onto the
Tasman Glacier on 11 Nov 1975. It was the same aircraft, and the same passenger
as the original flight.
Press, 29 March 1920, Page 7 FLIGHTS TO MOUNT COOK.
The Mount Cook Motor Company is now negotiating for an aerial service to Mount Cook. With this end in view, Mr R. L. Wigley, manager for the company, informed a Timaru Herald reporter that the company had decided to largely increase its capital. He had just returned from a visit to Christchurch, where he had interviewed the officials of the Canterbury Aviation Company with regard to the establishment of an aerial service between Timaru and Mt. Cook. It is proposed that Captain Dickson shall make a flight, from Christchurch to the Hermitage. A landing will in all probability be made at Fairlie whence the route will be taken to Braemar. From Braemar the aviator will make a thorough aerial tour of the great scenic country and return to Braemar en route for Christchurch. The Mount Cook Motor Company intends to pursue the matter of aerial transit further than it has at present been carried in New Zealand, and it hopes if reports are favourable, to employ the latest in aerial liners —probably an eight-seater machine— for the trip from Timaru to the Hermitage. At the Hermitage a drome will be established, where a machine or machines most probably three-seaters—will be kept for the benefit of tourists, so that the grand scenery of the Alps can be visited easily and a comprehensive bird's-eye view obtained with the maximum of ease.
Evening Post, 23 May 1944, page 6
Reports of the success of RNZAF fighters in the Pacific as fighter bombers are unanimously endorsed by members of a squadron which recently returned to New Zealand. "They are accurate, fast, and hard to hit, and can protect themselves," said Squadron-Leader H. R. Wigley, formerly of Timaru, who led the squadron overseas, "and if they strike trouble they can easily jettison their load and give a good account of themselves." The aircraft can carry 5001b or 10001b high-explosive bombs, or a load of incendiaries. Both types have proved their worth in the shattering of Rabaul.
Stan Guard's son
Marlborough Express 16/11/2010
Captain Bob Guard will close the door this week on an aviation career spanning almost half a century. On Friday, Air Nelson's long-serving flight operations manager will take the daily commute to Nelson from his home in Blenheim for the last time. It will be among the many things he will miss about the job. "The daily commute is very therapeutic and coming to work allows me good planning time. I pass regulars each day and we wave but don't have a clue who each other is," Mr Guard said. He spent 37 years with the Air New Zealand group, 20 with Air Nelson. Before that he was an aero club chief flying instructor, and flew Bristol Freighters with Blenheim-based Safe Air. His love for aviation was forged in his boyhood in Fairlie, South Canterbury, where his French Pass-born father Stan worked as a boatbuilder. "It's just a passion I've always had. I've not considered any other career," said Mr Guard, now 65, who earned his private pilot licence at age 16. His commercial licence followed when he was 20. He captained the first New Zealand-registered Saab flight, in October 1990, and still has a "soft spot" for the type. He now aims to encourage young people into aviation careers, and is in talks with educators on setting up a formal liaison role. He has clear views on what sort of person makes a good pilot. "You have to be disciplined, and in my view you still need a passion for aviation. I think the good role models are those with discipline and natural competency, and those with a passion for what they are doing."
Captain James Cuthbert Mercer (1886-1944). Bert died
Bert flew the Canterbury Aero Club DH 60 Moth ZK-AAI in the early 1930s.
Evening Post, 1 July 1944, page 8 CAPTAIN MERCER'S FINE RECORD
With thousands of hours of flying to his credit, Captain J. C. Mercer was one of the best-known pilots in New Zealand, and grew up with aviation in this country. Actually, his first flight was in 1906, when he was the passenger in the Basket of a balloon constructed by Mr. R. Murie, of Invercargill. Captain Mercer secured his flying ticket in 1917 as a pupil of the Canterbury Aviation Company's school, founded by Sir Henry Wigram to train pilots for service in the Royal Flying Corps in the Great War. Instead of being sent overseas, he was retained as an instructor of pupils until the end of the war. He trained many New Zealanders who won distinguished records in France. After the war he took up a post as chief pilot to the New Zealand Aero Transport Company, a newly-formed aviation concern which was to operate from Timaru. Although daily services were planned between both islands, these ambitions were never realised, and after a year or so the company went into liquidation. Captain Mercer entered the engineering trade, but still had faith in aviation as a profession. He attends the refresher courses held at Wigram for wartime pilots, and when the Canterbury Aero Club was formed in 1928 he again entered active flying life as instructor to the club. Receiving an invitation to visit one of his pupils on the West Coast, he saw the possibilities of an air service to the regions of South Westland beyond Weheka, where the road ended. There were machines suitable for such a service, and Captain Mercer concentrated on interesting the settlers. He made many flights from Christchurch to the settlements in South Westland, and the settlers themselves, with encouragement from Captain Mercer, made landing grounds at the very doors of their homes. In 1935 the service was inaugurated with one Fox Moth. Captain Mercer did much to place aviation in New Zealand on the road to progress. He was chief pilot for some years of Air Travel (N.Z.) Ltd., but at the time of his death was managing director. His ability was undoubted and recognised by all who-knew him. He attained 10,000 hours, which means: 1,000,000 miles or more, in the air in 1941, when he was guest of honour at a celebration held in Hokitika.
reg. in 4/1935 ZK-ADR
rereg. in 12/1937 ZK-AER/
ex to RNZAF as NZ551/
reg. March 1944 ZK-AHT (DH84 Dragon 2), Kawatiri, cr Mt Hope 30/6/44 cx
Auckland Star, 26 September 1944, Page 6
The inquiry into the crash of Air Travel (N.Z.), Ltd.'s plane, ZK -AHT, on the slopes of Mount Hope, Nelson on June 30 was opened to-day. The board comprises Mr. W. F. Stilwell, S.M., Wing-Commander G. B. Bolt [George Bolt] and Wing-Commander H. C. Walker. Roy Kean, wing-commander and R.N.Z.A.F. inspector of accidents, stated that his investigation showed that there was nothing which indicated defects in the plane or dereliction of duty by responsible persons. In the Mount Hope crash Captain J. C. Mercer, managing director of Air Travel (N.Z.), Limited,, and Mr. Maurice Dawe secretary of the company, both of Hokitika, lost their lives, and five other; passengers were admitted to hospital suffering from injuries. The aircraft which crashed was a twin-engined machine owned and operated by Air Travel (N.Z.). Limited, which was on a flight from Nelson to Westport and Hokitika. The pilot of the machine was Flight-Lieutenant Percival C. Lewis.
Doug Shears d. 2006, age 83
Shears served with 516 Combined Operations Squadron from 17/7/44 to late Dec.
Doug flew with the RNZAF during World War II. He had seen service with 428 RCAF
Squadron flying Wellington bombers on operational duties and at RAF St Eval
prior to joining 516 Squadron. His tour of duty was close to four years at the
end of which he was just 22 years old. On return to New Zealand after the war he
became a grocer in Timaru could see nothing but huge potential for helicopters –
in weed-spraying operations to break in New Zealand's back country farmland. In
1955 he with some colleagues started a company called Helicopters (NZ)
Limited with the help and finance from Allan Hubbard then a keen young Timaru
accountant. He took advantage of an opportunity to learn to fly helicopters in
America and became the first Kiwi to fly commercially in the U.S.A. in 1955. HNZ
flying operations started in 1956. In June 1960 he was appointed a companion of
the Royal Aeronautical Society. From tentative beginnings the company grew to
become the country's biggest helicopter company, whose contracts include working
in Laos recovering the remains of US servicemen shot down in the Vietnam War in
1993 and servicing the Australian mining industry in 2008.
14/04/2011 Canadian Helicopters Group paid $160 million for Helicopters NZ yesterday, ending 56 years of New Zealand ownership in the local and international aviation pioneer that was founded in Timaru. It was NZs largest helicopter owner with 55 years of operating history throughout New Zealand, Australia and Asia. It had 181 employees, a fleet of 33 helicopters and annual revenue of about $83 million.
11 July 2006 Timaru Herald Doug Shears
Author, aviation pioneer and businessman, Douglas Leslie Shears, who died aged 83, will be remembered as "a man before his time", according to former Timaru mayor Wynne Raymond. Mr Raymond recalls Mr Shears as a forward-thinking man who worked to introduce the helicopter to New Zealand. He was the first New Zealander to be trained as a helicopter pilot and was instrumental in breaking down government resistance to having helicopters in this country. Mr Shears saw the helicopter as the aircraft of the future and was responsible for the first helicopter, a US Navy Sikorsky, to land in Timaru at Ashbury Park in 1955. Allan Hubbard of Helicopters NZ Ltd said the company might have never got off the ground without Mr Shears's persistence. Mr Shears was elected a companion of the Royal Aeronautical Society in London in 1960 for his research into early aviation and the introduction of helicopters into New Zealand. He used his experiences as fuel for his four historical books on South Canterbury. His first book, Damn My Two Left Feet, outlined the development of aviation in New Zealand and told how a polio attack at three left him with a "wonky" left foot but this didn't prevent him from following his love of flying. Then followed three historical books about South Canterbury. At 18, he qualified as a pilot and captained a twin-engine Wellington bomber for the RAF in the Second World War. But when an RAF medical officer noticed Mr Shears's odd feet he said he should never have been permitted to fly a service aircraft in the first place. He also had an interest in the sea. He was a keen yachtsman and administrator and was honoured as a life member of the Timaru Yacht Club. In his retirement he was a regular contributor to The Timaru Herald with articles on activities at the Port of Timaru. The Shears family traded in Timaru for nearly 50 years, beginning with a bakery on Bay Hill. Mr Shears grew up working in his father's Bay Hill bakery so it was no surprise when he opened the Caroline Milk Bar and Timaru's first supermarket, Thriftyway Foods. Mr Raymond said Mr Shears recognised that supermarkets were the future for retailing. Later, he purchased a chocolate business and two wine businesses. He was a strong advocate for New Zealand wines. Born in Timaru in 1923, Mr Shears was educated at Waimataitai School and Timaru Boys High School. Mr Raymond described him as a humble man who preferred a low profile. Mr Shears is survived by his wife Lois.
Colonist, 22 May 1918, Page 4
Two interesting arrivals from the war zone are Flight-Lieutenants Phil Fowler and Maurice Buckley, of the Royal Naval Air Service, who are on special furlough after sixteen months of active service in the Eastern Mediterranean. Flight-Lieutenant Fowler is a son of Mr Southey Fowler of Feilding, while Flight Lieutenant Buckley is a son of Mr F. H. Buckley, of Pusey, Fairlie.
Evening Post, 27 May 1920, Page 2
Among the passengers by the Ionic from London were a number of New Zealand members of the Royal Air Force repatriated after service. They were Captain P. Fowler, of Feilding; Captain M. Buckley, of Fairlie; Lieutenant G. Hood, Masterton; Lieutenant C. H. Noble-Campbell, Napier; Lieutenant Clarence Umbers, Dunedin ; Lieutenant C. Dolling-Smith, of England; Lieutenant H. Smith, of Pahiatna; and Lady Administrator Shortridge, of the Women's Royal Air Force.
Canterbury Aviation School
Press, 16 November 1917, Page 7
The 13th pupil of the Canterbury Aviation Company has taken his pilot's certificate, the distinction going to R. A. Grant, of Fairlie, who was passed by Colonel Chaffey on Wednesday morning. He flew very well, and showed good judgment, and his landings were good, although the morning was rather windy and the bright sunshine meant a loss of buoyancy. The fact that Grant was the 13th candidate to fly occasioned no superstitious forebodings, since he professed to regard 13 as his lucky number, and was anxious to be examined on Tuesday, the 13th day of the month. Two other pupils, R. C. Adams and M. D. Laurenson, will fly for their certificates in the course of a day or two. There are nine pupils undergoing training, and 33 waiting.
Press, 31 December 1917, Page 6
On Saturday morning four more students at the Canterbury Aviation School secured their tickets, Colonel R. A. Chaffey, O.C. Canterbury district, being the examining officer. The successful students were:—Messrs E. H. J. Miller, H. D. Christie, J. W. Davis, and S. C. Bennington (Geraldine).
Otago Daily Times 11 February 1918, Page 7 AVIATION
PUPILS LEAVING SHORTLY FOR ENGLAND.
No fewer than 17 young aviators who have qualified at the Aviation School at Sockburn will leave Christchurch shortly on their way to England. For the short time it has been in existence the school has done remarkably well, and including those who leave in the next draft, 35 men have actually left there for active service, while over 50 have either taken their tickets or are at present qualifying to do so. Arrangements have been made for the men to be entertained by Mr H. P. Wigram, chairman of the Aviation Company, before their departure, and a feature of that, function will be a lecture on " Aircraft Service" by Lieutenant-colonel J. L. Sleeman, I.G.S. The names of the party are as follow: — Messrs J. E. Royds (Fendalton), R.L. Ronaldson (Christchurch), W. G. Rich (St. Albans), D. G. Gregorie (Pahiatua), L. R. Harris (Wellington), I. E. Rawnsley (Wellington), M. M'Donongh (Christchurch), S. C. Bennington (Geraldine), H. D. Christie (Christchurch), J. L. Davis (Christchurch), E.H.J. Miller (Pahiatua), N. R. Lightbody (Linwood), R. E. Napier (Linwood), E. W. Reeves (Merivale), H. L. Lucena (Taranaki), J. H. McKendry (Lyndhurst), A.E. Mercer (Addington).
Timaru Herald, 12 February 1918, Page 5
Flight Lieutenant S. C. Bennington left Geraldine en route for Dunedin, and will embark for England where he is to take up his position in the Royal Flying Corps.
Press, 14 September 1918, Page 3 Waimate
The Y.M.B.C. and other Bible classes tendered a social to Mr Charles Preece on Thursday, on the eve of his departure for England to join the Flying Corps. He is the first South Canterbury youth to pass through the Canterbury Aviation School.
Spencer Charles Bennington died in 1964 in NZ, aged 67, a
retired plumber. Born 20 April 1896 in Waimate, attended school in Geraldine. He
was called up to the army in September 1917, 10th ballot -
Bennington, Spencer Charles, plumber, 184 Talbot street,
Geraldine. Took his Flying Certificate at the Canterbury Flying
School, Christchurch, NZ on a Caudron Biplane, 30 December 1917. Departed
Wellington on the Mokoia 18 Feb. 1918. His service record is in Air 76,
National Archives, UK. Parents were James & Elizabeth (nee Pitt) Bennington.
His brother 6-413 Private
Alex. John Bennington died of wounds in 2 June 1915 and buried at the Beach
Cemetery, Gallipoli. Spencer
married Doris Lilian Cliff second d/o J.P. Cliff of Geraldine at the
Methodist Church in Geraldine in March1925 by the Rev. Harold Sharp. Bruce Logan
was at the organ. Bridesmaids were Miss Edna Hunter of Ashburton and Miss Laura
Naylor of Geraldine. Little Nita Morgan was a dainty flower girl. Joy the little
daughter of Mr and Mrs L. Sherratt presented the bride with a pink horseshoe.
The reception was held in the Parish Hall. The Waimate Historical Society and
Museum archives in 2015 is undertaking a project to digitise and place
their WWI collections online. Diary by S.C. Bennington, notes taken during / at school of Aeronautics
1918 from the Bob Dewar estate military RAF BNZ. The Spencer Bennington
diary/technical notebook contains very detailed technical notes. His trip to
England was by ship 'SS Mokoia', through the Panama Canal, Newport Town,
Virginia, USA, Jamaica and on to Hampton, Scotland, and Hastings. UK.
There is also photographs of men in uniform and nurses who belonged to C Flight,
No.5 Sqd. No.1 Wing, Royal Flying Corps', Hastings.
Spencer left Plymouth, England, Dec 6th 1919. Arrived Wellington, NZ 28th January 1920.
Rawnsley, J E
The London Gazette, 20 January, 1920, page 839
The under mentioned are transferred to the unempld list: -
18th Jan. 1920 2nd. Lt. S.C. Bennington
Alfred Dennis (Jack) Mehlhopt (28/8/1928 -23/1/2015)
Eighty-six-year-old Jack Mehlhopt has received numerous awards for his services to flying. These awards included being the third New Zealander to be awarded the prestigious Federation Aeronautique Internationale Air Sport Medal in 1996, and in 2012 he was awarded the Greg Vujcich memorial award by the (NZALPA) for excellence in instruction. He had been an active member of the South Canterbury Aero Club since 1946 and had overseen hundreds of students' first solo flights. Jack died in a microlight crash at a Seadown farm on Friday 23rd January 2014 soon after takeoff. Jack was an extremely experienced aviator having held a Pilots Licence since the age of 16. Aviation was his lifelong passion.
Timaru Herald 23/06/2012 Award recognises service to
Timaru pilot Alfred Dennis (Jack) Mehlhopt has been recognised for excellence in aviation instruction. He was presented with the 2012 Greg Vujcich memorial award by the New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association (NZALPA) at a ceremony in Auckland. His contribution as a flying instructor and teacher of safety practices spans 65 years. At 83, he still holds a flying licence. Mr Mehlhopt joined the South Canterbury Aero Club in 1947 after winning a flying scholarship from the Air Training Corps. He stayed with the corps, rising to commanding officer in 1962 – a position he held for 20 years. When the club was experiencing financial difficulties in the early 1960s and could no longer afford a fulltime instructor, Mr Mehlhopt volunteered his services at the weekends. About 300 students have taken their first solo flight under his guidance. In the early 1970s he was honoured with life membership and in 1996, the Federation Aeronautique Internationale gave him the Air Sport Medal for his outstanding contribution to aviation. NZALPA president Glen Kenny said Mr Mehlhopt's dedication to training and development of young pilots was much admired. Mr Vujcich was a respected instructor who died in 2007. The NZALPA created the award to ensure his contribution was not forgotten. [Jack's commitment was again demonstrated just before the turn of the century, when a local Timaru group urged the formation of an Aviation Heritage Centre to promote South Canterbury's long association with aviation. Jack took the helm and remained as leader for some years until the construction of a large hangar-museum was complete. Once, when questioned "why do you do so much?" Jack said he had never forgotten the support he had received early on in his flying career, and believed he had a duty to make his own contribution.] mircolights
The Timaru Courier Nov. 23 2012
Glenn Martin proves that the spirit of the aviation pioneer is alive and well in Canterbury. The Martin Jet Pack, launched in the US last week, was based on a concept developed by Mr Martin, of Christchurch, in 1981 and verified by the University of Canterbury Mechanical Engineering Department. And like Richard Pearse’s world-first powered flight in Canterbury in 1903, the Martin Jet Pack is defying description. The ‘‘jet pack’’ — actually a pair of petrol-powered enclosed propellers, like a hovercraft, rather than a jet — is a strap-on vertical propulsion unit. But finding a descriptive box to tick for the 2008 Jet Pack has set even New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority officials scratching their heads. They told The Courier last week the invention was not a rocket, nor a helicopter, nor a jet thrust back pack. It was a . . . microlight. And that’s just fine by one of South Canterbury’s most widely known recreational aviation pioneers still alive in the district Jack Mehlhopt, of Timaru. Now aged 80, Mr Mehlhopt still flies — and has been well known since the 1960s as a fixed-wing pilot, flying instructor of both powered aircraft and gliders, a microlight instructor and a man with an avid interest in aviation history. He is the chairman of the South Canterbury Aviation Heritage Centre and was closely involved with the building of the centre’s replica of the Richard Pearse aircraft. He said that with the Martin Jet Pack, New Zealand was yet again at the forefront of aviation technology. ‘‘This is the beginning of a new era in sport aviation. It’s exciting although I am not sure just where the Jet Pack sits in the overall picture. I see it as a sport and recreational thing only at this stage,’’ Mr Mehlhopt said. Manager Sport and Recreation Aviation of the Civil Aviation Authority, said from Wellington the Jet Pack had not caught the CAA napping. The CAA never naps, but we are sometimes surprised at the innovative nature of fellow Kiwis. As the machine meets the definition of an aircraft, the CAA Rules apply in a realistic and practical way even though the rule writers had little idea a Jet Pack would be developed in New Zealand,’’ Mr Kenny said. At this stage we intend to classify the aircraft as a microlight, which is very similar to the ultralight classification given to it in the United States.’’
Timaru Herald 18 February 2010
Former Timaruvian Chris Mehlhopt is one of many pilots who voluntarily fly the plane, which was the world's first successful commercial airliner. He first flew solo with the South Canterbury Aero Club in 1977 and has since flown helicopters, Aermacchis, Strikemaster jets and CT4 air-trainers for the air force. He currently flies an A320 Airbus for Air New Zealand. According to Mr Mehlhopt, flying the 1940s aircraft is a real challenge. "You have to fly, and continue to fly it at all times. It's an old plane which has no automation, computers or stability control of a modern aircraft. For that reason, it's fun to fly." "It's a fantastic aircraft that has stood the test of time, and could still be flying at 100 years old." 130 knots airspeed.
The planes were moths. ZK-AAW
Air Works on Sherwood Downs, maybe 1961, the run had more hill country than flat land. A Tiger Moth - slow and steady. It was two man team to top-dress. The tractor with a front-end loader hopper would scrap the super phosphate into the bucket from the super bin, dump out any extra based on weight, pull to the rear of the plane and fill the plane up. Pilot would take off down hill and spread his load, the farmer always watching, while the tractor driver gets another load ready. The free flowing bulk super from Ravensdown, Seadown had delivered by dump trucks by a local carrier firm in Fairlie, e.g. Fred Allen's, straight into the weather-proof super bin, about 35ft by 20ft (5.5 m), which had a crank slide on and off roof - made by the farmer from railway tracks and rollers with a concrete floor and sides. We had the same pilot for twenty years, nice chap, like Mum's puddings, junket with the Black Doris plums. The next pilot top dressed only one day, and the next day he was dead, died in Oamaru.
Following the successful RNZAF trials, in 1950 farmers groups lobbied the government to have the RNZAF to provide subsidised topdressing with the Bristol freighters and even advocated using giant Handley Page Hastings. But by this time, government work was being overtaken by private enterprise as in ex-air force pilots bought kiwi built De Havilland Tiger Moth biplanes cheaply, placed a hopper in the front seat and went into business flying from the paddocks of any farmer willing to pay. The RNZAF preferred to concentrate upon defence and the government was reluctant to spend money or interfere with the increasing number of commercial operators. Many factors stimulated the development of top-dressing. Many farms included hill country where it was impossible to spread fertiliser by truck. New Zealand farms tended to be large enough to make the costs worthwhile. High prices for lamb and wool in the early 1950s gave farmers the extra capital. World War II had left behind cheap war surplus Tiger Moths and highly trained ex air force pilots. The majority of the 40,000 plus New Zealanders trained by the RNZAF were aircrew - because most were sent to Europe, and amalgamated into squadrons where the ground crew were from the United Kingdom. On returning to their rural homes, many bought cheap war surplus aircraft, particularly the Tiger Moth primary trainer, available for £100. These were used for weekend flying, but also dropping fencing, feed and people into remote areas, e.g. Rollesby Valley- behind Fairlie, well as occasionally aerial sowing and dropping rabbit poison. Source Air Work Ltd is still based at the Timaru airport.
The first commercial aerial topdressing was in Canterbury. On 27th May 1949, using a Tiger Moth ZK-ASO, piloted by John Brazier of Airwork (NZ) Ltd, applied superphosphate at a rate of 56 kilograms per hectare on Sir Heaton Rhodes’s property Otahuna, at Tai Tapu, south of Christchurch. The plane carried 181 kilograms of fertiliser, and each trip took 7.5 minutes. The cost was calculated to be less than half of that for manual spreading. They advertised spreading superphosphate for £5 per ton, and several orders came from the audience. This was the first commercial topdressing operation in NZ. John & Bill Brazier ran Airwork (the original company) out of Harewood. Since 1947 Airwork (NZ) Limited had been operating Tiger Moths for rabbit killing by spreading poisoned carrots in Canterbury. Fred "Popeye" Lucas had conducted aerial seeding as well as rabbit poisoning. Airwork pioneered the technique of landing on the farmer's own property, loading and turning the aircraft round in three or four minutes. To save time bulk loading from a vehicle was pioneered instead of emptying bags into the hopper. By the end of 1949 Airwork had five Tiger moths. Within the following 5 years nearly 50 other companies - mostly one man operations - joined as competition, but when amalgamation occurred and but it was the pioneers who came to dominate the industry.
Ribbonwood, 1906 m. or 6,253ft map
In 1950 topdressing on "Ribbonwood", plane taking off from the neighbours, "Glenshiel". " Jack Muldrew, of "Leslie Downs" use to land at our airstrip just above the “Ribbonwood” woolshed, have a talk and take off again. Jack, like so many of the farmers, served in the Second World War. In December 1942, he sailed from Wellington en route to San Francisco. He was first stationed at Edmonton in Canada, and then at McLeod in Alberta, to do his pilot training. Gaining his wings he sailed for England on the “Louis Pasteur” in January 1943, going on to Desford for familiarization on the Operations Training unit at Cranfield. At first he flew Beaufighters and radar equipped Blenheims. Early in 1944 he joined the 488 Squadron. His Squadron was transferred to France, Belgium and Holland where he covered the Beach-head and Invasion landings, and acted with the second Tactical Air Force and the British Liberation Force to the end of the war. A prime reason for the RAF's existence and massive expansion during the war was the provision of aircrew under the BCATP (British Commonwealth Air Training Plan) in Canada. 8000 New Zealand aircrew learned their skills there.
Tiger Moth ZK-AZQ "Air Works" - Timaru. Jack Muldrew acquired the Tiger from Auster Air Services at Timaru the day before it crashed on "Ribbonwood" in Oct. 1961. He had actually traded his Auster for the Tiger. This Tiger was originally built for the RAF during WW-II as N6712. After the war it flew in the UK as G-AMMV but was sold to NZ in 1952.
Track an aircrafts history
Civil air accident files 1938 - 1997 at
Archway - agency ABVX - makes it easy to track an
aircraft history and track it down if
ZK-AZQ Pahiatua, C E Thorne, 17/2/54
ZK-AZQ Homebush, H L Piper, 21/2/56
ZK-AZQ (De Havilland, DH 82A Tiger Moth), Albury, P Rowley, 18/3/57
ZK-AZQ (De Havilland, DH 82A Tiger Moth), Dunback, D F Atkinson, 4/8/57
ZK-AZQ (De Havilland, DH 82A Tiger Moth), Leslie Downs, S Muldrew, 6/10/61 [sic]
ZK-BWZ Cessna 172A - old South Canterbury Aero Club aircraft
ZK-ALJ, Ranfurly, B Logan, 3/11/51
ZK-ALJ 1 12/46 DH82A Tiger Moth 83499 ex NZ676/T5770 current
ZK-ALQ 1 11/46 DH82A Tiger Moth DHA.490 ex NZ1404 cr Gleniti 10/49 cx 11/49 then reb as ZK-AVP
ZK- AVP 1 6/50 DH82A Tiger Moth DHA.490 ex ZK-ALQ/NZ1404 cr Maxwell 1/55 cx 5/56
New Zealand Civil Aviation registration prefix are the letters "ZK-"
An aircraft registration is a unique alphanumeric string that identifies a civil aircraft. Most countries also require the aircraft registration to be imprinted on a permanent fireproof plate mounted on the fuselage. Because aeroplanes typically display their registration numbers on the aft fuselage just forward of the tail, in earlier times more often on the tail itself, the registration is often referred to as the "tail number". ZK-A**, ZK-B**, ZK-GA*, ZK-HA* reserved for historical aircraft including helicopters and gliders. e.g. ZK-TGR - the DH82A Tiger Moth c/n 86546 was shipped to NZ they were initially stored in a hangar at Timaru.
ZK-AJI (De Havilland DH 82A Tiger Moth) Timaru R T Alexander 24/10/48 ZK-AJA (De Havilland DH 82A Tiger Moth) Timaru W Todd 25/10/48 ZK-ANG (De Havilland DH 82A Tiger Moth) Geraldine I F Rankin 4/02/54 ZK-AOQ (De Havilland DH 82A Tiger Moth) Waimate Cliff Fantham 3/11/50 ZK-ARN (De Havilland DH 82A Tiger Moth) Timaru Airport R H Wheeler 20/09/49 ZK-ARX (De Havilland DH 82A Tiger Moth) Timaru N Templeton 9/05/59 ZK-ARX (De Havilland DH 82A Tiger Moth) Fairlie David C Bishop 19/12/61 ZK-AZD (Auster, J1B) Fairlie G Brooke 17/06/52 ZK-BLI (De Havilland DH 82A Tiger Moth) near Waimate Peter H. Elworthy 30/01/88 Damaged after nosing over onto its back during landing ZK-BSN (De Havilland DH 82A Tiger Moth) Timaru L B Hopkins 1/05/58 ZK-ARE 1/48 DH82A Tiger Moth 82962 ex NZ877/R5067 cr Timaru 55 cx 5/57 ZK-ARX 6/48 DH82A Tiger Moth 82392 ex NZ747 cr Fairlie 12/61 cx 10/63 reb (incorrect c/n 82393R) 2/75 cr dbf Tapanui 3/76 cx 4/76 ZK-AUF 5/50 Auster J/1 Autocrat 2238 ex G-AJAF conv to J/1B (at Geraldine Museum) current ZK-AUI 6/51 Auster J/1 Autocrat 2175 ex G-AIGS Collided with Army landrover near Lake Tekapo 1/59 cx 12/59 ZK-AVK 8/50 DH82A Tiger Moth DHA.425 ex VH-AXZ/A17-384 cr into Lake Tekapo 2/67 cx 11/73 rems for reb Mandeville 98-2011 ZK-AXN 12/50 Miles M11 Whitney Straight 303 ex VH-ABN/G-AENH wfu 10/62 dbf 11/63 Otematata scr 5/64 cx
Sir Peter Elworthy's 1939 New Zealand built de Havilland D.H.82A Tiger Moth ZK-BLI over the Craigmore sheep yards. It was sold in 2005. Construction No. 84671 photo photo Rangitata Island Museum - De Havilland Over New Zealand collection.
Russell Brodie's ZK-BRL was built in Wellington in 1942 for the RNZAF NZ 1443 by the De Havilland Aircraft company, DHNZ serial #123, the yellow Tiger Moth, spent most of its wartime career at Harewood until 1945, being used for training wartime pilots. Then on to the RNZAF Station Taieri in the 1950s for training pilots. It was decommissioned from the air force in 1956, one of the last to be sold, and has since logged over 3000 hours and enthralled 11 owners. Looks like it was lucky enough never to be a topdresser, spending it's life either glider towing, tourist flights, or in private ownership. It has been at the Rangitata Island Aerodrome since 2007. Ross Brodie learnt to fly in 1917 at Stockburn with the Canterbury Aviation Company. He joined the RFC in 1917 in Britain and finished training in Egypt and served there with the RAF until 1919.first flew in a DH 60 Moth in 1918. photo
In flight 2007
DH82a Tiger Moth, ZK-AJO is at Te Papa
ZK-BLM reg. 8/55 DH82A Tiger Moth DHNZ164 ex NZ1484 withdrawn from use 12/59 stored at Gore. Used as static exhibit marked ZK-AJL at Transport Museum Chch then rebuilt restored 9/07 current
NZ 1484 was bought on RNZAF charge on the 18th April 1944 as a war bird. It was assembled at DeHavilland Rongotai as DH NZ 164 in 1944. The aircraft was declared surplus to requirements on 25/5/1955. Tender No.383, sold to Mr R.G. Bush, Weedkillers Ltd, Gore for 350 pounds on 16/8/55. The aircraft was placed on the civil registrar at the time as ZKBLM. The registration of the aircraft was cancelled in the 1960s. For a period of time it changed hands but was not airworthy. However in 03/11/2003 it was purchased from a Mr J. Copland as a restoration project by Tony McDonald. The restoration took place at a hanger at West Melton, Christchurch. The fuselage was stripped, repainted with new 4130 tubes as required. New floorboards were manufactured, new turtle deck, fitted fuse, re-covered with ceconite and finished using the polyfibre system. All wings rebuilt with new spars. New ribs and refurbished hardware. All spruce treated with two coats of spar varnish. All flying controls have new wood and the same treatment. The under carriage has been rebuilt and tested with new tyres and tubes fitted. Cockpits upholstered in leather with new harness. Original engine was a Gipsy Major series 1 Serial Number 853194 and was not able to be obtained. A replacement engine Serial No. 85340 was totally rebuilt to manufactures minimum clearances by South Air Ltd, Taieri Airport, NZ and zero timed with rebuilt mags and carburettor. A brand new 30 year old Ole Falin propeller is fitted. All bolts and nuts are new AN series with new BSF bolts fitted in the required fuselage positions. A New Zealand certificate of airworthiness was issued on 6/8/2008 with first flight on 14/8/2008. The plane was sold in 2009.
"It's the wind in your wings and the air in your hair not that I've got any left."
ZK-AVL. Pilot P. Mooley, flew at the official opening of the Levels Airport,
Timaru Sept. 12th 1953.
South Island Airways inaugural flight CHCH to Timaru 14th Sept. 1953.
ZK -AVL 1 /50 DH82A Tiger Moth reservation not imported
Simmonds Spartan biplane in South Canterbury
ZK-AAY. Simmonds Spartan VH-ULI reg'd. 8 Aug 29 R Bryce & Co. to ZK-AAY Oct. 29 with Hawkes Bay Aero Club. Rebuilt to three seat configuration and operated by New Zealand Airways Ltd, Saltwater Creek, Timaru. Destroyed 12-02-1937. [shown as c/n 3].
ZK-ABK. Simmonds Spartan three-seater (Cirrus Hermes) built 1929 Regd ZK-ABK 14.3.30 to New Zealand Airways Ltd, Timaru; named "White Star" [Fleet No 1]. Crashed .32; repaired. Sold in 1936 (at auction) for £5 to Syd J Lister, Milford, Temuka (based on farm). Repurchased 1940 by Syd J Lister, Milford, Temuka for £5.00. Crashed into peat bog during unlawful training flight Temuka 1940; Student pilot Charlie Savage badly injured. Remains stored by Syd Lister as spares for ZK-ABZ in a woolshed near Temuka. Remains located 1993 by Bob McGarry and purchased for $1 for rebuild. Rebuild completed after 6,000 hrs and reflown Wigram 1.11.08. At Ashburton (NZAS) in 2011. Captain T.W. White flew they plane to Invercargill for the air pageant on 20 Feb. 1932 an at the opening of the Timaru Airport on 9 April 1932.
“Southern Cross Kitten”
ZK-ABN registered 1930 ( Simmonds Spartan 3-seater Aircraft) Construction No. 42. Crashed at Pleasant Point, W R Wilmott 31/10/39 lower photos. Tiny White flew this plane in March 1931.
Evening Post, 18 March 1933, Page 12
Word was received that the Southern Cross left the Blenheim aerodrome at 4.20 p.m., and the six machines at the aerodrome, three light Aero Club machines, the four-seater Waco, the Timaru aeroplane Southern Cross Kitten, and a Western Federated Flying Club machine, were lined up in front of the hangar, looking bright and business like in the sunshine, ready to start out to escort the Southern Cross to the landing ground. The wait till the big machine was judged well across the Strait was merely a matter of minutes. The first four light aeroplanes, with passengers aboard, started off for the far end of the aerodrome, smothering everyone nearby with whirled sand and grit, fussed about for places, and came rushing towards the crowd in a formation take-off. That was the last that was seen of them for quite a time, for in the late afternoon haze their pilots missed the Southern Cross. The Waco and the Timaru machine did not leave the ground until Kingsford Smith's machine was well in sight over the hills to the west of Lyall Bay. Led in by the Waco and the Southern Cross Kitten, Sir Charles circled the landing ground high, to make sure of what wind there was, swept well out over the bay, and slipped steeply from the turn for a perfect landing at 4.59 p.m. at Rongotai. As usual, Smithy stepped from the big machine, as though piloting the most famous monoplane in the world is just so much of the day's work—and, of course, that is precisely what it is to him. The weather so far has been with him in this visit to New Zealand, and yesterday's conditions were perfect—a beautiful autumn day, with no more than a breath, of wind, hardly enough to fill the direction-indicating "sock"-near the hangar. The hour, 5 p.m., was a trifle early for a week-day welcome, but thousands of people managed to be there. Trams ran full from the city from four o'clock onwards, and motor traffic was heavy.
15 April 1933, Page 5
"Did you see the Southern Cross? We did, and it looked so big ,beside the others. Did you see the dear little Southern Cross Kitten? It belongs to the Timaru Air Club. It was right under the wing of the big Southern Cross. I called them the Mother Cat and the little Kitten."
Auckland Star, 27 March 1933,
Page 9 THIRTEEN HOURS. "SMITHY" HOME AGAIN EASY DAYLIGHT TRIP.
Lowering his previous best time by an hour, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, in the Southern Cross, yesterday accomplished another daylight aerial spanning of the Tasman Sea. The trip was uneventful —"an easy one," in the words of the airman, who, in his broadcast speech following the safe arrival at Mascot aerodrome, might well have described the successful outcome as the triumph of his own organisation and efficiency. Sir Charles injured his log on a barbed wire fence when escaping, under police escort, from swarming admirers at Mascot aerodrome last night. The trip occupied 13 hours 0 minutes. Leaving Ninety-Mile Beach at 5.30 a.m. yesterday, the Southern Cross landed on Australian soil at 6.45 p.m. In addition to "Smithy," the crew comprised: Captain P. G. Taylor, navigator and co-pilot; Mr. J. S. W. Stannage, wireless operator; Mr. J. T. Pethybridge, mechanic; and Mr. H. M. McKay, "of Dunedin, passenger.
Shortest Route. The distance of the flight was approximately 1100 miles, the shortest between New Zealand and Sydney. Reports of favourable weather having been received from the meteorologists, the Southern Cross, in the presence of a large, cheering crowd, took off from Ninety-Mile Beach at 5.30 a.m. yesterday. The tide was well out, and the beach was in excellent condition. The engines had been warmed up since 4.45 a.m., and the testing process lasted for an hour. Some 740 gallons of petrol were loaded. With the exhausts spitting sparks in the semi-darkness, the Southern Cross moved off the planks and taxied on to the beach. A short run in a southerly direction—and the monoplane was once more on the wing, to undertake another trans-Tasman conquest. For a mile out to sea the machine was escorted by the Southern Cross Kitten, piloted by Squadron-Leader White. There was one breathless moment at the start when the plane lurched badly and sent up a shower of spray, but, smartly righted, she sped on and was soon lost in the mist and drizzle which hung over the beach.
Evening Post, 25 June 1930, Page 11
NEW YORK, 24th June. A poem written by a member of the Roosevelt Field staff, to be relayed by the New York Times wireless to Kingsford Smith, runs:
Come on, Major, come on!
Keep her up over the waves.
Bring her across that treacherous, course
That marks other flyers' graves.
Keep up the steady grind,
But mind how the head winds buck
We'll all be there,
You'll meet us there,
You have that kind of luck.
Crowd alongside the Fokker aeroplane `Southern Cross' and the Simmonds Spartan aeroplane `Southern Cross Kitten'. Photograph taken by Northwood brothers. ATL Another photo- looks like Dunedin Te Papa. Smithy was in Timaru - 7th and 8th of March 1933. The Fokker was accompanied on the tour of NZ by other aircraft, including Wellington Aero Club's Waco QDC (ZK-ACV) which was piloted by George Bolt. Also Rotorua Airways' Puss Moth (ZK-ABG) and a Simmons Sparton (ZK-ABN) which was nicknamed "Southern Cross Kitten". These two planes flew ahead of the tour with ground crew to ensure aerodromes were prepared, etc.
1 November 1939, Page 9
Timaru, October 31. Minor injuries were received by Mr. W. R. Willmott, Timaru, when a plane he was flying crashed into a 12-acre paddock at Pleasant Point this morning. The plane was badly damaged. Mr. Willmott, troubled by a gusty, changeable wind, was making a third attempt to land when the machine was carried by the wind till the right wings touched a telephone wire. The machine swung against a pole and rolled over. The plane, formerly the Southern Cross Kitten and owned by Sir Charles Kingsford Smith on his New Zealand tour, was purchased by Mr. Willmott a few months ago and reconditioned. Mr. Willmott holds a flying licence for which he qualified in 1935, and he has had experience in flying in New Zealand and Australia. He was admitted to hospital with the loss of several teeth and a gash in the lower jaw.
14 Dec 1932 Auckland Weekly News. Spartan, first plane to land at the Hermitage.
There was a couple of photos of the first plane to land at the Hermitage, Mount Cook. It landed there in the week preceding the issue. The pilot was Capt. T.W. White and passenger Mrs E.F. O'Leary. The airfield used was Beach Hill Flat, near the Hermitage. They flew there from Timaru. The first photo shows the plane on the ground with a lot of people in front, and the second shows it taking off again. Appears to be white or silver but had interesting markings on the tail and smaller on the fuselage just behind the cowl, in the form of a dark (black? blue?) circle with a white five pointed star. It looked just like the roundel of the USAAF in about 1942-43. That was the colour scheme of New Zealand Airways Ltd. of Timaru. The aircraft was most likely a Simmonds Spartan - NZA had five of these (not all at once!) - ZK-AAY, ABC, ABK, ABN and ABZ. Similar colours are still painted on the Spartan ABZ at Geraldine.
Evening Post, 21 November 1932, Page 8
Flying Ground at Mount Cook. After making investigations at Mount Cook into the possibility of establishing a landing ground there, Squadron Leader T. M. Wilkes, Director of Air Services, and Mr. T. W. White returned to Timaru on Friday (states "The Press")- Squadron Leader Wilkes left for the north later in the afternoon by aeroplane.
ZK-BYD "Airlines of New Zealand " "Ernest Rutherford" Douglas DC-3C at Levels 11 Jan 1963. South Pacific Airlines of New Zealand (SPANZ) operating between 1960 and 1966, regarded as a forerunner to Ansett NZ. SPANZ owned three Douglas DC-3 aircraft, named after New Zealanders Ernest Rutherford, Jean Batten, and George Bolt (it also leased a number of other aircraft). The DC-3s were unique as they were equipped with enlarged elongated cabin windows, giving them the name "Viewmaster".
Fokker F27-100 Friendship NAC ZK-NAB at Timaru Airport
ZK-ABZ. Built in England in 1929, and registered No 93 in NZ on May 27 1930 as ZK ABZ. From the end of 1933 until mid 1936 ZK ABZ was used for general commercial flying and the training of pilots at the New Zealand Airways Ltd flying school at Saltwater Creek in Timaru. In 1937, it was sold by the company to Mr. J. H. Dobson of Ashburton. In 1940, ZK ABZ was purchased by Mr. Syd. J. Lister of Temuka (for 5 NZ Pounds) who had flown on his first solo flight in 1934 and for his A licence test at Wigram in April 1935. Mr. Lister's association with the aircraft spanned half a century, resolved to keep the airframe as a memorial to the pioneers of New Zealand aviation, and stored in a hangar on his farm. The Simmonds Spartan is now at the Ashburton Museum. It is New Zealand's oldest registered aircraft.
ZK-AEN. Both B.A. Swallow II - c/ns 435 (ZK-AEN) Pobjoy powered and 489 (G-AFHR / ZK-AGP / NZ583 / ZK-AGR) Cirrus Minor powered were both operated from Timaru in the late 1930s. ZK-AGP was impressed into the RNZAF in September 1939, found to be unsuitable, and restored to its owner the following year. Both Swallows were then stored in a hangar at the old Saltwater Creek (Timaru) airport for the duration. Someone breached the adjacent stopbanks during a river flood in July 1945, and the airfield was inundated. Did the timber construction of the Swallows no good at all. That was the end of them.
Tigers were built in their thousands in Britain as trainers for the Royal Air Force until after World War II. The Chipmunk DHC1 replaced the Tigers.
The Alexander Turnbull Library acquired the WHITES AVIATION COLLECTION of aerial photos online in 2007, nearly 90,000 negatives, and 50,000 prints and is a rich source for New Zealand’s early aviation history. Many photos of South Canterbury and planes, e.g. the Benmore Power Station four years after it had been built, Lake Ohau. Whites Aviation Ltd was established 1945 by Leo White (1906-1967) to produce a series of popular illustrated publications of aviation history and aerial photography. White began to freelance as a photographer in the 1920s, and later worked for the Weekly News. He pioneered aerial photography in the Auckland region. He compiled Wingspread, a history of New Zealand aviation, in 1941; and served as a photographer with the RNZAF during WWII. During the early 1950s he covered New Zealand by air, taking photographs for Whites pictorial reference of New Zealand. In 1988 the business was purchased by Air Logistics. This firm has now become GeoSmart. The Walsh Memorial Library, MOTAT, has Leo White's collection of prints of New Zealand aviation personalities, visiting aviation industry executives and personalities, pilots, cabin crew, ground and office staff, civil and military aircraft and events from 1920s to 1960s.
"Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library" Ref. No. WA-28121-F. Fairlie. May 1951.
Otago Daily Times 25 September 1911, Page 3 South Canterbury Farmer's Co-Operative Association. The association has just opened a new branch at Fairlie.
The Willows, Middle Rd, Sherwood Downs. April 1947. Tom Ewart's place. Note the little stone hut behind the house, this was the Ewart's first home until the house was built. "Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library". Ref. No. WA-06393-F
The Auster landed at Ewart's. G. Grieg chatting with men with lorry. April 1947. "Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library". Ref. No. WA-06480-F
ZK- AOB 1 2/47 Auster J/l Aiglet (three-seat high-winged monoplane light aircraft) Autocrat Serial No. 2166 mod to J/1B (wfu cx 11/91 st reb rest 12/01) current as of 2012 , down in Lumsden. 952kg. Manufactured in September 1946. Auster aeroplane, ZK-AOB, landing on Ewart's place at Sherwood Downs, April 1947. It is probably the same airstrip used in the topdressing photo above. Mt Dobson to the left, Mt Ribbonwood to the far right, 6,500'. The trees are along Plantation Rd. "Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library". Ref. No. WA-06458-F.
April 1947. Auster tours, (L to R), T Ewart, D Greig and Leo Lemuel White, next to an Auster aeroplane, Rongotai airport, Wellington "Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library". WA-06470-F
EWART, Thomas Wilson (30 November 1910 - 1974) - his passion was journalism - for some years he was the Timaru Herald correspondent for Fairlie and Waimate. Tom married a Timaru girl - Miss M.C. Lunham in 1940. Tom Ewart, spent countless hours in aircraft but he never held a license as he was an official war correspondent attached to the NZ Air Force during WWII in the Pacific Zone. He also accompanied Doug Greig and Leo White, from Whites Aviation, on a tour to promote the Auster Aircraft around NZ and publicize White's aerial photography.
GREIG, Douglas Alexander (3 November 1916 - 1998)
GREIG, Squadron Leader Douglas Alexander, AFC, Air Medal (US). NZ1293 & 130733; Born Rotorua, 3 Nov 1916; RNZAF 3 Oct 1939 to 23 Nov 1945, Res. to 3 Nov. 1971; Greig learnt to fly with the Auckland Aero Club in 1937. He gained his ground engineer’s and pilot’s licences in 1938, and his commercial one in 1939 during which time he completed a flying instructor’s course and was posted to the RNZAF Reserve. In Nov 1945 he formed Aircraft Service (NZ) Ltd to convert former RNZAF Tiger Moths for aero club use and later for aerial top dressing, becoming one of the first top dressing pilots in the North Island. He eventually retired from flying in 1989, after a period of 52 years. Died. Auckland, 21 May 1998. Reference: Colin Hanson’s By Such Deeds - Honours and Awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999. [aka Doug Grata Greig, known as Grata]
WHITE, Leo Lemual b. 1906 - d. 1968 aged 61 years. See more South Canterbury rural scenes.
The “V.C. Browne and Son NZ Aerial Photograph Collection” contains approximately 30,000 scanned images as of March 2012. The collection commences in the early 1930s through to the late 1970s. The majority of the images it contains are black and white aerial photographs. Most photographs focus upon the South Island and the Canterbury region in particular, the collection also covers most New Zealand cities and towns. Victor Caryle Browne was not a pilot but a photographer who specialized in aerial coloured photos of farms, signed "VC Browne." Much of Browne's income was from such commissions from farmers. Browne's earlier works, in black and white, included cityscapes and images from the back country. A lake and a waterfall he discovered in flights over Fiordland were named after him. He was passionate about photography. He flew in many different planes as the collection spans nearly 50 years. The first images where from an open biplane taken with an old plate camera, the last images were taken from modern Canterbury Aeroclub planes with a Williamson 5x5 inch aerial camera. bio. photos There are photos in the collection of the 1st Jan. 1959 air pageant at the Timaru Airport (Photo No. 4132). His photo collection contains photos of aircraft ZK-AET ZK-AKC ZK-AKE ZK-ARX DH82A Tiger Moth c/n 82392 ex NZ747 ZK-ATD ZK-AXF Auster J/1B Aiglet c/n 2674 ZK BSN ZK-BFH (De Havilland DH 82A Tiger Moth) c/n 83343 ex G-ANDB/T7035.
Timaru, N.Z. from the Air 5130 Photo V.C. Browne. Published as a postcard in 1950. Tanner Bros. The photo is in the collection. It can be found here. The image is undated and that means that VC Browne did not have a date on the box of glass plates from which this image came. It’s definitely earlier than 1946 and my guess is that it was taken around 1940, but could be even earlier than that.
The 1950 Canterbury Centennial stamp collection featured only one South Canterbury scene and that only happened after vigorous protests from South Canterbury residents. The one shilling brownish stamp depicts an aerial view of Timaru with Caroline Bay and the harbour in the foreground. The city's Coat of Arms and motto appear at the bottom of the stamp.
Compare Mr Browne's photo. A similar angle used on the 1950 stamp.
Even the ship is there at the second wharf. Note the shadow of the plane on Caroline Bay. What type of plane is it?
Taranaki Herald, 12 May 1900, Page 1
A CENTURY FROM NOW.
If you and I should wake from sleep
A century from now,
Back to the grave we'd want to creep,
A century from now,
We'd witness such a startling change,
Find everything so wondrous strange.
We'd hurry back across the range,
A century from now.
A woman, forty, fat, and fair,
A century from now,
May warm with grace the Speaker's chair,
A century from now.
The Cabinet may be a flock
Of girlies, gay of hat and frock,
Who talk, bat who won't mend a sock,
A century from now.
The people all will fly on wings
A century from now,
(Not heavenly, but patent things)
A century from now.
They'll soar aloft devoid of fear
On pinions of a chainless gear,
And change their flyers every year
A century from now.
“A Passion for Flight - New Zealand Aviation before the Great War Volume Two: Aero Clubs, Aeroplanes, Aviators and Aeronauts 1910-1914 " This is the second volume of Errol Martyn’s new trilogy. A Passion For Flight is a definitive account of New Zealand aviation’s formative years, and is continued with this volume covering civil aviation activity in New Zealand and by New Zealanders abroad from 1910 to August 1914. Published by Volplane Press, P O Box 6482, Upper Riccarton, Christchurch 8442, NZ Ph 03 343 5408; Fax 03 343 5408; Email Price $52.90 +$7 post & packing.
Timaru Herald 18/12/2014
While Santa is yet to confirm or deny if he has lost any of his reindeer, one was spotted today by staff at Timaru's airport. Timaru District Council district services group manager Ashley Harper said the Wellington to Timaru morning flight was momentarily delayed from touching down after an airport staff member reported a deer on the airside of the airport. "Santa might well have lost one of his reindeer," Harper laughed. A staff member working at the airport chased the deer away, Harper said. "We don't know where it came from or where it went." Harper said wandering livestock on the airside was not a common occurrence. "In fact, it's the first time in five years I've heard of it."
In general aviation, the public likes to look down. Scenic Start Tekapo 1974. All the passengers have window seats and it has a high wing.
NZ-825 is actually NZ-1481 (c/n DHN161), built by DHNZ at Rongotai in early 1944. The De Havilland Moth came to the RNZAF Museum Wigram in March 1987 and is on display in the entrance hall. Note the aircraft does not have a tail wheel, never did. It is a tail dragger, needs to be landed straight.