Thursday, 18 January 2018

Some changes at Auckland this month.


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

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

Both aircraft together on the 14th

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

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

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

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

So the Williams Mark 3 was conceived. 

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

Its first flight was on 22 May 1977.

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 15 January 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Sunday at Pauanui

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

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

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