Corby Starlets of New Zealand (1)

The Corby Starlet was designed in 1959 by Australian aeronautical engineer John Corby with inspiration from the Cosmic Wind for classic appearance. The prototype first flew in August 1966. The Starlet is relatively short coupled and handling is described as "responsive and lively". It was a classy looking aircraft compared with other homebuilts of the day such as Turbulents or Volksplanes. It has also proved to be a successful aircraft in New Zealand with all completed 7 Starlets still current.

The photos are from the Keith Morris collection.

New Zealand's first Corby Starlet was ZK-DEO (c/n AACA/110/1) which was built by John Buchanan at Waitoa near Morrinsville. It was first registered on 13/2/74 and its first flight was on 19/4/74. The above photo shows John with ZK-DEO in March 1974, at his home airstrip. John made a wonderful job of the aircraft, in particular with the excellent cowlings and canopy, which have been used by nearly all other New Zealand Starlets and also on a lot of other single seat homebuilts such as Turbulents, Jodel D 9's and most recently on a VP 1.
It is shown here at the 1981 AACA flyin at Mount Hutt. Thanks to Blue Bus for the photo. John sold ZK-DEO to Robert Trewavas of Whangarei in 6/84 and it went on to Peter Whelan of Auckland in 10/86.
It was then sold to Lloyd Morris, also of Auckland in 6/98 who refurbished the aircraft and painted in the reverse white and red colour scheme as seen here at Te Kowhai in December 2003. It is still current and has been owned by David Riddell of Nelson since 5/08.
ZK-EEZ (c/n AACA/130/1) was our second Starlet, and was built by Cyril Cawthorne at Timaru. It was first registered on 27/11/75 but was completed in 7/77. Cyril sold ZK-EEZ to Robert Guard of Blenhiem in 3/80 and it has since been owned by a succession of owners in the South Island. It was redesignated as a Class 1 microlight on 15/1/03, and is currently owned by Terry Salmon of Christchurch. It was photo'd above by Blue Bus at the 1981 AACA flyin at Mount Hutt, and it still looks the same today.
Our third Starlet was Don Wilkinson's ZK-TOY (c/n AACA/679), which was first registered on 30/3/82. Don bought a partly built project and completed it in rapid time. It is surely our most travelled Starlet and Don has flown it all over New Zealand. Don is a past president of the AACA and also was a prime (earth)mover in the development of Pikes Point airfield on the shores of the Manakau Harbour (sadly the airfield is no more). The above photo shows ZK-TOY at the 1983 AACA flyin at Paraparaumu.
Don still owns ZK-DEO through the Corby Toy Syndicate and it is based at North Shore Airfield. It has been refurbished and redesignated as a Class 1 microlight, but is still in the same basic colour scheme, as seen here in the dappled light of the 2010 Black Sands flyin.
And our fourth Starlet, and last in this group, is ZK-JAM (c/n AACA/774) which was built by Gary Montague at Dunedin. It was first registered on 12/2/87. It is photo'd here at the 1988 AACA flyin at North Shore.
This photo shows Gary about to go flying without the canopy. The Starlet can be flown without a canopy, but this is the only time I have seen one in action sans canopy. Gary sold ZK-JAM in 9/93 and it has had owners in Papakura, Waiuku, Hokitika and Westport. It was redesignated as a Class 1 microlight on 7/5/02, and is currently owned by Robert Baker of Palmerston. It has also not changed much at all over the years, as can be seen in the photo taken at the 2009 SAANZ flyin at Ashburton at:


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