Topdressers at MOTAT

Another group of aircraft on display at MOTAT were a selection of topdressing aircraft from the halcyon days of New Zealand aerial topdressing. These are all original aircraft as registered. In date order they were as follows:

Commonwealth CA 28 Ceres ZK-BPU was displayed in the colours of James Aviation which would be late on in its life. I remember this aircraft being operated by Aerial Farming (NZ) Ltd of Palmerston North, which was later taken over by James Aviation Ltd. The Ceres was developed by the Commonwealth Aircraft Company in Australia and was converted from the Wirraway trainer. ZK-BPU was ex VH-CED and was first registered in New Zealand in December 1959, and it was one of several Ceres aircraft to operate around the central North Island in the 1960's (another story...). It crashed in February 1970 and was cancelled 3 months later. The outer wings are in storage at MOTAT.

Cessna C 188 Agwagon ZK-COO was displayed in the colours of Phoenix Aviation of Gore. It was the second Agwagon to be registered in New Zealand, and was one of a large number of Agwagon's to be imported by Rural Aviation in 1966/67 (34 of them?), and they were nearly all painted in a similar colour scheme to the above but with red and black stripes. ZK-COO was first registered in February 1966 and was withdrawn from use at Ardmore in 1977 and was cancelled in July 1978.

Fletcher FU 24 1060 ZK-CTZ is a very significant aircraft for New Zealand as it was the first turbine Fletcher to be built. It was powered by a 500 HP Pratt and Whitney PT 6 turbine engine. (There was a rival turbine Fletcher developed by Robertson Air Services ZK-BHQ which was a Fletcher FU 24 1160 powered by a 530 HP Garrett TPE 331 turbine - but that is another story....) ZK-CTZ was first registered in July 1967 and was always operated by James Aviation I think. It was withdrawn from use at Hamilton in August 1979, and it was cancelled in January 1981. It spent some time as a gate guardian at Hamilton Airport before being rescued and was purchased by MOTAT in 2005.

And finally Transavia PL 12 Airtruk ZK-CVB was displayed in the colours of Barr Bro(ther)s Ltd. The PL 12 Airtruk was built by the Transavia Corporation in Australia, and was a development of the earlier Bennet PL 11 Airtruck of which 2 were built in New Zealand in the 1950's and 60's. Both were designed by Luigi Pellarini. Barr Bros were the agents for the Airtruk and they imported quite a few in the 1960's, 70's and 80's. ZK-CVB was first registered in New Zealand in August 1967 and after operating for Barr Bros for all of its life it was withdrawn from use at Ardmore in March 1982, and it was cancelled in January 1991.


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