Monday, 29 May 2017

Best Off and Aeros Ukraine Skyrangers of New Zealand

The next type of sport aircraft to appear on the New Zealand register was the Best Off Skyranger, in November 2003.

The original Skyranger was designed by Philippe Prevot and was manufactured as a kit by his company, Best Off Aircraft of Tolouse.  The prototype Skyranger first flew in 1990 and the aircraft has been developed over the years from the V Max to the Swift and more recently the Nynja (of which we haven't yet had an example in New Zealand).  The aircraft is of standard tube and fabric construction with the standard engine today being the Rotax 912, but a large variety of engines have been installed, several types within our seven examples to date.  The aircraft was licensed for construction in Brazil, the UK, France and in the Ukraine, and around 1500 examples have flown around the world.

The Skyranger is 5.50 metres (18 feet) long.  The wingspan is 9.50 metres (31 feet 2 inches) and the wing area is 152 square feet.  Empty weight is around 250 Kg (551 pounds) and MAUW is around 540 Kg (1190 pounds) depending on the model.  With a Rotax 912 the cruise speed is around 150 km/hr (80 knots) and the stall speed is around 35 knots with flaps down.

ZK-MAI3 (c/n SKR 0308388) was our first Skyranger V Max.  It was built by Graeme Main of Christchurch and was first registered to him on 27/11/03.  It was sold to Stephen Duncan of Christchurch on 12/3/13 and then to Michael Dimmock of Amberly on 2/4/16. It is photo'd above, being piloted by Michael Dimmock at the RAANZ flyin at Rangiora on 1/4/17.

Also out of Christchurch was ZK-SKV (c/n SKR 0308387) a V Max which was built by Wayne Wilson and was registered to him on 28/11/03, one day after ZK-MAI.  It is powered by a 92 HP Simononi liquid cooled engine which drives a 3 bladed Ivoprop.  It was sold to the SKV Syndicate of Rotorua on 17/12/05 under whose ownership it is photo'd above at the Black Sands flyin in 2012.   On 24/11/13 it was sold to JD and GE Menzie of Waihi and then after a short time on 25/4/14 to Richard T Armstrong of Timaru.

ZK-SKE, another V Max (c/n 6511670) was built by Robert J Dryfhout and was first registered to him at Whangarei on 9/1/07.  It is photo'd above at Whangarei.  On 21/4/08 it was sold to the Lusby Family Trust of Tauranga.

Canterbury was a hotbed of Skyranger construction and our fourth Skyranger and first Aeros Ukraine Swift model  ZK-SKS (c/n 816) was built by Mike Kindon at Rangiora and was first registered to him on 18/7/08.  It was originally powered by a 92 HP Simononi engine with a 3 bladed Ivoprop as in the above photo but was re-powered with a Rotax 582 in June 2011.

On 21/2/13 it was sold to Robert J Laskey of Palmerston North and on 23/6/14 it was sold to Arthur J Suttie of Mangakino.  It is photo'd above at Feilding on 21/12/13.

And another one out of Christchurch was Wayne Nesmith's second Skyranger, an Aeros Ukraine Swift model ZK-SRS (c/n 816), that was registered on 8/8/08.  It is powered by an 80 HP Aerovee engine.  It is still Rangiora based, where the above photo was taken at the 2017 RAANZ flyin.

The Skyranger can also be built as a taildragger as in Michael J (Scooter) Morris's ZK-SCT (c/n 796) which is a Best Off Swift model that was first registered to him at Wanaka on 5/3/10.  It is powered by a Rotax 912 and is named "Miss Swift".  It is photo'd above at Wanaka on 14/1/11.

Paul Brydon of Hamilton built his Best Off Skranger Swift ZK-JAY3 (c/n 1007-1012) and registered it on 1/12/11.  It is photo'd above at Te Kowhai on 8/11/14.  On 22/9/16 it was sold to Hamish Pulley of Kaiapoi and it is now based at Rangiora.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Farewell to Michael Dimmock

On Monday the 22nd May we said farewell to Michael Dimmock after his passing on the 17th.
A small fly over was carried out by three aircraft from the Canterbury Recreational Aircraft Club.
Photo below shows the three aircraft heading off after their fly over with a high flying 'fast mover' also taking part in the top left of the shot.
Michael was the proud owner of the Skyranger ZK-MAI2  which lead the formation.

Three helicopters.

Three recent fling wing sightings.
The Way To Go Heli Services Ltd's Eurocopter AS 350 B2 ZK-IEP (c/n 2844) now with the Company logo applied departs Northward from Rangiora on 05-05-2017
 At Rangiora on the 22nd I caught up with the Robinson R44 Raven II ZK-HWP4 (c/n 11016) of SCN Helicopters Ltd of Porirua.
Today I captured Christchurch Helicopters 2001 Ltd's recent acquisition - Aerospatiale AS 350 B2 ZK-HND(c/n 2073) with its new Company signage.
See HERE. for an earlier post on this airframe.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017


The NAC reunion at Classic Flyers in Tauranga attracted a number of interesting vintage aircraft including locally based DH89B Dominie ZK-AKU, which unfortunately due to maintenance issues couldnt offer the intended scenic flights,  and from the same hangar Tiger Moth ZK-BSN.  The immaculate non flying Heron ZK-BBM in full NAC colours gave an insight to a long gone era.    Attendees were able to take scenic flights in Air Chathams DC3 ZK-AWP.

Elsewhere on the field were visiting Opotiki Helicopters' Hughes 369HS ZK-HGS and local Tauranga Helicopter Training Guimbal Cabri ZK-IIF.

Spezio DAL-1 Tuholer(s) of New Zealand

The Spezio Tuholer was designed by Tony Spezio in the US and the prototype first flew on May 2nd 1961.  It is of standard construction for its time - welded steel tube fuselage, with wooden wings spars and ribs, all fabric covered.  A folding wing can be incorporated for towing.  Apparently the prototype was constructed for US$287 which gives a glimpse of what homebuilding was like back then - built at home from what could be sourced as cheaply as possible.  Another era!

The Tuholer is 18 feet 3 inches (5.56 metres) long with a wingspan of 24 feet (7.3 metres).  It looks bigger that that.  Empty weight is around 820 pounds (371 Kg) and MAUW is 1,500 pounds (680 Kg).  The engine is typically a Lycoming 125 HP which gives a cruise speed of around 100 knots, and the stall speed is reported as 39 knots.

We have had one Spezio Tuholer in New Zealand and there are reports of another dismantled at Omaka.

The aircraft was constructed by Plez T Nall of Ardmore, Oklahoma and was first registered as N7515 in 1967.  After 4 subsequent owners in Texas and California, its US registration was cancelled on 3/4/02.

Andrew Fairfax of Queenstown imported the aircraft into New Zealand and it was assembled at Taieri in October 2002.  It was registered to him as ZK-JRZ (c/n 227) on 15/9/03.  It has flown in New Zealand.  It is photo'd above at Rangitata Island on 11/1/12 while it was there for maintenance.  Russell Brodie told me that ZK-JRZ was flown in and out of Rangitata Island.  I am not sure where the aircraft is currently based but it could be at Otaki, as it is currently registered to Andrew Fairfax at Plimmerton, near Wellington.