Sunday, 30 April 2017

Packs of Yaks, Nanchangs and Harvards at Classic Fighters

There were impressive numbers of Yak 52s, Nanchangs and Harvards at Classic Fighters.  They were mostly parked in a large triangle with the Yaks parallel to Runway 12.

There were nine Yak 52s in this line up (out of the 20 that are registered in New Zealand).  They were ZK-KGB2, ZK-YKA, ZK-XXS, ZK-YAQ3, ZK-YAK2, ZK-PTE2, ZK-KEV2, ZK-ZAH and ZK-YAC2.  The first eight aircraft flew in the Yak 52 formation aerobatic team display.

There were seven Nanchangs in this line up (out of the 9 that are registered here).  They were ZK-CHG2, ZK-FRU2, ZK-CVI2, ZK-OII, ZK-KWI3 ZK-JQS and ZK-STP.  There was one other Nanchang on the field being the newly restored ZK-WOK that was marked as such although it is not yet re-registered.

And here are the five Harvards that made up the NZ Warbirds Roaring 40s aerobatic team (out of the 16 Harvards that we have registered here).  These five were NZ1053/ZK-JJA, NZ1078/ZK-ENG, NZ1052/ZKMJN, "92"/ZK-WAR and NZ1065/ZK-ENF.  There were three additional Harvards on the field being NZ1076/ZK-ENB, the ex SAAF ZK-XSA and the RNZAF Historical Flight's NZ1015 which was registered as ZK-RNZ2 on 11/7/16.  This aircraft is now painted up in the green and brown camouflage scheme that it first wore when it was delivered to the RNZAF in 1943.


A Couple of Sopwiths at Classic Fighters

A feature of Classic Fighters was the re-enactments of battle-scenes including period aircraft, and this bought two of The Vintage Aviator's Sopwith's out to fly for the WW 1 re-enactment:

I am always amazed at how the Sopwith Camel replica ZK-JMU leaps off the ground with its 160 HP Gnome rotary.  This is a more powerful engine than the 130 HP Clerget 9B or the 150 HP Bentley BR1 rotaries that powered the original Camels.

Gene de Marco continues his steep climb out.

While Kermit Weeks climbs out in a more sedate manner in the Sopwith Snipe 7F-1 reproduction ZK-SBY.

Even though it is powered by a more powerful 230 HP Bentley BR2 rotary engine.


This last photo of the Snipe flying away from my camera may be prophetic as I understand that the Snipe may be leaving New Zealand soon.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

A Couple of Other Nieuports at Classic Fighters

As well as the Nieuport 16 ZK-XVI2 that I have previously posted about, there were a couple of other Nieuports on the field at Classic Fighters - both Nieuport 11 Bebe replicas:

The Vintage Aviator's Nieuport 11 ZK-NIM took part in the flying display.  It is powered by an original 80 HP Le Rhone rotary engine.

Classic Aircraft Sales' Nieuport 11 ZK-NII was on static display alongside ZK-XVI2.  It is powered by a 110 HP Rotec R2800 radial engine.

This aircraft has had many variations in colour schemes since it was first registered here on 23/11/11.  I understand that the current colour scheme is of the aircraft flown by Major Roderic Dallas of the RNAS who was Australia's second highest scoring WW 1 ace, but I am not sure of this as the aircraft does not have a number on its rudder, only the letter N.  What is clear is that this aircraft represents one of the batch of 50 Nieuport 11s that were built by the Nieuport factory in France and delivered to the RNAS in 1916.  The factory marked them with French roundels on the wings only and later the RNAS added the fuselage roundel which was of the opposite colours to the French roundels.  You can see this more clearly in the above photo (click to enlarge).

North Shore on 27-4-2017

I hadn't been up to North Shore airfield for quite a while as I have been away at the RAANZ flyin and Classic Fighters.  However I did make it up there this week and found a few interesting aircraft:

Piper PA 18-150 Super Cub ZK-CIA3 (c/n 18-5948) was registered to Munro Investments Ltd of Auckland on 3/3/17.  It is ex N7769D and it was imported with a pair of floats, which it will be fitted with in due course.

 Taildragger Cessna A152 Aerobat ZK-MDO was doing circuits and wheeler landings.

Another aircraft that has not been posted on this blog before is Piper PA 32R-301T Turbo Saratoga ZK-VQM (c/n 32R-8129070) which is registered to a Wellsford address.  A nice machine, it was previously VH-AQM.


The Fly Synthesis Texan Top Class ZK-TXS has been repaired after its nosewheel problem and headed off for points North in the late afternoon sun.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Nieuport 16 Replica ZK-XVI

Registered yesterday 27/4/17 to the AHC XVI Syndicate of Blenhiem was the Nieuport 16 replica ZK-XVI2 (c/n AHC 01).  The aircraft was on display at Classic Fighters 2017.

The aircraft is a full size Nieuport 16 replica but the engine is a modern Rotec R2800 radial of 110 HP.  It was originally started by Frank Luft of White Springs in Oregon, USA in 1974 and the partly built project came to New Zealand some years ago.

It is painted in Imperial Russian Air Force colours representing the aircraft of VM Pokrovsky in August 1917, which can be seen to be much more esoteric than the plain English aircraft of the time and even more exotic then the Germans!  The Imperial Russian Air services must have had some talented aircraft painters as the image on the starboard  side is of the Sleeping Venus by the Italian painter Gorgione da Castel Franco, while the image on the port side is of Mermaid to carry it into battle and back. (Click on the photos to enlarge them and get a bigger picture of the artwork).  It carries the number N 4187 on the rudder.

And the other striking feature of the aircraft is that it is equipped with 8 replica Le Prieur rockets, the originals of which were incendiary rockets made from cardboard tubes with spear points. These were fired at observation balloons or airships while the aircraft was in a 45 degree dive.  The effective range was only around 100 metres.  Aircraft fitted with Le Prieur rockets did bring down several observation balloons but never a Zeppelin. I don't know if it is planned to fly ZK-XVI2 with the Le Prieur rockets in place.