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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 62328
Last updated: 27 November 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic DH83 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland DH.83C Fox Moth
Owner/operator:W (Bill ) Paterson
Registration: ZK-AQB
MSN: FM.49
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:off Motiti Island -   New Zealand
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Motiti Island
Destination airport:Mt Maunganui
ZK-AQB registered 25.11.47 to Auckland Aero Club; delivered 13.10.47. Registered 17.12.55 to Tauranga Aero Club. Registered 17.4.59 to J Paterson, Motiti Is. Registered 1.1.61 to W Paterson, Motiti Is. Crashed 28.6.1972. Per eyewitness report:

"Crash Occurred in the water approx 4 to 500 metres offshore. Pilot W (Bill) Patterson , then owner of approx the western half of the Island from Panaturi Point to Huruhi P.

Passenger, Ian McDonald (That's me) crash occurred on Ian’s 25th birthday. Bill was picking him up from the Island to return to Mt Maunganui for his birthday celebration. Also a “passenger” was Ian’s 2year old Labrador dog.

We ditched approx half a mile offshore (with a moderate E.S.E. wind), which washed the wreckage up on Taumaihi Is, known locally as the “Knoll” during the night. Bill was still under medical observation, so Tauranga Aero club flew me out the next morning, plus the photographer who took pic's, and I enlisted the help of the Ranapia boys from the northern end of the island, and launched the jet boat and went and retrieved the engine which had just been overhauled. We cut off a wing to put the engine on, then carried it across the rocky spit to the sheltered NW side, plonked it on the boat, & then waited until the tide came in enough to float the boat. We took it up to the cattle loading bay and put it onto a local cray boat to be delivered to Tauranga. Andersen’s transport then took it to Ardmore for inspection.

On the Island, I’d had a shouting match with the CA accident inspector who arrived out of the blue & told me I needed permission to remove the motor. I said Bill had asked me to do so and when he got a bit stroppy, the Maori boys asked him if he wanted to “swim” back to Tauranga. They ( the Ranapia family), were fiercely loyal to Bill as he’d fly them on & off, if he had room, and we used the cattle barge also for much of their equipment and bulk supplies. Their Elderly Kaumatua, Hawiki Ranapia had also taught Bill to speak Maori. As an aside, when Bill first got AQB, old Hawiki used to make him take off and do a circuit of the island before he would get into it to go to town.

The wreckage was eventually purchased by a Miles (or Myles) Robertson who was restoring it in a hangar somewhere near Dairy Flat, and I sent him all the photos I had, which he was to return. Sadly he died suddenly a short time later and I have been unable to discover the whereabouts of those photos. The small local Taurange newspaper, whose photographer took the photos also went under a year or so later ( I think), so the old newsclipping is my only record of my disastrous 25th birthday. Maybe someone out there knows where the photos are. I last saw AQB pretty much completely restored at the Croydon Aircraft Company in Southland about ten yrs ago - anyone know where it is now??"

Sold 15.10.76 to Myles P Robertson, Dairy Flats, Auckland; still under rebuild 1986. Registration cancelled 20.5.91. On rebuild 1996 by Croydon Aircraft Co, Mandeville for John Eaton. Pictured below 22.3.12 still on rebuild



motiti Island. June 29th 1972

Revision history:

22-May-2009 12:58 XLerate Added
15-Jul-2012 00:45 Ian McDonald Updated [Time, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Narrative]
15-Jul-2012 01:29 harro Updated [Location, Phase, Nature, Destination airport, Damage]
19-Mar-2013 00:24 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Nature, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
19-Mar-2013 00:26 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
23-Jan-2014 10:37 TB Updated [Embed code]
31-Oct-2018 19:38 angels one five Updated [Nature]

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