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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 64543
Last updated: 25 November 2021
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Date:28-OCT-1948
Time:day
Type:Percival P.28 Proctor Mk 1
Owner/operator:Southern Scenic Air Services
Registration: ZK-AJY
MSN: H.1
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Big Bay, Fiordland -   New Zealand
Phase: En route
Nature:Cargo
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
Narrative:
The next Proctor imported by Clark was R7485 c/n H.1. This had been civilianized post-war as a Proctor 1 by Field Consolidated Aircraft Services and became G-AHMU on 9 May 1946.

This aircraft is significant, as it was the first Proctor to be built by F. Hills and Sons Limited. The firm was founded in 1849 in Manchester, and since that time had developed into a substantial business engaged in timber processing and wooden construction. They had dabbled in the aircraft business prewar, building the Praga E.114 under license as the Hillson Praga, and later built a total of 882 Proctors during the period 1941 to 1945. They were also involved in the slip-wing Hurricane experiments. Proctor 1 R7485 was the first in a batch of 50, 25 being Proctor Is and the balance Proctor IIIs.

This Proctor was assembled at Mangere and registered as ZK-AJY to L E Clark on 1 July 1946 with the British registration being cancelled the following day. It was soon sold to C W Hewett of Gore, the ownership change being noted on 3 Sep 1946.

Bill Hewett set himself up with ZK-AJY at Queenstown and offered charter and scenic trips into Fiordland and Westland as Southern Scenic Air Taxis from April 1947. He named his Proctor “The Merry Widow”, which may refer to either an opera or a movie. That relevance either of these productions to a Queenstown-based charter aircraft is unclear.

Despite a number of operational problems and incidents, Hewett could see the potential for this type of air work in the Queenstown area, and soon teamed up with F J (Popeye) Lucas, who owned Auster Autocrat ZK-APO, and they traded as Southern Scenic Air Trips - the forerunner of the well-known company Southern Scenic Air services Ltd.

While engaged on a whitebait freighting flight, ZK-AJY was caught by the incoming tide at Big Bay, Fiordland, 15 miles north of Milford Sound and 200 miles south of Hokitika, on 28 Oct 1948. Forced to use the soft sand higher up the beach, the Proctor, flown by Bill Hewett, hit driftwood and smashed the propeller when it nosed over.

Efforts to repair the damage and fly the aircraft out were then constantly frustrated by inaccessibility of the site and lack of communication capability. Unable to escape, the airframe was damaged beyond repair by the surf and the weather over the following months. Eventually, five months later, anything recoverable was shipped out by the launch Alert.

Sources:

1. http://archway.archives.govt.nz/ViewEntity.do?code=7333
2. https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-AMHU.pdf
3. https://www.key.aero/comment/1715190#comment-1715190
4. http://www.flydw.org.uk/DWZKAIQ.htm
5. https://natlib.govt.nz/records/30664385


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
22-May-2009 12:58 XLerate Added
26-Jun-2009 18:19 angels one five Updated
13-Jan-2014 11:04 TB Updated [Aircraft type, Cn, Other fatalities, Location]
12-Jul-2019 15:54 A.J.Scholten Updated [Source]
16-Dec-2019 23:18 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Phase, Nature, Source, Narrative]
21-Sep-2021 23:58 Ron Averes Updated [Location]

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