ZK-BXG in National Airways Corporation/Air New Zealand Hybrid Livery (Peter Lewis Photo).
The Fokker F-27 Friendship is a 44 seat turboprop airliner which was designed in the Netherlands in the 1950's as a replacement for the ubiquitous Douglas DC-3. New Zealand's National Airways Corporation (NAC), and later Air New Zealand operated 16 of these aircraft from 1960 until 1990. Two of these aircraft remain in freight service in New Zealand with Airwork NZ.
F27-100 ZK-BXG (constructor's number 10189) was built in 1960, and entered service with NAC in 1961. The Friendship fleet operated between all New Zealand's regional airports, as well as to Norfolk Island. In 1978 NAC merged with Air New Zealand. ZK-BXG continued on with Air New Zealand until a landing incident in Gisborne in 1988 brought her career to an end. She was returned to Air New Zealand's Christchurch base, and was robbed of airworthy parts. She eventually found her way to Wigram aerodrome, where she languished, wingless and tailless for a number of years.
In 2005, local identity and aviation enthusiast Peter McQuarters acquired ZK-BXG and arranged to place her on display in Ashburton. Peter also tracked down her original wings, a set of tail planes and fin, and enough other parts to almost complete the restoration of the aircraft. By the 50th Anniversary of NAC in 2007 Peter and his team had the interior of the aircraft almost complete, and had repainted the exterior back to NAC colours.
In 2011 ZK-BXG was bought by the Aeronautical Society, and she was moved to the Park on 22 December 2011 by BTR Ltd.
The Society had hoped for some time to acquire a Friendship to display inside the hangar alongside Viscount ZK-BRF, and the cockpits of Bristol B.170 Freighter ZK-CRK and Lockheed L.188 Electra ZK-TEA. Space will not allow the entire aircraft to be displayed, so the intention is to display the bulk of the fuselage and the port wing.
In September 2015 BXG was dismantled and lifted into the Viscount hangar, while earthquake repairs to the building were being completed. The disassembly would not have been possible without the equipment and skills of BTR Ltd, and the lift into the hangar was carried out by the capable people at Whyte Construction . The Society is immensely grateful to both of these organisations for their generous assistance.
While BXG is now under cover, the tasks of corrosion control, reassembly and restoration are considerable. Any donations of money or parts to help complete this project would be gratefully received. Contact the Society via the contact page if you can help.