THE Fletcher FU24, perhaps the best cost-effective agricultural aircraft in production today, was originally designed by John Thorp in California against specifications drawn up in the ealry 1950's by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Department. Pioneer aerial topdressing advocate, E.A. Gibson, remarked at the time that although the FU24 conformed to New Zealand requirements as regards to size, payload, and performance it did utilise an all-metal construction and tricycle undercarriage, which were features unfamiliar to operators at the time. However, extensive trials and some 22 years' of service with numerous operators have shown the soundness of the FU24 design concept.
Cris George recently retired from the RNZN after having served as an officer for the past 12 years, the last seven of them as a naval helicopter pilot. He has served as flight commander on both HMNZS Waikato and Canterbury flying the Wasp, and with 845 and 846 Commando Squadrons of the Royal Navy, flying Wessex 5s. Dick London is NCO i/c the Wasp Ashore Flight of No. 3 Sqn and has previously served two tours with the Wasp Flight on board HMNZS Canterbury.
THERE are not too many aviation companies still in business in New Zealand which can claim to have been in on the ground floor of commercial aviation in this country. One such concern is the Christchurch-based Airwork (NZ) Ltd. which has emerged out of a greatly diversified past into a very soundly based present.