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 24 of these aircraft from 1960 until 1990, comprised of 13 F27-100 models and 11 F27-500 models. Two of these aircraft were operated up until as recently as 2016 by 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 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.
Due to changing circumstances, in 2011 ZK-BXG needed a new home, and was facing being reduced to a cockpit section when she was bought by the Aeronautical Society. She was moved to the Ferrymead Heritage Park on 22 December 2011 by BTR Ltd.
The Society did not have the space to house another large aircraft, and it was clearly urgent to get the rapidly deteriorating ZK-BXG under cover. The decision was therefore taken to remove the aft fuselage and starboard wing. The aircraft was moved inside in September 2015 and is currently on display alongside Viscount ZK-BRF, and the cockpit of Bristol B.170 Freighter ZK-CRK.
Restoration, corrosion control, and maintenance of ZK-BXG is active, with regular updates posted to the Wings over New Zealand forum. Any donations of money or parts to help complete this project would be gratefully received. Please contact the Society via the contact page if you can help.