ZK-HIK at Thames in October 1980, fitted with agricultural spray equipment. (Peter Lewis Photo)

The Hiller Model 360 UH-12 is a three place light utility helicopter first flown in 1948, and one of the first helicopters to be produced in large numbers. It has been used extensively around the world both in military training and observation roles and also in civilian applications. The type has seen use in New Zealand for agricultural work, deer recovery and general utility flying. 

CF-MLL during Operation Ogilvie in 1961. Dave Burnett writes “This photo… shows Geological Survey of Canada geologist Dr. Jim Rodick ‘on the way up’ [to a drop off on a mountain precipice]. Younger crew members would laugh at how tight he appears to be hanging on. This procedure required particular attention to buttons and buckles because in extreme cases we would roll off cleanly without the machine touching ground. This method was not used often and it was strictly voluntary. One always had the choice of climbing up two or three thousand feet to start the day. We habitually practiced synchronized two man helicopter entry and exit even on flat ground but this technique was strictly one at a time.”

UH-12E ZK-HIK (constructor’s number 2063) began its service life operating for Canada’s Klondike Helicopters under the registration CF-MLL. In this role it was used on the geological surveys of the Yukon known as Operations Ogilvie and Porcupine in 1961-2. It was later shipped to New Zealand and registered as ZK-HEQ, later re-registered as ZK-HIK.

Wayne Van Der Laan of Te Awamutu established Helicopter Management Ltd in the late 1970s with HIK. The aircraft operated until it was retired in the early 1990s after which time it was stored until being donated to the Society in unrestored, “kit-set” form in the late 2000s. The helicopter is under restoration in the Society’s workshop with the assistance and technical advice of local engineer Gary Minnell of Helicopter Solutions.

The “kit-set”, early in the project. (Alex Liggett photo).

This helicopter is being restored to represent the Agricultural side of NZ aviation, with the eventual addition of spray gear.

Notable donors and supporters of this project are:

  • Wayne Van Der Laan, Helicopter Management Te Awamutu
  • Gary Minnell, Helicopter Solutions
  • Mark Latham, Rotor Brokers
  • Nigel Hope, BTR Ltd
  • Ian Gardiner & Nick Parker, Tait Electronics.
ZK-HIK restoration nearing completion. (Denys Jones photo)
A small reminder of -HIK’s earlier life in Canada on Operation Porcupine. (Alex Liggett photo)

Restoration of ZK-HIK in the Aeronautical Society workshops is ongoing. 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.