Franz Josef Airfield 1938
Print Code: 1780
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Art PrintPrint size in millimetres: 320 x 450 - handnumbered edition of 50 prints.
An Airtravel (NZ) Ltd de Havilland D.H. 83 Fox Moth ZK-ADI plane at Franz Josef Airfield in 1938. The 1930's de Havilland DH 83 Fox Moth was a biplane created in response to the depression era need for cheap and simple aircraft able to transport people and freight over short distances. The Fox Moth was a development of the de Havilland DH 82a Tiger Moth, and was developed from the standard Tiger Moth wings, tail, undercarriage and engine mountings. The enclosed cabin could accommodate four passengers on a short journey and three for up to 360 miles. Versions were made as landplanes and float fitted seaplanes, from a total production of 98 aircraft.
The Fox Moth was operated principally in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. In New Zealand this aeroplane occupies a unique place in our aviation history being utilised by New Zealand's first licensed airline - with the inagural flight on December 18 1934. Air Travel (NZ) Ltd had been established to provide aerial service in New Zealand's rugged South Westland. Based in Hokitika the genesis for the company was the purchase of the Canterbury Aero Club's new Fox Moth in March 1934. Its qualities and commercial possibilities inspired Bert Mercer one of the pilots who had been operating scenic flights to the magnificent scenery of the Westland region to order a new Fox Moth from the de Havilland agents in Auckland. The company that would become Air Travel (NZ) Ltd, was registered on May 1, 1934 and the aircraft, ZK ADI, would become that airline's first aircraft. Fox Moth's would be a familiar part of Westland aviation until the mid 1950's.
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