de Havilland 89
Dragon Rapide/Dominie "Tui"
A twin-engine bi-plane capable of carrying 8 passengers, which is manufactured
from spruce and plywood covered with doped fabric. This is a very strong and stable structure
with excellent pilot and passenger visibility. Built in 1943 AKY was operated by the RNZAF (Royal New Zealand Air Force)
for communications and navigation training duties.
In early 1946 AKY was flown by Union Airways until amalgamation meant that the Government controlled
NAC (National Airways Corp 1947-1978) was formed. AKY was used mainly on provincial routes until 1961.
It was then purchased by Ritchie's Air Services of Te Anau and flown mainly into Milford Sound as well as
dropping trips into Fiordland. Later Ritchie's merged with other airlines to create Mt Cook Group and AKY was then
based in Queenstown doing flights to Milford, Dunedin and additional charter trips for whitebaiters,
Forest Service, Land and Survey etc.
Sold in 1978 to Tom Williams meant the start of a period of restoration. "Tui" emerged in 1986 redone in NAC livery
which it has retained since.
Owned by Croydon Aviation Heritage Trust since 2006 "Tui" is available for charter flights.
A further DH89 is under restoration here at Mandeville and currently stored in the Museum, it enables the underlying structural details to be seen.