ZK-ADR  de Havilland D.H.84 Dragon II                 (c/n   6090)


                                   The Dragon was not nearly as popular (nor as numerous) in New Zealand as it was in
                                   Australia.  Here are the two Dragons acquired by East Coast Airways in 1935 together
                                   at their Gisborne base. It appears as if ZK-ADR was re-registered ZK-AER at the end of
                                   1937.   Just why this was so I am not sure and, if that did happen, what became of the
                                   D.H.60X Moth which was formerly ZK-AER?  Anyway, these Rapides were absorbed
                                   into the Union Airways fleet when that organization acquired East Coast in 1938.   ZK-ADR
                                   was impressed into the RNZAF as NZ551 and, having been  rebuilt in 1946 it re-emerged
                                   as ZK-AHT.   It crashed on Mount Hope, Nelson on 30 June 1944, killing airline founder
                                   Bert Mercer who was a passenger. The aircraft was flying low over the Hope Saddle and the
                                   pilot lost control in a violent updraught. The aircraft stalled and dived into the forest below,
                                   splitting open the fuselage when it hit. Apart from Mercer, one other passenger died and the
                                   remaining 5 on board were all injured.