FU-24 was originally a John Thorp creation, designed for the Fletcher
Corp specifically as an
agricultural aircraft. The above machine is the prototype and
out of the old Rosemead Airport
in the San Gabriel Valley district of Los Angeles (just off the
San Bernardino Freeway, where the local
US Government offices now are) in June of 1954.
It carried the US registration N6505C
and became ZK-BDS upon arrival in New Zealand.
It is the
only one which had an open cockpit. Eleven complete
aircraft were subsequently
shipped to New Zealand and this
was followed by some 100 kits delivered to the Cable-Price
Corporation for assembly in
Hamilton. This concern eventually purchased the manufacturing
rights for the design and became,
after several name changes, Pacific Aerospace Corporation.
ZK-BDS was still flying into the new millenium although successive
rebuilds had ensured that
very little of the original
airframe remained. Sadly, and just short of its fiftieth
a record for agricultural aircraft?)
the machine struck a hillside on 20 Sept 2003 whilst
attempting to turn back to
Whakatane after encountering low ceiling on a positioning flight
for Super Air Ltd. The
two occupants, although badly injured, survived. This aircraft is
historic that I understand attempts may
be made to salvage the remains and restore it.