VQ-FAJ  Aeronca 100                         (c/n  AB.105)


                                         I am indebted to Nick Lindsley for this rare shot taken by his father, Fred, in Fiji circa 1953.
                                         (Fred was Chief Engineer for Fiji Airways at the time).  This Aeronca had been exported from
                                         Australia in 1949 where it had lived for the prior decade as VH-UXV.    The diminutive craft
                                         was owned by Tom Sanders who worked with New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority, and
                                         was an air traffic controller based in Fiji.  In those days New Zealand took responsibility for the
                                         colony's aircraft control.    Originally Tom was to have registered the aircraft in New Zealand
                                         (as ZK-AYW).   Early in 2012 I had a communication from Laurie Sanders, Tom Sanders'
                                         nephew, relative to the fate of  this aircraft.      It appeared that his uncle Tom had evidently
                                         fitted the wrong pitch propeller to the Aeronca and it could not gain enough height to get over
                                         the hills from Nandi to Suva (or the other way around).    The result was that it was crashed
                                         landed, tail first - a relatively gentle crash, although one that did, in fact, virtually write the aircraft
                                         off.      Further flood damage sustained in Nandi did not help the situation.    Eventually it was
                                         purchased by Kip Netherclift in New Zealand, and following storage at Wellington and a lengthy
                                         rebuild the rare old bird is now flying again.   Since New Zealand rarely re-issues registrations
                                         (besides which VH-AYW had been used by a Tiger Moth), it was given the 'period' registration
                                         ZK-AMW.  The ZK-AMx series were originally allocated to TEAL's flying boats, and the last
                                         one issued in regular series was VH-AMQ, a Solent.  VH-AMR thru -AMZ remained unallocated
                                         for decades.   The color shot below is from the Laurie Sanders collection and shows the original
                                         red and silver scheme as carried by VQ-FAJ.  The image at the foot of the page, from owner Kip
                                         Netherclift's collection, shows the aircraft as it is today, based at Hastings.  .