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Article Reprint: West Coast Times (New Zealand)

Eyes set firmly on the Hokitika sky

  • Reprinted from West Coast Times, Hokitika, New Zealand
    Cover Story, January 23, 1998
STOL CH 701
Norman Bishop stands proudly beside the plane he built with his own hands.  He and his handy partner, Keith Ross, plan to take the microlight on its first flight today over Hokitika.

A French-Canadian design and Kiwi ingenuity have forged a unique alliance and will take to the skies together over Hokitika.
The partnership is not a military exercise or sporting match up but a sprinkling of the best of the two aviation nations talents.
Two Hokitika retired plane enthusiasts, Norman Bishop and Keith Ross, have built a kit set micro-light from a Canadian bush plane design.
The plane has been under construction since last August and will fly its first official flight today after a Civil Aviation Inspection.
The 80 horse-power four cylinder four stroke powered plane is a purpose built recreational project for the two men.
The model has proved to be very reliable in the past as was illustrated in a double trans Tasman crossing by a similar plane last year.
The all-aluminium micro-light plane is bigger than some certified planes and the relative size of the craft will enable it to take off in a short distance and to land in all types of terrain.
Mr Bishop, who has several thousand hours of flying time under his belt, plans to test out the landing capabilities of the plane in paddocks and the beach and should provid a few interesting sights around Hokitika.
Its big wheels and light structure means it could take two people comfortable into the back blocks which is a proposition which has caused considerable interest in the model according to Mr Bishop.
A number of people have been monitoring the progress of the project which the two men built in a shed at Seaview Hospital and Mr Bishop said if the plane performs to all expectations similar models could be coming to town.
The plane came in what is called a 49 percent kit. The general construction of the plane is all ready completed on order but the majority of the work is still to be done.
Both men did all the red and white paint work and called on all their past skill to construct the body and wings of the craft.
The name of the craft has some historical links with the West Coast after an early pioneering plane called "Flaming Arrow".
Mr Bishop said the plane is a bit slower than an arrow but its feather weight and power make it incredibly economical to run and should be a good plane for Mr Ross to learn to fly and earn his wings in.

Reprinted from West Coast Times, Hokitika, New Zealand. Cover Story, January 23, 1998.
West Coast Times, 1998.


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NOTE: This article represents the viewpoints of the author, and not necessarily those of Zenith Aircraft Company.

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