Pacific Aerospace Fletcher 1060 / Fletcher 1160 / Fletcher 1284

fletcher1060
Fletcher 1060


The conversion of a standard Fletch-er to take a PT-6A-20 turbine of 500 shp was designed by Dennis Kemp of Air New Zealand for a James Aviation/Thames Aerial Topdressing/Robertson Air Service consortium. Development work began at Air NZ’s jet base at Mangere in 1966 and entailed considerable structural rede-sign of the Fletcher’s nose section, a 12-inch fuselage stretch, two feet increase in wingspan, strengthened wing and rear fuselage, including vertical fin, a redesigned hop-per - enabling it to take 24 cwt of super - and a dual main undercarriage. Technical substantiation was carried out by Air New Zealand and the model was type certificated by the CAA.

The 1060 was first flown in July 1967 and after 50 hours’ evaluation flying was put into operational service by James in the Gisborne area at the hands of Dennis Clarke.

The aircraft proved more than able to compete with Beavers in the steep east coast hill country once initial problems of ingestion of dirt, dust and grass were overcome by redesigning the cowling. The PT-6engine has provided only minor problems in operational flying, but the real problem involves spares backup. As the 1060 is a one-off type, maintaining it with an extensive spares inventory at Hamilton was too expensive, and all parts must come from the US, which lengthened overhauls considerably.

FU1060 ZK-CTZ s/n 1001 was first registered in July 1967, and was withdrawn from service and de-registered in December 1980. (Lou Forhecz in his book on the history of the FU24 states the aircraft had flown 5325 hours.)

The Fletcher FU24 has a unique type of vertical fin construction. It is made up of strips of vertical sections with integral edge-stiffeners. There is a substantial rear spar, which the whole fin structure effectively cantilevers off. The front fin attachment is a single pin-joint.

In the original FU24 fin design there was one internal rib. When the aircraft was first converted to turbine power as the FU1060, with increased speeds and operating weights (and hence design loads), the vertical fin had to be strengthened. This was done by fitting additional internal ribs and associated external straps. This fin design was carried over to the FU24-950, with some minor detail changes. (The top rib was deleted.) When the design was upgraded to the Cresco the same basic vertical fin was used. The fin was strengthened with the addition of a metal closing strip to the front vertical strip. In addition after static tests of the forward-biased case some doublers were added to the bottom rib.

A second version, the FU1160, was essentially the same as the FU1060 except a 530 shp Garrett TPE331 engine was fitted. FU1160 ZK-BHQ s/n 2001 (previously FU24 s/n 19) was converted to turbine power in May 1967. The aircraft crashed fatally on 13 August 1968 after 376 hours in service, possibly from a partial power loss due to fuel starvation. (See NZCAA Aircraft Accident Report No.1837)

The third was the FU1284, which installed a 665 shp Garrett TPE331 turbine engine. This aircraft had major changes from the standard FU24 airframe. However, the vertical fin was the same part number. (It is reported that after a failure during testing, some doublers were added to the fin front attachment bulkhead. This change was subsequently retrofitted to all FU24 aircraft.)

FU1284 ZK-CYY s/n 2002 with a TPE331-l0l was first registered in November 1969, flew at Auckland on April 16 1970, and was de-registered in March 1977.

No further examples were produced, because the Type Certificate holder at the time, Airparts (NZ) Ltd, decided to proceed with a new turbine aircraft development which eventually became the 08-600 Cresco.

1060
Engine: PT6A-20, 578 shp
Wing span: 44 ft
Type certificate: NZCAA A-5
Certificate issued: 6 Oct 2006
Vne: 167 kt
Va: 114 kt
MTOW std: 4860 lb
MTOW ag: 5430 lb

1160
Engine: TPE331-57A, 530 shp
MTOW std: 4860 lb
MTOW ag: 5430 lb
Wing span: 44 ft
Vne: 167 kt
Va: 114 kt
Type certificate: NZCAA A-6
Certificate issued: not issued

1284
Engine: TPE331-1-101L, 665 shp
Wing span: 44 ft
MTOW std: 5800 lb
MTOW ag: 6500 lb
AUW with cargo door : 6,500 lbs
Vne: 181 kt
Va: 122 kt
Type certificate: NZCAA A-9
Certificate issued: 10 Jun 71