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NZ Aerospace Industries

In the late 1950s several FU-24 operators; James Aviation, Thames Aerial Topdressing and Robertson's Air Services, formed Air Parts (NZ) Ltd at Hamilton Airport to provide aftermarket sales and service to FU-24 operators. Also in the mid 1950s Aero Engine Services Ltd (AESL) was formed to provide Engine and component overhaul facilities in support of the FU-24 program.

These businesses continued on until the 1960s when things began to change for the both of them. In 1965 Air Parts (NZ) Ltd secured the manufacturing rights to the Fletcher FU-24 and began producing detail parts and FU-24 aircraft locally. In 1967 AESL secured the manufacturing rights to the Victa Airtourer and also began detail and aircraft production locally. Both companies then enjoyed some years of expansion and development.

AESL provided the catalyst for the next change. In the early 1970s it had developed the CT-4 Airtrainer out of the prototype Victa Aircruiser and successfully secured contracts to supply the Airtrainer to the RAAF and RTAF. As a result of this, there were moves to get the New Zealand Government involved and merge Air Parts (NZ) Ltd and AESL into a new strong entity.

New Zealand Aerospace Industries Ltd (NZASIL) was born in 1973 with a 50% Government shareholding, (25% Air New Zealand and 25% National Airways Corporation), with the other 50% shareholding remaining with the previous companies shareholders such as James Aviation.

NZASIL started off well and successfully marketed both lines of Aircraft all around the world. Peak production was reached in 1975 with the delivery of 36 CT-4 Airtrainers and 14 FU-24s a total of 50 aircraft for the year.

Things quietened down several years later when CT-4 production slowed and all that remained was short run FU-24 production.

Pacific Aerospace Corporation, (PAC) was established in July 1982, following the purchase of the assets of New Zealand Aerospace Industries. James Aviation took a 50% interest in Aero Engine Services Ltd in 1955. James Aviation also had a shareholding in Air Parts when it was formed in 1957 to market the FU-24.



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