Our first aircraft - PA38 Tomahawk FML

WASSI was setup in 2017 to raise funds to purchase and restore aircraft to secure the future access to aircraft for the Walsh Memorial Scout Flying School.

In mid 2018 WASSI was fortunate to be in a position to purchase our first aircraft - ZK-FML, a Piper PA-38 Tomahawk. This support came from the Walsh instructors and other staff, from The Lion Foundation and from an anonymous donor.

FML had been owned by Padre John Neal and his wife Pam for over twenty years and had for many years been used in support of the ATC Flying Camp at Woodbourne. So, it is great to see it being given a new lease of life and to continue to be used to introduce young people to aviation.

In July 2018, Jay McIntyre of JEM Aviation at Omaka in Blenheim won the contract to fully restore and refit FML. WASSI were clear in our requirement that FML be completed and available for the Walsh in January 2019. This was no mean feat, and WASSI acknowledges the commitment and effort Jay and his team put into completing the restoration by Christmas.

The objective of the restoration was to bring FML up to the highest safety standards reasonably achievable. Given the number of aircraft operating in and around the circuit at Matamata, that meant high visibility, aircraft recognition and sequence control. To that end we have fitted:

- LED lighting;

- Airbag Seatbelts;

- A new TRIG VHF radio which allows the monitoring of two frequencies simultaneously;

- A brand-new windscreen; and,

- Painted FML in as high a visibility scheme as we were able to create.

WASSI carried out research on the best paint schemes for visibility and found that no one scheme is “best” in all light conditions. So, the Airways controllers, who have looked after us at Matamata for many years, were consulted. Their advice was for bold panels of colour, the maintenance of a mix of high and low winged fleet, and different colours for each aircraft, albeit the same scheme.

We feel sure that the restoration of FML is a good first step and look forward to your support for our next and subsequent aircraft.

Your donations are greatly appreciated. For information on how to donate, please click here.