19 August 2010

Farewell to another Aztec... ZK-FMU

Cancelled from the register this week was Piper Pa23-250 Aztec E, ZK-FMU, (c/n 27-2970).

FMU was used by three New Zealand companies that operated scheduled services.

It was first registered to Sea Bee Air on the 29th of September 1986, one of three Aztecs registered by Sea Bee Air the other two being ZK-CEU and ZK-DJG. Sea Bee Air bought Great Barrier Airlines in April 1987 but the aircraft remained registered as belonging to Sea Bee Air. I have neither photos nor information of the Aztecs while they were registered to Sea Bee Air pre Great Barrier Airlines ownership. I would be interested to know if CEU or FMU ever wore Sea Bee Air titles (pre GBA ownership) and, if they were used by Sea Bee Air, what they were used for, Sea Bee obviously being more well known for their amphibian operations. Any info to westland831@gmail.com would be much appreciated.

FMU was finally registered to Great Barrier Airlines on the 18th of October 1989 and was used on their Northland and Great Barrier scheduled services as well as on other charter work. The aircraft was then sold to NZ Aerial Mapping of Hastings who have operated the aircraft since except between 29 September 1999 and 1 September 2000 when Air Freight NZ Ltd operated on their courier freight service from Palmerston North to Napier and Gisborne.

Registered to Sea Bee Air but wearing Great Barrier titles ZK-FMU showing where it flies - to Northland and Great Barrier - at Christchurch on the 28th of December 1987. Photo : S Lowe

ZK-FMU at Nelson on 2 October 1990. Photo : M Condon

ZK-FMU while in Air Freight service in the Fieldair hangar at Palmerston North on 13 October 1999. Photo : S Lowe


  1. At some point it became RP-C5818 in the Philippines. On 04/02/2018 the aircraft was on a cargo flight from San Vicente Regional Airport in Palawan to Manila. The plane crashed into the sea after an engine failure near Barangay New Agutaya, off Palawan. Both occupants survived the crash, but were injured. The plane was written off.

    1. Thanks for the info Steve! Such a shame. I was lucky enough to do my Multi engine rating and multi-instrument in FMU so have very fond memories of her.