The Andover is a military variant of the HS748 civil transport. The HS748 was designed as a DC-3 replacement (and Fokker F-27 competitor) which first flew in June 1960. The military version, first flown in 1963, was a response to an RAF requirement for a medium tactical requirement (31 aircraft were eventually supplied). It shares the same wings and forward fuselage structure, but the rear fuselage has been redesigned to incorporate clamshell doors, a loading ramp, and the main undercarriage has a 'kneeling' feature to lower the rear of the aircraft for freight operation. The aircraft has short take-off and landing performance and is capable of operating from 500m (1640ft) semi-prepared airstrips.
The RNZAF purchased ten aircraft in 1976 (NZ7620-NZ7629) from the RAF which had retired them the year previously (the aircraft then being eight to ten years old). The Andovers replaced the Bristol Freighters and Dakotas in the tactical transport role with 1 SQN at Whenuapai and 42 SQN at Ohakea. The aircraft have travelled widely throughout New Zealand and the South Pacific, as well as on assignment with the UN. The aircraft were configurable to handle up to 44 troops, 30 paratroops, vehicles up to 4775kg (10,500lb), or 6365 kg (14,000lb) freight. Two aircraft of 42 SQN were modified for VIP transport, although this role was taken over by Boeing 727's of 40 SQN in 1981.
In 1984 42 SQN was relocated to Whenuapai, and 1 SQN was deactivated. Three Andovers were placed in reserve by 1987, and the aircraft were being phased out of service in 1995. By March 1997 one aircraft (NZ7624) had been scrapped, one aircraft (NZ7621) had been allocated to the RNZAF museum, and four aircraft had been sold to a Belgian company, Eureka Aviation for use in Africa on UN contracts. The remaining 4 aircraft NZ7622, 7625, 7627, and 7929) were deactivated at the end of June 1998, and stored at Ardmore prior to their sale to Thameside Aero Spares in the UK. Two of these have subsequently been reactivated and moved to Mangere for export.
In summary, the RNZAF Andovers were:
NZ7620 (c/n set6) ex-XS599, 9Q-CYG
NZ7623 (c/n set11) ex-XS604, 9Q-CDY
NZ7626 (c/n set19) ex-XS612, 9Q-CJR
NZ7628 (c/n set22) ex-XS638, 9Q-CYB
|Sold to Eureka Aviation, a Belgian Company for use in Africa.|
|NZ7621 (c/n set7) ex-XS600||Aircraft passed to the RNZAF Museum. Currently on display at Wigram.|
|NZ7624 (c/n set15) ex-XS608||Aircraft broken up. Date ?|
NZ7622 (c/n set9) ex-XS602
NZ7625 (c/n set18) ex-XS611
NZ7627 (c/n set20) ex-XS613
NZ7629 (c/n set29) ex-XS645
|Aircraft sold to Thameside Aero Spares, UK. In open storage at Ardmore (July 1998)|
Last Update:- 18 April, 1999
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