The Cessna 185 50th Birthday Celebration January 21-23rd 2011 

What a weekend !!!! Gosh, this has been 3 years in planning and right now, it is hard to believe it is all over. I have one big thank you and that is to all those who made the effort to get to Masterton, plus the organizers, Jeff and Pam Griffith, Nigel and Nicky Griffith, Brian Doig, Heather and my family.

There were another 10 or so helpers, all doing it for love, driving the buses, the cars, helping put up the tent, picking up the wine, the food, erecting the spectator stand and so on. Without all of you (I think in excess of 50 aircraft and another 12 cars, we had about 150 people in total) this simply could not of happened.



A special thank you must go to John and Linda Walmsley, the Australian 180/185 president and Tony Turinsky, the Alaskan 180/185 Director for making the trip out. It was a highlight to have these guys come to our party.

Well, this special day finally came around, we missed the 50 year birthday of the 180, so sorry about that, but simply, I or no one else really gave it any serious thought. I was at Big Bay with my sons James and Tim many years ago in Mike Thomas’s hut discussing this very fact with Nigel Griffith and it was then that we came away agreeing to sort all for the 185 50yr birthday.
Little did we know the challenge we set ourselves, but when Nige volunteered his father’s help (thanks Jeff for coming forward without any persuasion) things got easier.
It’s happened and phew! I tried to get out of this job some years ago knowing full well that this day was looming... I am still here, Jeff made it easy. The rest is history.
I have an apology to put forward and that is for the man who started this group. Remember it was a club back then.
Philip Evers Swindell is the man we owe all this to. He had the inspiration to start the Club back in 1969 and I am pleased and honored to of been able to help continue his dream to this day. Unfortunately he could not join us as he was somewhere in the Nullabor.
Of course there were others after him, namely Dave Ward, Hank Sproull, Chris Blyth and another short stint done by Philip for a 2
nd time.
Both Dave and Hank made it to the party, they spoke and helped with the cake. I think this really capped the night off.
Robin Langslow, also made it, but unfortunately not in CAK. CAK is the oldest and 1st 185 in the country, and hence, as you can see on the cake, we celebrated CAK in style. My 185 ZK-SIA stole some of the show limelight as it is the 2
nd oldest 185 in the country and hence the oldest at the celebration.

The celebration was in a marque at the airfield and started with the normal pre dinner drinks followed by a beautiful BBQ with all the usual trimmings. The best surprise was the red and white wine specially bottled for the night displaying some of our members aircraft. (Please Note, that we still have wine, if you have a special photo of your aircraft contact Nigel Griffith and order your wine now.)

Guest speaker for the night was Jules Tapper. He gave a very inspirational talk of his 100’s of hours in aircraft of which most were in his own 185 ZK-DYH. I think there are not many experiences that Jules has not had in an aircraft. Jules has done it all and been everywhere and because of that he was able to keep us quiet for some time. Thank you Jules.

After the speeches, the night just rocked on into the early hours of the next day, no music, just lots of like minded people talking Cessna 180/185’s, what more can I say!
Besides our party night there also was an air show on. Some elected to miss this on Saturday and do the wine tour with Pam Griffith around the local vineyards. Unfortunately for them they missed seeing the air show as Sunday was cancelled due to 5 inches of rain falling. Not only that, they missed Nigel Griffith’s stunning handling display in CES and of course the demonstration run of the Mount Cook ski plane piloted by John Richards. By the stories though I think they all still had a great day.

We even got front page of Wairarapa Times, all good publicity of our beautiful aircraft.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend enjoyed by all. Once again thank you to all for attending. The flying conditions getting to and back home from Masterton, to say the least, were demanding. There were only 3 “GA” spectator aircraft on the field.
I think the fact that so many of our aircraft attended this event is an attribute to all our members flying skills, members who love and cherish their flying machines.
So, 10 more years and we can celebrate 60 years !!!!!!!!

A Note from Jeff Griffith, Organizer of the event.
Hope this finds you all in fine fettle, I am attempting to give you something for your news section. It is however, a very long way from my brain to my fingers. Just snippets, I don't want to steal Kens thunder.

1. To paraphrase an old adage---You can beat an egg, you can beat a rug, but you can't beat the weather.
2. It is possible - according to my wife - that the most dangerous aircrew trip of the weekend was made when we drove Robin and Alison Langslow to their motel after Dinner at the Club.
3. Brid Morris and Murray Bose were the first on the scene after the very sad Venom mishap. Thankfully it was within easy walking distance.
4. Last crew in on Friday night was John Geary and his team in CAV after being held orbiting somewhere to the north for twenty minutes in the murk. That man deserves a beer!
5. Nigel's display brought tears to my eyes, but I consoled myself that with hope, he may improve.
6. Richard Royds, accompanied by John Richards, arrival in  the veteran 185 ZK-CBS ski-plane was the first ski-plane ever to land at Hood Aerodrome in its 82 year history. Another magic moment we shared at the Birthday.
7. John and Lyn Bates arrived in a Piper Arrow - BJV is still waiting for her new power plant - the Piper was quickly hidden from sight!!
The airfield is now back to the intense quiet that an airfield can be, no more continentals firing up and no more rows of lovely Cessnas.

HOWEVER-----THE GOOD NEWS: The groundcrew had a serious de-briefing at the Gladstone Pub on the following thursday where problems were ironed out, re-visited and re ironed as the evening progressed.
We departed the pub confident that, good health being with us, we will be competent to run the 100th anniversary without major problems!

Final note. We all had an excellent weekend meeting up with you all, forgetting names, socializing, and just being a part of your celebrations. We appreciate the efforts that pilots went to to attend.

You are a top team, come back one day.

Jeff Griffith

Philip Evers Swindell (founder of the club) sent over the following email

Perth, WA
th January 2011
Well done and I sincerely wish I was with you in Masterton for this anniversary bash!
A definition of an oxymoron is “ask Philip to write a few words”!!
My personal embracing of fun flying can be attributed to a particular flight 1969 in about week 3 of my learning to fly from Palmerston North, in a PA 28 no less! With one Particular Pilot Jeff Griffith! His cavalier disregard for seat belts, runways, or just about anything was a brilliant catalyst, thank you Jeff.
Following an AOPA fly-in at Dingleburn Station on the 7th January 1984, I wrote a letter (for the younger ones this was pre internet, pre cell phone, pre fax, pre spell check!) on the 14th Jan 1984 to the then 66 180-185 owners (as per details in a “Whites Directory”) suggesting they consider joining the US 180 -185 Club. 
27 years on (
more than 50% of the time you are now celebrating) since that time, the NZ group has been formed and there are 79 aircraft & 87 paid up members active with our “group.” That is two thirds of the 64 Cessna 180’s and 59 Cessna 185’s registered in N.Z.
27 years on there have been many too many to detail, especially “in a few words”!.
-        April 1985, having U.S. Club president Charles and Edith Bobardier and other U.S. members involved in a fantastic fly- in from Ruakaturi to Clarence was certainly one.
        We have had many fly-ins to many different, fantastic and challenging places all without (major) incident, very satisfying.
        Clearly it is the people, particularly those that have allowed us onto their properties, and those that arranged for us to go there and be involved with the fun flying of these machines, that is /are the standout highlight of our group.
All the very best, for now and into the distant future.
Philip Evers-Swindell.


And one of the many emails received since Masterton
Hi Ken
Just a quick note to thank you very much for a great gathering at Masterton despite the weather.
We now look forward to your next news letter with pictures. There is nothing in the air that comes close to those Cessna tail draggers for versatility, excitement and shear pleasure when at the controls.  And they even look the part when just sitting on the ground.  An awesome line up. 
Much appreciated.
 Kind regards,
Bob Gunson.   (Sorry DXA could not make it)

Those who attended

Aircraft / POB

ZK-BDB (1) ZK-BDD (2) ZK-BJX (2) ZK-BJV *(2) ZK-BZV *(1) ZK-BSP (2) ZK-BUG (2) ZK-BJU (1) ZK-BJY (2) ZK-BZR (2) ZK-BMW (2) ZK-CAK *(2) ZK-CAV (5) ZK-CBS (3) ZK-CBY (3) ZK-CES (2) ZK-CGG (1) ZK-CHL * (4) ZK-CGJ (2) ZK-CMV (2) ZK-DBX (3) ZK-DOD * (2) ZK-DKE (1) ZK-DLY (1) VH-DLM * (2) ZK-DOC (4) ZK-DSO (2) ZK-DRG (2) ZK-DPE (2) ZK-DPF (1) ZK-DPG (1) ZK-DYH (1) ZK-DWE (2) ZK-DXA * (4) ZK-EEJ (2) ZK-ENW (3) ZK-EOH (2) ZK-EYH (1) ZK-FDO (2) ZK-JHS (2) ZK-JKH (2) ZK-JMH (3) ZK-KMK (2) ZK-KRM (2) ZK-LJG (1) ZK-MDL (3) ZK-MJP (4) ZK-NRC (2) ZK-PKD (2) ZK-ROL (2) ZK-SIA (4) ZK-SCB (5) ZK-TSM (2) ZK-TUA (2) ZK-WGT (2) OTHER * (11) * = Arrived by car

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