This page is dedicated to Dave Ballard who entered the RNZAF in 1944. I have known Dave's son Rex for more than 40 years as
we played in a Cabaret/Dance Band in Gisborne for a few years in the 1970's. Rex kindly loaned his Father's Logbooks,
Notebooks, photos and programmes from the 1956 Agricultural show in Palmerston North and the Air Force Day at Ohakea 1964.
Judging by his Logbooks, he started training in the AT No.2 EFTS at Ashburton, taking his first training flight in Tiger Moth NZ779
on May 29, 1944. His Instructor was F/O Boyce. Dual training continued every day but one and after 10 hours, he went solo on
June 9th. On June 12 a F/C Hickenbottom conducted dual Pin Pointing Navigation. Up to this point Dave had flown in Tigers
NZ850 and NZ 1419. Training continued in Tigers until August 2nd when he was signed off by the CFI, having completed 67
hours 40 mins in the type.
Harvard training started at Woodbourne August 22nd under AT No.2 SFTS and F/O Millton. Harvard No.938 then No. 956 were
initially used. He stayed at Woodbourne until 3rd November 1944 and was transferred to Wigram with No.1 SFTS ATS. He
continued rigorous training in Harvards including Harvard III's, NZ1002, 1003, 1075, 1076, 1078 & NZ1087.
In May of 1945, he transferred to Ohakea, joining No.2 Fighter O.T.U, continuing in the Harvard. He went solo in Kittyhawk 3237
May 31st and also started training in the Warhawk. By this time he had clocked up nearly 250 hours total. July 24th saw him start
training in the Corsair with AT No.4 OTU, still at Ohakea. Several Corsair's were used including 5557, 5504, 5357 amongst others
and quite a number of entries in 5330.Training continued through August, a note in red in his Logbook noting the Japanese
surrender August 15th 1945. Training did continue with the last entry 26th August 1945. Another note states that a RAF Liberator
and Skymaster arrived at Ohakea 23rd August 1945.
RNZAF entries stop here and the next entries are with the Middle Districts Aero Club at Palmerston North. Dave starts back in
Tiger Moth's on February 7th 1951 and is checked out by a Mr. Plumtree in ZK-AIH. He continues flying sporadically and has his
Flight Test on April 20th 1951 with a Mr. Mitchell. He continues flying in Tiger ZK-AIB and has another dual check 6 days later with
Mr. Plumtree who signs him off. May is spent on a few local flights and some cross-country in ZK-ASC.
On July 25th 1951, he test flies Tiger ZK-AXZ and ferries it from "MY" to "NP" to "PM" the next day. He starts topdressing on
August 3rd and does 24 hours for the month. 57 hours in September and 17 hours in October. November 9th AXZ crashes at 1430
hours, pilot ok!! Next entry is not until one in December, flying Tiger ZK-AYA to Palmerston North. He only does 5 hours in
January of 1952 but does 60 hours in February, some ferry flights to Te Horo are entered. He does some big months in 1952, a
couple in the 70's and a few in the 60 hour bracket, all in ZK-AYA which he only flew until January 19th 1953 when AXZ came
back. In February of 1953 he flew 76 hours, March clocked up 105 hours and May 118 hours. In October he was checked out by
Phil Lightband in Cessna 180 ZK-BDB and continued with familiarisation and circuits inbetween topdressing still in the Tiger. On
January 17th 1954, he started topdressing in the Cessna full time and continued in this aircraft until November 21st. ZK-BDC is
the next Cessna to be flown 4 days later.
Unfortunately, this is as far as these Logbooks go. I am hoping to get the next one from Rex at some point.
Fast forwarding to the 19th of February 1958 when Dave was flying EP-9 ZK-BDP with his loader driver and another member of
The aircraft took off from Feilding for Rangiwahia where a topdressing operation was to be carried out when the weather cleared.
ZK-BDP was being flown by an experienced agricultural pilot who had begun his flying career in the RNZAF in August 1943.
The aircraft carried two passengers, both of them loader drivers employed by the Manawatu Aerial Topdressing Company Ltd.
The customary route to Rangiwahia in the conditions of low cloud that prevailed on the morning of the accident was to follow the
Oroua River as far as Apiti Flats where a reversal of course could be safely made if the visibility did not permit further flight to
Rangiwahia. If the visibility was adequate then the river route would be left behind and the flight continued via hilly country to
The surviving passenger, who was seated in the passenger seat aft of the hopper, reported that the flight proceeded normally to
Apiti Flats where the aircraft altered course and began to head over the hills for Rangiwahia.
After about 6 minutes the passenger became aware that the vis. was deteriorating and he noticed the flaps being partially lowered
and the airscrew being changed to fine pitch. Moments later the plane entered dense cloud and the flaps were lowered further
and the engine noise increased noticeably. Within moments the passenger felt a high G loading which pinned him in his seat, and
then a succession of severe impacts.
The Percival struck a sloping ridge at about 100 mph, and slid down the other side, ploughing though trees and undergrowth for
a distance of 265 feet and breaking up on the way. Fuel from the ruptured starboard fuel tank was ignited and the wreckage
began to burn.
The passenger in the rear compartment was able to extricate himself but both occupants in the pilot's cabin had been killed in the
From the heading of the wreckage trail, 180 degrees magnetic, the investigators were able to conclude that the pilot had reversed
course to get back to Apiti Flats, and the high G force reported by the survivor suggested that the pilot may have descended in
order to regain visual contact with the ground and had stalled the aircraft in a sharp pull-up when he realised its proximity.
The plane had struck the ground in a level flight attitude.
The accident report has the following conclusions :
" 23 (c). The pilot attempted to negotiate cloud-enveloped high country.
(d). The aircraft entered cloud and assumed a diving attitude .
(e). The pilot induced a high speed stall in an effort to avoid diving into the ground.
(f). The aircraft struck the ground in a stalled condition and nosed down a steep incline. " David Ballard, pilot.
H.S. Carmichael, loader driver.
Unfortunately the photos have no dates and this is the only one with info on the back.
From left: Dave Ballard, Malcolm Blackburn, Jack Dean and Ivan Brace.
Avenger NZ 905?
3 shots of a Bristol Freighter being loaded.
A few Harvards in formation.
Dave's Business Card
Manawatu Aerial Topdressing fleet
Cessna 180 BNE
Dave refuelling Cessna 180 BNE
The following photos are of the ill-fated EP-9 from when it arrived, being assembled, test flights and other
photos. No info available on any of them.
A certificate stating the family went for a ride in the first helicopter in N.Z.
The following are a few various pages from 2 Logbooks I have, starting with his first flight with the RNZAF.
The funeral for Dave & Syd...........R.I.P.