Accident de Havilland DH.60M Moth ZK-ACH,
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Date:Sunday 29 January 1933
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH60 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
de Havilland DH.60M Moth
Owner/operator:Western Federated Flying Club
Registration: ZK-ACH
MSN: 1563
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Pihama, near Opunake, Taranaki -   New Zealand
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Dunlop Field, Hawera
Destination airport:Dunlop Field, Hawera
c/no 1563: DH.60M [Gipsy I] to Dominion of New Zealand with C of A 2730 issued 10.9.30. Arrived in NZ 7.11.30 and registered ZK-ACH 12.30 [or 11.7.31] to Western Federated Flying Club, New Plymouth [Govt. Loan aircraft]

Substantially damaged in a stall/spin accident 29.1.33, at Pihama, near Opunake, Taranaki. The Moth was seen circling a house at an estimated altitude of 200 feet when it stalled and dived into the ground. The pilot, Brian Ford Davies, escaped with mild injuries and concussion, but his passenger Richard Guy Putt (aged 18) sustained a severe head injury in the impact and was killed. R.I.P.

As reported at the time in a contemporary local newspaper (Auckland Star, 30 January 1933, Page 3 - see link #1):

(By Telegraph. —Special to "Star.")
HAWERA, this day.
The first fatal aeroplane accident in Taranaki since the formation of the Western Federated Flying Club occurred at Pihama, near Opunake, yesterday afternoon, when Mr. Guy Putt, aged 18, of Otakelio, a passenger in the club's machine, ZK-ACH, was killed instantly. The pilot, Mr. Brian Davies, of Otakelio, suffered concussion, and the machine was fairly extensively damaged. The crash occurred at 4.20, near the residence of Mr. E. S. Forsyth, of Patiki Road. Apparently the 'plane stalled in a turn and, with its flying speed lost, nose-dived from a low altitude.

Mr. Forsyth saw the crash, and when he came on the scene, he found the 'plane in a vertical position, with its nose in the ground. Mr. Forsyth stated that the 'plane circled twice over his house at a low altitude, and was making another turn, when it wavered as if struck by a gust of wind, and then dived straight into the ground. It was at a height of about 200 feet when the pilot commenced banking. Prior to the crash Mr. Forsyth heard the engine functioning perfectly.

An inspection of the 'plane indicated that both pilot and passenger had been thrown heavily forward, Mr. Forsythe's head apparently striking the engine. Mr. Davies was extricated from the back seat with great difficulty, and was driven to the Hawera Hospital, where it was reported this morning that his condition was satisfactory. The police at Opunake were notified of the crash, and Mr. Brian Haybittle, the club captain, of the Hawera Aero Club, who was in charge of the flying at Hawera during the day, was summoned.

The damaged 'plane was dismantled by Messrs. Haybittle and Brian Nicholas, and taken to the New Plymouth aerodrome by lorry. The 'plane had been taken aloft over Mount Egmont earlier in the afternoon by Mr. Nicholas, and the engine had functioned perfectly. Prior to taking Mr. Putt aloft, Mr. Davies had made another passenger flight, and on his return had affected a perfect landing at the Hawera Club's aerodrome at Dunlop Field. Mr. Davies, who is a member of the Hawera Aero Club, received the endorsement of his license, enabling him to carry passengers, during the recent visit to New Plymouth of Squadron-Leader T. M. Wilkes, Director of Aviation, at the time of the visit of the Southern Cross. Since then, he has made about half a dozen passenger flights.

The late Mr. Putt was the second son of Mr. and Mrs. E. R. Putt, of Otakeho, and was well known in local hockey and tennis circles".

ZK-ACH was repaired and re-flown for the first time since the accident on 22.6.34. Crashed in the Kaimanawa Ranges near Turangi on 8.1.37, en-route Wanganui to Taihape. Salvaged but not rebuilt. Registration ZK-ACH cancelled 1938. Wreckage recovered from crash site, then stored, and most recently reported in November 2005 as owned by K.C. Trillo, near Auckland. Registration restored 11.2005 for planned rebuild project


1. Auckland Star, 30 January 1933, Page 3:
2. Evening Post, Volume CXV, 31 January 1933, Page 8:
3. Opunake Times, 31 January 1933, Page 2:
4. Gisborne Times, 31 January 1933, Page 5:
5. AHSNZ, 1988, Journal, Vol 31 No 2.

History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft

8 January 1937 ZK-ACH Western Federated Flying Club 0 Waipakihi River, Kaimanawa Range sub


Revision history:

03-Mar-2015 23:21 angels one five Added
26-Aug-2017 16:00 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
15-Mar-2018 06:30 angels one five Updated [Narrative]
31-Jan-2020 19:39 stehlik49 Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]
23-Jan-2022 04:04 Ron Averes Updated [Aircraft type]
05-Feb-2022 04:49 Ron Averes Updated [Location]
16-Nov-2023 06:58 Ron Averes Updated [Aircraft type, Source]
22-Nov-2023 09:01 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Source, Narrative, Category]
22-Nov-2023 09:02 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Source, Narrative, Category]
23-Nov-2023 13:11 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]

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