Accident De Havilland DH.60G Gipsy Moth ZK-AAM, Thursday 3 March 1932
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Date:Thursday 3 March 1932
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH60 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
De Havilland DH.60G Gipsy Moth
Owner/operator:Wairarapa Aero Club
Registration: ZK-AAM
MSN: 867
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Hood Aerodrome, Masterton, Wairarapa -   New Zealand
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Hood Aerodrome, Masterton, Wairarapa (MRO/NZMS)
Destination airport:Hood Aerodrome, Masterton, Wairarapa (MRO/NZMS)
c/no. 867 DH.60G Moth [Gipsy I #94, amended to #29] to New Zealand Air Ministry without C of A; assembled at Wigram January 1929. Registered as G-NZAX 19.2.29 to Marlborough Aero Club, Blenheim [and painted as "NZAX"]. Re-registered ZK-AAM 1.12.29 to Marlborough Aero Club, Wellington. Re-registered 10.31 to Wairarapa & Ruahine Aero Club, Masterton.

Destroyed by fire 3.3.32; crashed at Hood Aerodrome, Masterton, Wairarapa, New Zealand while undergoing speed trials and burst into flames on impact. The pilot (sole person on board) survived with only minor burns injuries. According to a contemporary newspaper report (Manawatu Herald, 5 March 1932, Page 3):

Masterton, (March 4).
A sensational accident occurred at Hood Aerodrome this morning when one of the Wairarapa Aero Club’s aeroplanes crashed during tests, and burst into flames. The pilot, Flying-Officer J. Buckeridge, although strapped in the machine, succeeded in jumping clear, and escaped with slight burns to his legs. The machine was completely destroyed.

Flying-Officer Buckeridge, who is pilot instructor to the Wairarapa Aero Club, was testing the club's two machines to select the fastest for racing purposes in preparation for the North Island air pageant at Wanganui on March 19.

The accident occurred while he was testing one of the machines for the maximum speed at the ground level. He had dived and was sweeping across the aerodrome into the wind with the machine a few feet above the ground. The machine had reached the speed of one hundred miles an hour when it dropped a little and touched the ground. The undercarriage was immediately forced back and the propeller splintered. The engine raced furiously and the machine burst, into flames.

Flying-Officer Buckeridge was strapped in the cockpit, but, fortunately, was not wearing shoulder harness. He quickly forced himself upward without attempting to unbuckle the waist belt, and jumped clear of the blazing machine. Those who witnessed the accident consider that his escape with no more serious injury than burns to his legs and minor bruises and abrasions was nothing short of miraculous. He was admitted to the Masterton Public Hospital, hut will probably be discharged to-morrow. Only the metal parts of the plane were left when the flames subsided.

Flying-Officer Buckeridge, who is a pilot of considerable experience, was concerned in a serious crash in Hawke’s Bay less than twelve months ago. On that occasion he lost an eye. The machine, ZK-AAM, was completely destroyed. It was a government machine allocated to the club under the Government scheme for fostering civil aviation. It was the first machine in the Dominion to be allocated under this scheme and formerly belonged to the Marlborough Aero Club. The accident to-day is similar to an accident which occurred to a government seaplane at Auckland about three years ago. On that occasion the seaplane was being tested out at sea level when it struck a wave and sank together with pilot and observer."

Hood Aerodrome (IATA: MRO, ICAO: NZMS) is an aerodrome, located in Masterton, New Zealand, it is located 1 NM South West of the town centre in the suburb of Solway. The Masterton Aerodrome was opened in 1931, and was named on 14.3.31 after George Hood, a pioneer Masterton aviator who died trying to make the first Trans-Tasman crossing in 1928.


1. AHSNZ, 1987, Journal, Vol 30 No 2.
2. Manawatu Herald, 5 March 1932, Page 3:
3. Manawatu Times, 5 March 1932, Page 6:
4. Taranaki Daily News, 5 March 1932, Page 4:

History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft

18 July 1929 G-NZAX Marlborough Aero Club 0 Woodbourne Airport, Blenheim, Marlborough sub


Revision history:

24-Jan-2022 04:32 Ron Averes Added
14-Nov-2023 18:55 Ron Averes Updated [Date, Aircraft type, Operator, Nature, Source, Narrative]
18-Nov-2023 07:23 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative, Category]

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