The famous parachutist, Pilot Officer "Scotty" Fraser, and his pilot Stanley Blackmore, made at least two visits to the Cambridge district. The first of these was unplanned, the story of which follows in this extract from the Waikato Independent newspaper.
Waikato Independent, 23rd of February 1933
'PLANE AT WHITEHALL
A BLOCKED FEED-PIPE
HAMILTON PILOT'S SKILLFUL LANDING
(From Our Own Correspondent)
While proceeding from Hamilton to Whakatane yesterday morning the Hamilton De Soutter monoplane piloted by Mr Stanley Blackmore was forced down at Whitehall.
Mr Blackmore left Hamilton shortly after 7 a.m., and soon after taking off, discovered that the engine was not functioning too well. The trouble gradually developed to a serious extent, and when over the Whitehall district, the pilot, who was accompanied by "Scotty" Frazer, the parachutist, and another passenger, decided to land. The 'plane was flown as far as Mr E. Jean's corner, when it was swung back and landed in a paddock on Messrs A.N. Forbes and Sons' farm.
The site chosen for the landing was by no means a good one, but to the pilot was the best at hand. The paddock, about a quarter of a mile from the homestead, is not a large one, and in addition to rabbit burrows, has a hollow in the centre, and is fenced. However, once again Mr Blackmore demonstrated his skill as a pilot by making a safe landing.
The 'plane struck one of the burrows, but under the conditions the landing was a well-nigh perfect one and no damage was done to the machine, while the occupants were not injured.
An investigation disclosed a blocked feed-pipe to be the cause of the trouble. It was soon remedied, and the 'plane was then wheeled to one end of the paddock. The engine started up well, and the pilot made a good take off to continue the journey to Whakatane.
Just over week later Fraser and Blackmore returned to Cambridge, this time to put on a display for the town's people. Here's the report.
Waikato Independent, 4th of March 1933
THRILL FOR SHOW CROWDS
TWO FAMOUS AEROPLANES
The two parachute descents at the showgrounds on People's Day made by Pilot Officer "Scotty" Fraser, from the monoplane Aorangi, piloted by Mr Stanley Blackmore, gave the large assemblage an additional thrill.
The parachutist made two spectacular descents. On the first occasion he landed on the road near the main entrance to the grounds and on the second occasion was more successful, landing in the polo ground.
It may not be generally known that the two 'planes in Cambridge on Thursday have notable histories. The De Soutter monoplane Aorangi was flown by Messrs Kay and Piper from England to Australia in 1930. The biplane making flights on Thursday is the property of Mr T. Mullan, of Hamilton. Named Kia Ora, it was flown by Mr Oscar Garden from England to Australia.
Above: Pilot Officer "Scotty" Fraser making a jump from Spartan ZK-ABZ flown by
Sqn Ldr Mac MacGregor in 1932
Note: It has come to my attention that Stan Blackmore used to also bring his plane each year to Cambridge to the A&P Show to sell flights, so this is an area which will be investigated in the research soon. Local resident and Cambridge Airman Charlie Christiansen remembers having a flight himself aa a kid, and he also recalls the price, which was four shillings.
UPDATE - Bryan Cox Remembers
On Saturday the 23rd of October 2004 I received a phone call from former Cambridge resident and RNZAF pilot Bryan Cox. He had been looking at this website and came across this particular page, which struck a cord with him. Bryan remembers that when he was about 8 years old, living on his parents farm at French Pass, in the Cambridge district, he and his family saw and heard an aircraft go over. He said it sounded very sick and the engine was making popping noises. He recalls it disappeared in the direction of Whitehall. Bryan said he'd always wondered who's aircraft it was, and what had become of it. Of course in those days, seeing an aircraft in this region was extremely rare, and given that it fits the time period and circumstances, he put two and two together. So 65 years after hearing that very sick aircraft fly over his family farm, Bryan was able to find out who it was and what the story behind it was.
Bryan also recalls that he went into town to see Scotty Fraser do his parachute jumps, which is also detailed above. Thanks Bryan for adding these extra details. Personal memories are just as good as the period newspaper reports.