No. 42 Squadron RNZAF
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|No. 42 Squadron RNZAF|
|Active||December 1943 – Present|
|Allegiance||Queen Elizabeth II|
|Branch||Royal New Zealand Air Force|
|Role||VIP flights, multi engine conversion courses, and general transport|
|Part of||No. 488 Wing RNZAF|
|Garrison/HQ||RNZAF Base Ohakea|
|Motto||Tara Ki Uta, Tara Ki Tai|
|Equipment||Beechcraft B200 Super King Airs|
|Commanding Officer Operational Support Wing, Wing Commander||Tim Walshe|
42 Squadron of the RNZAF was formed at Rongotai (Wellington) in December 1943 to provide a communications service around New Zealand, initially using impressed civilian types. It was briefly officially disbanded in 1946, but its aircraft continued with general purpose operations at RNZAF Base Ohakea (near Bulls). When reformed the squadron was equipped with various numbers of Harvard IIB & III, Auster, Avenger TBM-1, Oxford, Devon C.1, P-51D Mustang and DC-3A/C-47D Dakota.
TBF Avengers flown by 42 Squadron pilots were involved in the first aerial topdressing trials carried out in the world, spreading superphosphate fertiliser alongside the runways at Ohakea. Their main purpose was to tow gunnery targets (drogues and banners) for air-to-air gunnery and for the navy and army. The P-51 Mustang also provided high-speed towing of banner targets, especially for Vampire jets, and was used extensively for co-operation in army manoeuvres.
Transformation and VIP role
The role of the squadron gradually changed to VIP flights (DC-3 and Devon), multi-engine conversion courses (Oxford and Devon), and general transport flying around New Zealand and the South Pacific. During the visit of Queen Elizabeth in 1953/54, 42 Squadron DC-3 Dakotas carried her around New Zealand. In the late 1950s the squadron's inventory comprised only Dakotas and Devons, and in the mid 1960s the Dakota fleet was enlarged to six aircraft.
The reliable but aging Dakotas were retired in 1977 and replaced by four Andover twin-engine transports. Two (NZ7622 and NZ728), were converted to full VIP configuration; NZ7625 was semi-converted and NZ7627 remained in the utility configuration.
To accommodate the reformed No. 2 Squadron RNZAF with A-4 Skyhawks at Ohakea in 1984, 42 Squadron moved to Whenuapai) and absorbed the Andovers of No. 1 Squadron RNZAF which was disbanded. The squadron then had 10 Andovers.
In 1988 an Andover joined the United Nations Iran-Iraq Military Observers Group (UNIMOG). The detachment of 17 personnel and aircraft were based at Tehran until withdrawn in December 1990. In 1993 three 42 Squadron Andovers went to Somalia to join the U.S.-led Unified Task Force (UNTAF). Based at Mogadishu, they flew air transport support missions for the force.
Four Andovers were withdrawn from service in 1997 and the remainder in 1998. They were replaced by Beechcraft Model B200 Super King Airs leased from Pacific Aeromotive. This was a new venture for the RNZAF, with a commercial contractor providing maintenance support to the aircraft on site. The workload for the aircraft is multi-engine conversion training of pilots qualified to fly single engine aircraft, continuation training for multi-engine qualified pilots and a limited VIP transport role around New Zealand. These aircraft are in the government's long-term plan for replacement.
The squadron returned to Ohakea in January 2002 where it now operates five King Airs as part of the flying training wing.