From the collection of Rangi Ruru Girls’ School
Rererangi – Aircraft built by Rangi Ruru Girls’ School students 1994-1997
In 1997, students of Rangi Ruru Girls’ School completed a three year project to build from scratch a small single-seat aircraft finished in the school’s colours of blue and gold. Alastair McKenzie, a former chaplain of the school, led the girls as they worked in a small garage at Rangi Ruru.
The TEAM MAX-103 microlight (Full registration: ZK-JDW) is of North American spruce construction and was built from a basic $6,000 materials-only kit imported from the USA, requiring each component to be individually formed by the students.
Powered by a two-stroke 28hp Rotax 277, the single seater cruises at 48 knots with a maximum speed of 56 knots, stall happens at 28 knots. It featured an impressive economy rate of only $5.00 an hour for fuel and oil in 1997.
Rererangi was chosen as the name. Waka rererangi is Maori for aeroplane so the name was considered just right for a Rangi Ruru plane.
About 500 girls were involved in the project. They benefited by not only learning about technology but also working together and co-operating to solve problems and keeping on going when the going got tough.
An appreciative audience of about 20 students and invited guests watched as Evan Belworthy, an experienced Cust based test-pilot gave the microlight the thumbs-up at West Melton airfield on 5 July 1997.
After the plane appeared at the Easter 1998 “Warbirds over Wanaka” it was sold to recover costs.
Part of the Cantage Records and Archives Week 2010 exhibition