Aircraft [Beechcraft AT-11 Kansan ZK-AHO]

Maker and role
Beech Aircraft Corporation, Manufacturer
New Zealand Aerial Mapping Limited, Commissioned by
Production date
See full details

Object detail

Accession number
Secondary maker and role
Pratt & Whitney Aircraft: Manufacturer
Production period
Model 18. Twin-engine monoplane, originally designed for use as a military trainer, but retrofitted for aerial mapping projects. Twin engine (450 HP Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-1) with double-bladed propellers. The propellers are painted grey with black, white and red stripes. The fuselage is painted white with a red and black stripe down the length of the fuselage. Named "Manu Ruuri" and painted in black on either side of the nose. NZ Aerial Mapping Limited logo on either side of nose, includes red lettering and black details (black camera and stylized wings) and a red map of NZ. The rudders on the empennage are also painted red. Perspex panels for cockpit and nose (to offer a clear view), 4 circular Perspex windows on either side of the fuselage. Door on port side. The aeroplane can accommodate pilot, navigator and camera operator. Consists of metal structure with smooth skin riveted to bulkheads and stringers.
Brief History
This aircraft played an important part in the aerial photography of New Zealand. In its 37 year career with New Zealand Aerial Mapping Ltd, this AT-11 Kansan flew lines east to west across almost the whole country so that New Zealand’s first official maps could be produced.

In 1936 the Government set up a programme to photograph and map the whole country. Originally the RNZAF was given this task, but when World War II began in 1939 the contract was given to New Zealand Aerial Mapping Ltd. These first photographs were used to produce maps for the Defence Department.

New Zealand Aerial Mapping Ltd had been started by Piet Van Asch in 1935 and this Kansan was used from 1943. It was the company’s second aircraft, the first being a Monospar. The Beechcraft Kansan was initially manufactured as a military training aircraft. Piet van Asch thought the aircraft would be appropriate for photography because it offered good vision and performance, and it provided a stable platform and long range. It was modified for its new role - the bomb bay was converted into a photographic dark room and bomb racks were removed so that cameras could be installed.

The Kansan was retired in 1980 and donated to MOTAT in 1982. It still retains its original paint.

Date: 1937
Manufacturer: Beech Aircraft Corporation, Wichita, Kansas
Type: Bombing and gunnery trainer
Wing span: 14. 5 m
Length: 10.4 m
Engine: Two 450 HP Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior engines
Accommodation: Eight
ZK-AHO Painted
Manu Ruuri Painted
Other name
Credit Line
Beech Aircraft Corporation et al. 1942. Aircraft [Beechcraft AT-11 Kansan ZK-AHO], 1982.775. The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).


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