Ayling 1/20 Fletcher Fu24-950
KIT #: None
PRICE: NZ$150.00 including world wide shipping
NOTES: Fiberglass airframe


Since 1949 the spreading of fertiliser from the air, aerial topdressing, has been a key factor in the success of agriculture in New Zealand. From small beginnings by owner-operators utilising war surplus Tiger Moth trainers to today’s highly advanced aircraft and GPS-supported spreading, topdressing has been a major industry in NZ.

 By the mid 1950s New Zealand operators sought out a purpose-built topdressing machine, capable of carrying a decent payload and dropping it over NZ’s rugged hill country, as well as being easy to maintain. Several companies responded to the call, with the Auster Agricola and Percival EP-9 Prospector coming from Australia, and the indigenous Bennet Airtruck from within NZ, but the ultimate choice was the Fletcher Fu24, a low-wing monoplane with distinctive cranked wings and a roaring Continental engine. First flown in 1954, the prototype was flying as late as 2003, still dropping superphosphate on the hills of New Zealand. Demand for the Fletcher (as it became known by all) became so great amongst the Kiwi industry that the production line was shifted to New Zealand.

 Initial models were powered by 225 and 300hp engines, but in the 1970s the 400hp Fu24-950 became the mainstay of the air ag pilots. Powered by a Lycoming IO720, the distinctive rasp of the 950 was heard up and down the country. Small numbers were exported to Australia, Asia and South America, but the vast majority went straight to work within New Zealand. ZK-DZN, pictured here, was a typical example of the Fu24-950.

 By the time the production line closed in 1992 some 300 Fletchers had been built. Even today around 150 still earn their keep in NZ, several now behind Walter or Pratt & Whitney turbines. Many Kiwi modellers have longed for a kit of this iconic workhorse, and at long last this has finally come to pass.


This unique kit was created by Alan Ayling, a Kiwi now resident in the United Kingdom. It represents a Fu24-950 and as such can be made as any one of a hundred different aircraft. Alan is also hard at work creating the Fu24-954 variant with subtle differences, and this will no doubt also be popular amongst Fletcher fans.

 The airframe is all fibreglass, and includes engine cowl, stabilator, tail cone, vertical stabiliser/rudder, one-piece wing and separate flaps and ailerons, and the fuselage. Other parts include a vacformed transparent canopy, spare styrene stock for the raised flutes on the control surfaces, carbon paper for tracing bulkheads, plastic propeller, and metal undercarriage. My kit came with plastic wheels, complete with soft tyres. The instructions are very comprehensive, including photographs of Alan’s prototype kit at various stages of construction, and include several templates for cockpit bulkheads, hopper top and other small details.

 Being essentially a home-made kit there are regrettably no decals included, but the modeller who purchases this kit will find a way to put unique markings on the aircraft, be it with custom decals or by stencil and paint.

 Accuracy of line is pretty darned good, although the canopy is a little off in some dimensions. Surface detail is minimal, consisting of raised straps on the wing fuel tanks and triangular flutes on the control surfaces, so the modeller will wish to use a rivet tool to properly replicate the Fletcher’s skin. No cockpit details are supplied but the large scale means the builder can go crazy adding as much as they wish. Many NZ Fletcher fans have posted images of cockpits on the Internet so research material should pose no problem. I am fortunate to work for an engineering firm which owns four Fletchers, so I will have no problem there!


As a lifelong fan of the Fletcher I have waited a long time for a kit, and this offering gives you a very large model with great visual impact. It can be completed OOB as an accurate representation of a true Kiwi icon, or be a superdetailed replica of a chosen individual machine.

 This kit is available exclusively from Alan Ayling. He can be contacted at: summer_solstice6@hotmail.com


GEELEN, Janic and DEERNESS, Ray – The Topdressers 1990, NZ Aviation Press, 1990

FORHECZ, Lou – 50 Years of the Fletcher Fu24 In New Zealand, NZ Aviation News Ltd, 2004

ZK-DZN photo courtesy Eddie Bleackley

Zac Yates

August 2009

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