General Aviation

Published on September 27th, 2021 | by FII Reader

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A Brief History of EI-APF

By Kevin McGrath

The night before I was travelling back to Ireland from Dundee I was chatting to my good friend and previous owner of EI-APF, Oliver Kennedy. EI-APF was the first aircraft I ever sat into, when I was in my early teens Oliver would take me flying most weekends in this airplane. It was from those many trips to Breakfast fly-ins and airshows that my love of flying began. Little was I was to know that this aircraft would have such a history attached to it and still has to this day.

The aircraft ordered was serial number 0056. This aircraft was never delivered to Dublin; instead, it went to Helsinki, Finland as OH-CEU. In its place, a Cessna 150G, serial number 0112, was allocated the registration EI-APF on the 6th March 1966. It was sold to Midlands Flying Club, Birr, Offaly in March 1973.

During its time at the Midlands Flying Club, club instructor at the time Gay Tracy and Alex Bailey flew the plane to Amsterdam with only maps and a compass in those days. Commercial pilots Captain Pat Lanigan Ryan flew this plane when it was in Dublin and Captain Jerome Lordan completed his first solo flight on EI-APF on the 6th October 1973 at Birr. I had the pleasure of flying with Capt Lordan when I was a first officer at Stobart Air and Captain Lanigan Ryan was my examiner for my command upgrade within Stobart air and coincidently gave me my first ever flying lesson in 2005 at Birr on EI-AST.

Gay Tracy and Alex Bailey prior to their flight to Amsterdam.

In October 1981, its ownership transferred to Oliver and was based at his farm in Nenagh, Tipperary. On the 3rd of August 1989, at the Stradbally Steam Traction Rally, its nose wheel and the underside of the front fuselage were damaged in a heavy landing. Thankfully, there were no injuries to the occupants. It was repaired and on the 18th June 1998 became part of Sligo Aero Club. On the 26th December 1998, a hangar door collapsed on it during a storm at Sligo resulting in the aircraft being written off. The fuselage was last noted on a trailer at Perth, Scotland on the 23rd April 2003.

It was during our conversation on the phone that Oliver mentioned the last known location of EI-APF. I had a mid-afternoon flight home from Edinburgh the following day and given the fact that I had to drive very close to Perth on route to the airport, I said I’d do some investigating to see if I could locate the plane 20 years on from leaving Ireland. With some help from GA specialist William Flood, we narrowed our search down to the most likely location to ACS Aviation at Perth Aerodrome.

When I first called into reception at the school they had no idea what aircraft I was talking about as they only had UK registered aircraft. However when a young student overheard my conversation he bought to the attention of the flight school manager that they had an Irish registered aircraft but that it was used for fire training.

We took a walk down to the back of hangar and sure enough there it was. EI-APF twenty plus years since I’d last seen it. I found out after that the school had originally purchased it as a restoration project but after 10 plus years sitting in a hangar it was taken out and now serves as a shell for fire training at the school. EI-APF may not be flying anymore but to see it still serve a purpose in aviation so long since its original time as a trainer in Birr, it’s hard not to get a little nostalgic looking at it.  

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