Miles M65 Gemini

Built in 1947 (c/n 6322) and imported for the Wellington Aero Club, the aircraft was registered as ZK-ANT on 31 July 1947. It was later sold to Mr A.B. Baker, who donated her to MoTaT in 1964. This simple lightweight twin engine aircraft was popular in the 1950's and 60's. Around 170 were built in ten different models.

This aircraft is displayed in the corner of the main aviation hanger. It was originally on display at MOTAT I suspended from the ceiling rafters of the Pioneers of Aviation Hanger. To reduce the weight of the aircraft the engines were removed and put into storage, where they still remain. The registration was withdrawn on March 31, 1965. When lifted down from this display position after two decades, a fork lift was used. Unfortunately this resulted in the aircraft being dropped and damage occurring to the nose and starboard undercarriage. The nose section has since been completely repaired and the aircraft repainted in its striking white and red scheme.

Further background information quoted from the web:

"The Gemini was conceived when George Miles realized that the ideal twin would simply be a Messenger with two 100 hp Blackburn Cirrus Minor engines replacing the one 150 hp Cirrus Major. The prototype, G-AGUS, presented no problems with its construction and was first flown by either F G or George Miles on the 26 October 1945. It originally had fixed undercarriage, but this was a temporary measure due to the non-availability of the retractable units that were powered by Miles electric actuators. The airframe was very similar to the Messenger, but the third fin and rudder could be dispensed with due to the higher wing loading and landing speed. It was of plastic bonded plywood construction, with a one piece cantilever wing and non-retractable auxiliary aerofoil flaps and a delightful one piece moulded windscreen.

It had light and well harmonized controls and was very responsive to pilot input. It was also docile at the stall providing it was not mishandled, with it even being possible to stall at full throttle off vertically banked turns in both directions, although naturally a severe wing drop resulted. Perhaps its only adverse handling was a very noticeable swing on take off, but this could be compensated for satisfactorily in the normal manner with full rudder and asymmetric operation of the throttles. It was also noted for its long range, having two 15 gallon outboard tanks in addition to the two 18 gallon tanks that were standard on the Messenger. This gave a range of around 700 miles.

Very few modifications had to be made before it was put into production, but one of the main ones being the addition of leading edge slats between the fuselage and engine nacelles. This was to improve the landing characteristics of a three point touchdown, that had been made difficult due to turbulent airflow over the elevator. The first production machine was G-AIDO, now fitted with the retractable undercarriage units, and it was designated the M.65 1A. It was certified on the 30 August 1946. Another five followed quickly, and the last large scale production run for the Miles company had started."

Due to its fragile wooden construction it is unlightly that ZK-ANT could ever be restored to an airworthy state, though ground running condition should not be out of the question.

Other Gemini Survivors

Five Gemini's in total were imported into New Zealand but only one other survives in storage with Stan Smith at Dairy Flat. There are several of this type exist around the world with six on the UK register alone, including:

G-AKKH Gemini 1A - Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden - Airworthy
G-AKGE Gemini 3C - Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Holywood - Display
G-AKEL Gemini 1A - Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Holywood - Stored
G-AISD Gemini 1A - Airworthy UK
G-AKKB Gemini 1A - UK

- on display at Motat II in 2007 (Richard Wesley)
- suspended from the ceiling of the Motat I hanger 1980's (unknown)


TeddyBoy said...

Very interesting "plane. I was brought to this site after googling G-AKEL which appeared in a 1957 film that I am watching right now; "The Counterfeit Plan".

Anonymous said...

Same here! I'm watching it right now as well. Glad to hear she still exists.

Unknown said...

Yes I'm watching the film now 👌

Unknown said...

Yes I'm watching it now great little plane..

TomUK said...

The film has come round again. I am watching it now in the UK on the Talking Movies channel. November 2020.