Looks like they've lost the TBM to Tauranga..crane and truck here picking it up today and yesterday. On the positive side, Tauranga is planning to give it a full restoration job. (Not to flying status though)
Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 20, 2014 12:49:55 GMT 12
I've just had a call from Paul Corrin of GAPS. The news is even better. GAPS still owns the Avenger, but they have done a brilliant 50/50 partnership deal with Classic Flyers. The Tauranga museum was looking for a new project and so under this deal they are taking on the Avenger restoration. The aircraft is headed to Tauranga to be restored by Classic Flyers and GAPS members together. Tauranga will have it for five years so after the restoration is finished it will remain on display at Classic Flyers till the five years is up, then it will return to Gisborne.
GAPS had been working on the restoration already of course but they have far fewer members than the Classic Flyers museum has, and this move will speed up its restoration significantly. It will also allow a lot more people to see it on display while in Tauranga, before it returns to the home of the Avenger squadrons at Gisborne.
Paul said that as well as this they are continuing to work on the hangar and will be laying concrete on the floor in sections between now and Christmas. So when the Avenger finally returns home all pristinely restored by the great team at Tauranga, it will have a finished hangar to go into and displays ready for it.
Well done to GAPS and Classic Flyers Museum for such an excellent move.
I was at Classic Flyers last weekend to have a look at the finished Catalina Display and all the talk was of the GAPS Avenger coming for Restoration as early as this week I believe. Everyone I talked to was very excited and enthusiastic about the deal. I had considered posting the gossip here but decided to leave it for the official announcement. I am glad it has come to pass!! These guys at CF have done some fabulous work over the last few years converting what is often lumps of scrap into Museum Displays that the Public can actually get their hands on. A great result for all I reckon.
I asked that question and the answer was "that would be nice but who knows if the engine is even any more than a casing at this stage". Now this suggests it will be looked at depending on the condition and completeness. Again CF have a history of pushing their projects as far as they are reasonably able(e.g. the Kittyhawk can taxi). No doubt it will be a GAPS decision as it was suggested they would be paying for any Parts etc. I am sure it will become clear in the Fullness of time and I for one will be visiting CF at every opportunity to watch progress. Something to look forward to on my regular visits to Tauranga.
If my memory banks serve me correctly the engine is complete apart from thing on the rear accesory case at the back like Carb magnetos, generator and starter but they could be sourced. However all the oil cooling system is missing and all the linkages are too for the engine controls to the cockpit (although GAPS may have sourced some as we are talking the last time I saw her whcih was mid 1980s. Yes it could be possible to retun her to running condition but would need a lot of parts and money plus is the engine in need of a partial strip to check out that possibility won't end up with a seized engine! Plus the prop would need to be inspected too. It looks like she has the original Avenger prop fitted.
The Auster should be recognised for what it is: a gentleman's aerial touring carriage and a nice aeroplane.
I worked on this aircraft when it was at Gracefield and Silverstream in the mid 1970's. We had all the cylinders off the engine and sand blasted the whole lot to remove corrosion. There were no engine accessories or anything other than the bare engine. The engine prop and most of the cowls were swapped with NZ2527 when it was at Rotorua. You will find that the gun trough in the cowling has been covered over ( I did that). There is also a large repair in the rear fuselage behind the fuselage door ( look up inside the tail wheel well). The damage occurred when the aircraft was stored at Paraparaumu prior to moving to Gracefield.
Good move to be able to apply more resources and speed up the restoration. I suggested last year that something along these lines was required. Even so it could take all of those 5 years to make a thorough job of it. MOTAT took 7 years to restore 2527 from a similar starting condition. and wouldn't have been able to afford the expenses and manhours for a faster completion. There are couple of big repair jobs that are obvious, the old transit damage to the wings will need careful attention and the bulkhead ahead of the turret bay has to be rebuilt. I would remove the fuel tank access panel in the bomb bay and check there for condition. Both 2527 and 2539 have sustained severe corrosion at this location and it's right at the heart of the airframe. I hope 2505 is found to be healthier.