Gisborne Aviation Preservation Society (GAPS) has changed its name to Tairawhiti Aviation Museum and plans to open its doors more often to cater for school groups, tourists and the public. The organisation has formed a trust to manage the museum and its interests there. “We intend to open the hangar for an extra day a week, on a Tuesday, from 9am to 4pm,” said museum spokesman Dick Neill. “We want to better expose the facility as an addition to Gisborne’s tally of attractions for tourists, the local populace and schools in particular.” The museum has been open only from 9am till 1pm on Sundays, plus on request. Mr Neill said the organisation decided to form a trust to protect the museum because it is a community asset. “We felt the museum was a bit vulnerable because of changes in the way community facilties are now administered under current legislation. “The increase in hours is obviously to make the museum more accessible. “We will consider increasing the opening hours further if the demand is there from the public.”
The first Darton Field Wings and Wheels is to be held in Gisborne on January 19 2019
Gisborne Aircraft Preservation Society (GAPS) will hold an aircraft handling day and there will be New Zealand Military Vehicles Club vehicles as well as cars from the Gisborne Vintage Car Club and Gisborne American Car Club on display. Called Darton Field Wings and Wheels because that was the original name of Gisborne Airport, it is hoped to make it a biennial event, said GAPS member Granville Jones. “The big news is we will be having another warbird flying in and on display — the Curtis Kittyhawk. People can also pay to have a joyride in her.” This aircraft was in action in the Pacific War against Japan, Mr Jones said. The Royal New Zealand Air Force operated 197 Kittyhawk aircraft from 1942 until 1944, he said. They shot down a “confirmed” 99 Japanese aircraft, with another 14 listed as “probable”. “We lost only 26 of our aircraft in the operations so the Kittyhawk is a very significant aircraft in our history.” The Kittyhawk was known to outperform the British Spitfire up to 10,000 feet. Anybody who wants to book a ride in her can email Mr Jones at email@example.com for more information and costs.
As well as the Kittyhawk, GAPS hopes to have formation and aerobatic displays from three Harvard aircraft. “This is always good as there is no sound quite like the big radial engines in these aircraft.” It was looking likely there would also be a de Havilland Venom jet fighter coming from Ohakea, he said. There will be plenty of other visiting aircraft as well but flying is always subject to weather, so organisers are keeping their fingers crossed.
Entry is $15 for adults, $5 for school-age children and no charge for children under school-age. There will be a family entry of $40 for two adults and three children. “Please bear in mind that these shows are very expensive to put on as we have to pay many thousands of dollars to get the aircraft here,” Mr Jones said. Car parking will be available on Aerodrome Road through the gate on the left. Gates will open at 12pm for a 1pm start to the show. “This gives you time to inspect the vehicles on show and talk to their proud owners, and maybe buy some lunch for yourself and your family.” There will be plenty of food available and entertainment for everyone.
GAPS is working closely with the New Zealand Warbirds Association based at Ardmore Airport and the Classic Flyers Museum at Tauranga.