Post by Dave Homewood on May 28, 2005 3:42:48 GMT 12
Also - Rukuhia Airport (now Hamilton International Airport) - Prototype Turbo Fletcher - on plinth at airport gate - NOW in Waikato Museum of Art and (Maori) History.
Regarding the Darton Field, Gisborne Lockheed Lodestar . I recall seeing it as a lad in about 1983. Dad's really good American friend Bill Cooksey lived in Gisborne and as an ex-pilot (till he lost most of his sight due to diabetes, thanks to crashing a plane in Vietnam and losing his panceas or spleen or something)... said that back then he was involved in a group who wanted to restore it. But it had been on poles too long, and the fert had corroded it so much, it was hopeless. He said if taken off the poles, which they intended to do, the wings would probably droop.
I guess engineering has advanced significantly since then! I had no idea this would be restored to fly - if Bill was alive today he'd be well pleased.
Regarding the Harvard Gate Guard at Wigram, I was on the team that painted it in 1993 from very old rancid, corroded yellow to lovely new Grey/Red paint. I was one who questioned tghe decision to paint it it 1970's colours rather than its traditional 1940's scheme, which I prefered. But the message from on high was, this will be the last time it ever gets painted by the RNZAF (as the base engineering was closing within months) and as the base was being closed, the heirachy decided to reflect both the old history (Harvard) with the recent history (grey/red trainers, eg like the CT-4B's). Fair enough I guess. Then, once we had painted it and were applying final stencilling, our CO, Teresa Cunningham came into the hangar looking very sheepish. As the engineering was closing she'd been cleaning out old filesand found an accord from the 1960's or 1970's from the old boys who'd donated the Harvard in the first place. They'd raised their own funds and donated the Gate Guard especially to reflect the WWII history. It stated (and this was signed by high rankers of the day), that the RNZAF was responsible for its upkeep and under no circumstances was it to ever be repainted in a scheme other than wartime yellow!!! Whoops. Not a lot we could do as the budget was shot and the job done. Teresa binned it I think. A shame.
However when I returned to Wiggers last yer, despite being moved for God knows what bloody stupid reason, the Gate Guard still looked fantastic after 11 years. Made me proud of our work it did. It has not, and probably will not ever, be repainted.
As you may know they have built one of those god awful 'cookie cutter' housing estates on the road to Wigram airfield, but the first house would be pretty neat to own with the Harvard basically on its front lawn, its the showhome at the moment.
..................................................Horses racing a Hudson along the runway at Norfolk Island, April 1943...................................................
Post by Dave Homewood on May 28, 2005 11:11:41 GMT 12
Nice pics Marcus.
NZ1050 doesn't look quite so glossy in that bright sunlight, when I was there last year it was peeing down with rain and in the gloom she looked very nice.
I still can't fathom why they shifted the entire plinth from one side of the gate to the other. I asked the guide at the Museum and he swore blind it hadn't moved. It had. The Harvard used to be on the left as you went in, now it's on the right. It must have cost a fortune to do that.
Yup, One of Teals S30 boats (AMA or AMC was at Mission bay for a while - I think it was AMA "Aotearoa" although Ive got a 50% chance of being wrong!
Dave, just a thought about NZ1050's Plinth at Wigram -I got the impression when I visited in december 2002 that the roadway from the gate to the museum entrance was fairly new, part of the housing devopment - Perhaps the road was realigned to the other side to make way for the housing and improve traffic flows - just an idea.... ( I had never been there when it was a "real" air base...)
If it was supposed to be easy. everyone would be doing it...
Post by Dave Homewood on Jun 6, 2005 10:42:23 GMT 12
I never knew about that flying boat becoming a tearoom, what a great idea. Such a pity it never survived.
Regarding the Wigram gate, this is perhaps a possibility but if it had been realigned, it was not by very much. Iwonder if they'd sold the land on the other side of the road perhaps and had to shift it off.