Post by Dave Homewood on Dec 19, 2005 22:09:47 GMT 12
Oh yeah, my list:
Part One - The Five Aircraft Types I Most want to See Added - Blackburn Baffin - significant prewar and till 1941 in defence (replica will do) - Lockheed PV-1 Ventura - DH89 Dominie - played many roles in RNZAF - surprised they haven't sourced one - Supermarine Walrus - Hawker Hind
Those they already have that I am really looking forward to seeing restored Catalina - fat chance Oxford P40E Vildebeeste Mosquito
Chance Vought Corsair - my all time favourite aircraft (in case anyone hadn't noticed!) and deserves to be displayed at Wigram as a lasting tribute to the 424 F4U-1, F4U-1D and FG-1D Corsairs operated by the RNZAF from 1944-48.
Bristol Fighter - gifted by the United Kingdom as one of the foundations for military aviation in NZ, and famous as the type that escorted the Southern Cross into Wigram in 1928.
Lockheed Ventura - a type that saw service in the Pacific with the RNZAF and was also flown by NZ pilots in Europe. Undeservingly long forgotten by too many people.
Hawker Hind - a truly beautiful aeroplane from an era when the biplane was rapidly being replaced by the monoplane and the dark clouds of WW2 were gathering on the horizon.
Gloster Grebe - an aeroplane that spans the period between the NZPAF and the birth of the RNZAF. Worthy of display.
(In the meantime, is it too much to ask that the RNZAF Museum light the display hangar a little better??? They really don't want people photographing their collection, do they!)
I'd like a Corsair, Hastings, Ventura, Avro 504 and a Brewster Buffalo please. Corsair and Ventura for thier Pacific war service. Hastings as they were essential to maintain our links globally. Avro 504 as the earliest NZPAF aircraft (after the Bleriot) and a buffalo to show the desparateand heroic struggle put in by 488 sqn in the last days before the fall of Singapore. Of course that would be after the Catalina, P40, oxford, Vildebeeste and Mozzie are completed, and the BI-8 canberra displayed as an RNZAF BI-12! Me thinks a new display building would be good as well, allowing all the extra stuff to be displayed properly without the brd bombing. (I actually quite like the lighting effects in the existing building, but then I am a lighting technician!)
If it was supposed to be easy. everyone would be doing it...
Post by Dave Homewood on Dec 20, 2005 12:20:38 GMT 12
There is a new building planned Bruce. When I was there last year I was told by a mate who works there that a large building is planned to sit beside No. 1 Hangar on the existing apron, which will be big enough to display most of the stuff in the storage hangar and also the Andover, and allow the restoration shop to expand into the storage hangar too. I guess these days it is much more difficult to raise money for such a building than it was in the pre-1987 days, as most veterans are gone and so has the enthusiasm of those days sadly.
Did you know a complete Buffalo was found in Malaysia (or Singapore, can't recall wich) not too long ago, 1980's I think, and the developers who found it, buldozed it into the ground!! There are only two in the world now! Fools.
Do you think the Canberra project will actually be completed? Big job, especially when they have a Canberra on display already. Personally I'd sell the Aussie Canberra and restore the 'Kiwi' one (or get a genuine Kiwi one in from India). I mean the Aussie Canberra is practically airworthy, someone will buy it.
I'd heard that there were plans to extend the museum, so it'll be interesting to watch how it all goes. I'm sure Auntie Helen will donate to a worthy cause!
I don't think the RAAF Canberra is very flyable, as I recall that when it was flown across the Tasman in 1984 it was speed and g-limited due to a crack in the spar. I biked out to Wigram on that afternoon to watch the Canberra arrive with its escort of two 75 Sqn Skyhawks, and it was all very exciting!
With a new building (and the mythical unlimited funds,) think about how the various aircraft could be displayed - how about a big walk through Pacific Island Diorama with the P40, Corsair, Avenger, Hudson and Ventura - complete with Coral dust, oil drums and palm trees. The BI-8 Canberra and Bristol freighter could show the 1960s Malayan campain. The Videbeeste and Avro 626 could show the prewar days and the Oxford, Anson and Harvard could show BCATP aircrew being briefed for thier days lessons. If the Catalina ever gets finished it could be displayed with the ASR launch alongside, to commemorate the maritime squadrons. A mock up Frigate helicopter deck could have the Wasp on it, with the Seasprite mounted flying overhead to show shipboard ops. (I'd also continue to use theatrical lighting, but maybe increase the levels a bit as a compromise....)
BTW the Pacific display would include models of ground crews stripping an Allison or R2800, belting ammo, cleaning guns etc, as this area is too often overlooked. add a NAAFI canteen truck as well probably.
If it was supposed to be easy. everyone would be doing it...
Post by Dave Homewood on Dec 20, 2005 18:02:36 GMT 12
Great ideas there, and in one special refrigerated room, the Auster and Beaver - like at the Antarctic Centre at Harewood where you walk through the really cold room. Maybe they could even get some King Penguins from Kelly Tarlton's.
I do love the idea of a stand-alone Pacific theatre display hall. Marston Matting, canvas tented workshops, also I'd love to see them make an example of the tents that airmen lived in up in the island, with rats, snakes, the lot. All the heat pumped out of the Antarctic room could be pumped into this one to make it tropical - actually, that would be very bad for the planes.
If they'd bothered to keep the Henry Wigram hangars a great NZPAF display hall could have been made in one of them. But those historic buildings, perhaps some of the most historic in Christchurch, have now gone!
Unfortunately, I didn't get photos because I didn't really have a camera back then. I used to borrow a camera from my sister every now and again, but I didn't have it that day.
It was really overcast with drizzle for most of the day, but by mid-afternoon the cloud had blown away and made for a lovely afternoon for watching the Canberra and Skyhawks fly into Wigram. One of the Skyhawks was a T-bird and had a photographer onboard, and they did several passes over the airfield before heading back to Ohakea. The last pass was low and highspeed which is always excellent to watch!
Just as an aside, Dave: I believe the A-4K was flown by none other than John Lanham-the-Avro-626-driver.
Post by Dave Homewood on Dec 22, 2005 22:04:05 GMT 12
Yes, the Dauntless was not even in the second hangar with the stored aircraft when I was there in Feb 04. I assume it was stored either elsewhere on the base or at RNZAF Weedons. I never saw it in the Museum on display but did see it out at Weedons in the storage hangars during a personal tour one day.
I would LOVE to see a complete Dauntless on display. There are some complete ex-RNZAF ones in the USA, and two of them fly! One is the Planes of Fame one, I cannot recall the other flyer.
I am told however there are more than you think in NZ. Someone on the FlyPast forum reckons there are several stored in barns in NZ. I didn't believe it but then looked into it, and the end fate of many is not clear. A number of the ones used in NZ went to scrappers, but as the Hudsons around NZ prove, that does not mean they were scrapped.
Surely one of the SAAF museums (many) spare PV-1s is not too far out of the realm of possibility.
Also, maybe the should approach the lotteries commission and and get a grant to purchase Ross Jowetts Corsair (its still for sale) and save it from leaving the country, after all it is a genuine RNZAF survivour.
I personally think that the Ventura should be a priority because not only was it extensivley used in the pacific it was also used by kiwis in Europe. e.g No.487 (New Zealand) Squadron, RAF, whose Squadron leader, L.H.Trent won his V.C whilst flying a mission in a Ventura.
..................................................Horses racing a Hudson along the runway at Norfolk Island, April 1943...................................................