Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 9, 2006 19:05:42 GMT 12
After Trevor Bland's beautiful Venom (ZK-VNM) unfortunately crashed on take off at Ardmore back in the 1990's, was any consideration given towards restoring it?
I saw the fuselage in the Warbirds hangar a couple of years later, about 1995 I think, and at that time it was just a shell but it did look as if a little woodwork had been done on it. Was this the case?
I really miss seeing the lovely aircraft at airshows, in it's RNZAF colours. The replacement Venom in the orange and white Swiss scheme was also nice but not as good to me. Even that has disappeared from the public gaze now too sadly.
Has anyone got photos of the original Venom to share please?
I can answer this one authoritatively as I was involved with the disposal of this machine when I worked at Gulf Aeronautics approx 1992. The wreck was written off but purchased back by Grant Biel, one of the original syndicate. (Grant also owned Sea Fury ZK-SFR). Grant then puchased a replacement Venom (a Mk IV) in the USA. This was also ex Swiss air force, but a later model to the original mark I. the Mk I was in terrible shape as the wing had been smashed back to the rear spar, and the monocoque wooden pod had broken in many places. The nature of the wooden construction is such that repair / restoration would be extremely difficult. At the time there were plenty of ex swiss machines on the market and it wasnt ever considered worth repairing. The mark IV was in very good condition, but still required an extensive tidy up, replacing the fabric on the pod, repainteing the whole structure, renewing the wiring and plumbing and reversing some shoddy US restoration work. The Mark I was used as a spares source during this exercise as many of its systems were only freshly overhauled. An awful lot of bits were taken out of the hulk. During this time the fabric was taken off the mark I pod to determine the location of certain fittings underneath it. As the mark IV had a very different nose and tail fin shape (the Mk I had its vampire style nose fitted when it was restored, but the mk IV was even more different) Grant didnt think a NZ scheme was appropriate, so the Flame red and White scheme was chosen - it didnt please everyone but it did suit the aircraft and it looked great low and fast. I know Grant didnt fly the Venom much, but I wonder where it has gone to? I have some photos of the MkIvs first flight (in natural metal finish) but I will have to hunt them. Unfortunately nothing of the Mk I in happier days...
If it was supposed to be easy. everyone would be doing it...
Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 29, 2006 21:46:08 GMT 12
This message was accidentally posted in the wrong thread by Phil82, I have shifted it
Err...I served with 208 Sqn some years ago when they flew Venom FB4s, before swapping them for Hunter FGA9s ; I also know Trevor Bland, we were in the air force at the same time, in fact we were on a SEASTAG committee at one time. I've also flown in a Vampire T11, so I know the difference. I could be wrong about seeing them [the Venoms] together however! I often am!
Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 30, 2006 10:06:28 GMT 12
New Zealand Military Aircraft 1913-1977 (Duxbury et al, 1977) confirms that Vampires were used by No. 14 Squadron in Singaporefrom April-Vovemeber 1955. They used an unspecified number of Vampire FB.9's (probably 16 at a time as this was how many were used in Cyprus, and how many Venoms were on squadron strength). They also used T.11's in Singapore.
Venoms were introduced in May 1955 and served till May 1958, so the Squadron must have had a period of six months operating both types.