Dave, I believe the main reason for flying NZ4203 to Woodbourne was that apart from the logistics function of disposing of the whole fleet in one place, the access to the Airbus heavy engineering staff and equipment, and their familiarity with the Orions made the dismantling straight forward. The fuselage (as seen on Seven Sharp last nite) is around 80ft long which is why they are using the inland route for transhipping to Wigram. It will go into storage for sometime until it can be reassembled as a whole aircraft and put on display. If the others are to be parted out and the remaining hulks scrapped, it would be a great thing to retain the forward fuselage of one complete with instruments etc and turn it into a display with working lights etc at the museum.
Post by Dave Homewood on Sept 6, 2023 12:03:26 GMT 12
I have heard and read opposing rumours on the other five. One is that they are to be parted out at Woodbourne, the other is they are heading to North America to become fire bombers. It will be interesting to see what the actuality will be.
Now that's what I call a trailer! This is what it takes to move a Lockheed P-3K2 Orion - and, yes, it is extremely difficult to parallel park. Fortunately, we've got a team of heavy haulage specialists in charge as we hit the road with the fuselage of NZ4203 this week. It is a 455km-long trip from RNZAF Base Woodbourne to Christchurch through the Lewis Pass, and it will take a lot of care and patience. All going well we will have our beautiful one-careful-owner Orion safely tucked away in our hangar at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand at Wigram by Thursday. The timetable is subject to change, but you can check in here for updates each day from the trip. #RNZAF #rnzaf #p3orion✈️
Post by planecrazy on Sept 26, 2023 8:04:11 GMT 12
Makes me wonder about if they could do the same with a Herc? Imagine a Hercules will end up at Wigram as well, would it still be possible to land one at Wigram? If not I guess the obvious would be land at Harewood then road to Wigram?
Per earlier discussion in the thread, to those with the knowledge it makes sense to dismantle at Woodbourne where the heavy maintenance facilities exist. It's not like they can take it apart on the apron at Christchurch International.
Post by Dave Homewood on Sept 30, 2023 9:59:10 GMT 12
Media Release: 28 September 2023:
NZ4203 lands at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand
The Air Force Museum of New Zealand has welcomed the latest addition to its aircraft collection – a Lockheed P-3K2 Orion NZ4203.
NZ4203 is a national hero, flying more than 27,000 hours during its illustrious 54-year career. It took part in hundreds of missions including search and rescue operations, anti-submarine patrols and spent thousands of hours protecting New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
Air Force Museum of New Zealand Collections Manager Darren Hammond said NZ4203 had arrived at the museum in perfect condition on 29 September following a 455km road trip from RNZAF Base Woodbourne to its final home in the Christchurch.
The trip was a logistical challenge, with the aircraft being shipped over the Lewis Pass in two convoys.
The wings, engines and propellers were transported first, with the fuselage and empennage following two weeks later.
NZ4203 attracted a huge amount of interest along the way as Kiwis turned out to see the unusual convoy go by.
“You don’t see an Orion on the road every day and it made for a great trip. NZ4203 is a national hero, and we were delighted to see it recognised. We can now get on and ensure its preservation for the nation.’’
“We look forward to being able to tell the many stories associated with this extraordinary aircraft type which served us so well for so long.’’
Built by Lockheed in Burbank California in 1966, NZ4203 entered service with the RNZAF in April 1967. In 2021 it became the first of the type to retire from service when it flew a farewell mission to land at RNZAF Base Woodbourne.
Mr Hammond said the Orion fleet had given a huge amount of service over 54 years and NZ4203 deserved a happy retirement at the museum where it will be preserved as the only surviving RNZAF example of the type, as it was for its last mission – minus any sensitive military equipment.
“NZ4203 was the first RNZAF Orion to land in Antarctica back in 2006. It has also taken part in numerous humanitarian and search and rescue missions and has been a lifesaver for many people who have found themselves needing help a long way from home.’’
NZ4203 served with No. 5 Squadron at RNZAF Base Whenuapai and was regularly upgraded to extend its lifespan, receiving new avionics and radio systems in the 1980s and new wings in the 1990s.
The aircraft was decommissioned at RNZAF Base Woodbourne in Blenheim.
It is being stored in the museum’s reserve collection hangar until an exhibition space large enough to house it can be built.
NZ4203 is 36m long, has a wingspan of just over 30m, and its tail stands 10.3m tall.
“Our current exhibition halls are too small to accommodate it, so we’re busy working on plans for a new space to exhibit it,’’ Mr Hammond said. “We will keep everyone posted on our plans as they progress.’’
The Air Force Museum of New Zealand is a world class heritage operation with more than 30 aircraft and more than 1 million artefacts in its collection. The Christchurch museum attracts more than 150,000 visitors each year and is free to the public.
It includes a memorial to the more than 4,600 Kiwis who have died while serving with the RNZAF or other air forces since 1915.
NZ4203 has been donated to the museum by the RNZAF. The Orions have been replaced by a fleet of four Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft. ENDS
For more information or pictures please contact: David King Communications Manager Air Force Museum of New Zealand firstname.lastname@example.org 021 499 602
I see they persist in the myth that the Orions entered service in April 1967, rather than the true date of August 1966 (NZ4201) and December 1966 (NZ4202, '03, '04 and '05). The Whenuapai station history records the actual delivery dates (01 27 Aug 66, 02 10 Dec 66, 03 & 04 11 Dec 66 and 05 12 Dec 66), but the Doomsday Book shows 1 Aug 66 for 01 and 02, with the other three as 4 Jan 67 as the date BoC.
Not sure, Dave, but the Sunderlands ceased flying in March 1967, so there may be some correlation in that. I remember quite a bit of Orion flying early in 1967 as the crews bedded in. The US-trained crews got up to speed fairly quickly and conversion courses were also underway. Ground crew training had been in progress since August. I did an Orion APG and Instrument course very shortly after I arrived at Whenuapai at the end of October, went onto the flight line and did the first NZ After Flight servicing for Instruments on 4205 on its arrival 12 December.