So was April 1967 the month they actually began operational flying?
The first news account I can find of off-shore activity:
Press, 2 February 1967.
Cyclone Will Not Hit N.Z. (NZ Press Association) WELLINGTON Feb.1
Cyclone Dinah was gradually dissolving and almost stationary about 450 miles north-west of Auckland, the Meteorological Office said tonight.... This afternoon the Air Force sent an Orion reconnaissance aircraft and a Canberra bomber into the storm area to collect data. The crews reported that the cyclone had no clearly defined area. They pinpointed the breakaway depression at 500 miles west of Auckland about 3 p.m.
An Air Force Orion aircraft sighted the lone British yachtsman, Sir Francis Chichester, 150 miles north of New Zealand during a routine patrol late today. A message received at the Hobsonville base of the Maritime Surveillance Wing tonight said that the aircraft circled overhead for several minutes to identify and photograph the yacht, Gipsy Moth IV. Sir Francis Chichester appeared on deck and waved to the airmen. The sighting was at 5.30 p.m. The report from the aircraft said the yacht was making about five knots in moderate seas on a south-easterly heading. Visibility was down to one mile and the cloud base was at 300ft.
Re post from emron regarding sighting of Francis Chichester (dated 20th February 1967), this was the occasion that Sir Francis commented on in his autobiography, that the approaching Orion was trailing smoke trails from all engines, and he presumed this indicated that the carburettors must have been set a little on the rich side. Things had changed in aero engines since the heyday of the original DH Gipsy.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 25, 2024 14:18:23 GMT 12
The Air Force Museum of New Zealand is seeking information on the history of the fantastic large scale Lockheed Orion that they have. This from their Facebook page:
P-3 Orion model update! Thanks to everyone who has been in touch as we try to track down the names of the RNZAF team who built our fantastic P-3 Orion model back in 1965.
As mentioned, we believe our 1/8th scale Orion was built in Hobsonville for a display almost 60 years ago now. But there is nothing on the model Orion to tell us about its origins.
A few ex-RNZAF personnel have been in touch to say they remember seeing the P-3 Orion model alongside our C-130 Hercules model in the Hobsonville carpenters’ shop in 1966.
One poster mentioned that Corporals Dick Graham and Noel Symonds were involved in building both models. Our thanks to @vernguy – great clue.
Yesterday we investigated further by partially dismantling the Hercules to have a look inside. Underneath the inside of the main spar is a note (pictured). It says: ‘This model was made by Corporal Davis, Corporal Symonds, Leading Aircraftman Graham, Leading Aircraftman McMorran, Leading Aircraftman Parsons and (Aircraftman?) Towers in the carpenters shop at Hobsonville for the Open Day and Air Display January 1966.’
So, we know who built the Hercules – including Dick Graham and Noel Symonds.
But did the same team build the Orion?
It would be reasonable to assume they were made by the same people. However, we all know what happens when you assume things!
We also have a suspicion that the ‘air display’ was for the opening of Auckland International Airport on 29 January 1966.
What we would love to be able to confirm for sure – from the horse’s mouth so to speak – who built the Orion so we can credit the model makers correctly.
If anyone from this team (Davis, Symonds, Graham, McMorran, Parsons, or Towers) or who knows of them, can get in touch, we would appreciate it.
You can get in touch by commenting below, by direct messaging us, or by emailing email@example.com.
Thanks! And thanks to our models Barf, Raz and Jim for their work dismantling the Herc.