Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 31, 2020 11:58:24 GMT 12
The latest WONZ Show is now available, and I think it will be a popular one. The guest is Charles Darby!
In this episode Dave Homewood and Bevan Dewes sat down with the legendary Charles Darby at his home in Auckland. Charles has always had a passion for historical aviation since he was a child and used to spend a lot of time as a kid at the graveyard of WWII aeroplanes at Rukuhia in Hamilton. He would eventually be involved in the recovery of P-40E NZ3009 from there, an aircraft that went on to spend time in MOTAT before being restored to flight and becoming a regular on the British and then the New Zealand airshow scenes.
Charles was invited by American tycoon David Tallichet to lead expeditions into the Pacific islands to locate and rescue WWII aircraft from there. He and Monty Armstrong recovered around 25 aeroplanes, including Bell Airacobras, Curtiss P-40’s, Bristol/DAP Beauforts, CAC Boomerangs and Supermarine Spitfires.
Also discussed is Pacific Aircraft Restorations Ltd, a company that Charles set up with the late Jim Pavitt to restore P-40’s. That company later became Pioneer Aero Ltd which is still restoring warbirds at Ardmore Airport, Auckland.
Charles also talks about his late friend John Smith, of Mapua, who collected several old aeroplanes and saved them from being scrapped.
And of course Charles has written three books. RNZAF The First Decade is a classic, as is Pacific Aircraft Wrecks. And more recently he has written Australia’s Liberators.
This was a fantastic episode I've been wanting to hear for a long, long time. I hope Charles - or someone else - one day records his stories for another book, I feel like we got a great selection of his life but not as much as could be shared.
Thank you Charles for speaking with Dave and Bevan, and to Dave for putting this out. It's not often I listed to a podcast episode twice but I'll be listening to this one again tomorrow while working on my models!