One famous New Zealand incident occured at a public flying display when an aircraft misjudged its height and scrapped the runway.
Donated to the museum when retired in the 1960's the aircraft was towed from its old home base at Hobsonville to the Keith Park Memorial Airfield site via the Waitamata Harbour. It was then dragged up onto hard ground on its beaching gear, and onto its new home. The aircraft was displaying outside along with the Solent and Lancaster and came under increasing critisium in the 1980's for its condition and lack of care. After the current main hanger was completed for the other two large exhibits the Sunderland was towed by tractor around to its current display and restoration location.
This great video was put together and shared by Dave Homeward who runs the Wings Over New Zealand forum.
Sitting outside on display in the humid marine environment has been hard on the airframe, but being a complete aircraft to start with certainly makes restoration a lot easier than for some other examples such as the Avenger or Mosquito. It is understood that the aircraft will be moved onto the out hard stand surface of the Belfast Hanger so that further restoration work can take place. The current medium term plan is to have the aircraft displayed undercover as part of the new aviation hanger development.
Included here are some of my early photos of the Sunderland from when I first got to know her in 1988 as a fourteen year old helping out with the Aviation Section.
Directly behind the cockpit seat were two positions for the radio operator and the navigator. The radio operator seat was missing but there did seem to be a significant amount of electrical equipment still sitting there from the day it was taken out of service. The door in the center leads to a mezzanine floor in the rear fuselage area.
This is the mezzanine floor behind the cockpit area and above the gallery and sleeping quarters on the first deck. Running through this area is the flap actuating gear located underneath the curved corrugated cover on the lower left of this photo.
Close up of the bomb racks.
View of the bomb racks in the lower deck cabin.
General view of the central corridor looking forward from the rear compartment. The whole of the rear fuselage was painted in military dark green was I assume was put their by some well meaning volunteers.
For more pictures of both exterior and interior see Kiwi Aircraft Images:
There are only five complete examples of the Short Sunderland (and civil version Sandringham) flying boats left in the world.
Mk V - MOTAT
Mk V - RAF Museum, Hendon, UK
Mk V - Imperial War Museum, Cosford, UK
Mk V / Sandringham - Airworthy with Kermit Week's Fantasy of Flight Museum
Sandringham - Southampton Hall of Aviation in the UK
- Sunderland moved inside the main Aviation Display Hanger (Michael Frawley on Twitter)
- Wing bomb rack covers under restoration in the Belfast Hanger 2009 (Richard Wesley)
- All photo gallery shots (Richard Wesley)