Thanks go to Ron Wilson for pointing out the following anniversary: "50 years ago today (Saturday 7 May 1966) the Solent ZK-AMO was towed
across the harbour from Hobsonville to Meola Creek. I gather things
didn't go completely to plan because it was left on the mudflats
overnight before it was hauled out next day. Then it was towed down the
Reef, across Meola Rd and up the slope and successfully positioned near
the school boundary,facing out to the harbour. It was the first exhibit
to occupy the new site which was a bare open patch of clay with the
rubbish tip still in full operation at the other side of the property.
The Solent stood alone there over that winter and defied the vandal and
arson attacks until it was joined by the Sunderland in the following
February. It had to wait outside for a further twenty five years until financial
support could be rallied to build Stage II of the first aviation display hall. Fast
forward another twenty five years to today and the Solent takes pride of place in
the new display hall. But there is still unfinished business. An
extensive restoration program was commenced and the Museum is still fund
raising the substantial amount to complete it. Along with the
Sunderland these projects are the priorities for the budget and
workforce at present and are examples of the long term commitment that
is required when a large exhibit is acquired."
Three new aircraft are on display having recently been placed on permanent loan to Motat by the Royal New Zealand Air Force. First to arrive, after some time in Motat storage, was the De Havilland Devon NZ1813, which is in excellent condition and complements the many other De Havilland types already in the collection. The next two were high performance aircraft, the Aermacchi jet trainer and Douglas A4 Skyhawk fighter.
The wonderful restoration of the Grumman Avenger is now complete following an extensive long term restoration project. The aircraft is currently just inside the back doors, but may eventually take it's place in the Fleet Air Arm display area at the front of the main display hanger. The hydraulic system of this WWII carrier aircraft is operational, allowing display of the bomb doors and folding wings.
Work continues the large Sunderland flying boat While a large number of items have been restored over the last few years including under wing bomb doors and bomb racks, and cockpit glazing, the main aircraft exterior requires completion before moving into the display hanger. Both wings are now completely finished and work will quickly progress now to finishing the rear of the main fuselage.
Another recent development was the addition of nose art and new serial number to the port side of the Lancaster. Its port side paintwork now represents Lancaster NE181 JN-M "The Captain's Fancy" which served with 75 (New Zealand) squadron and completed over 100 bombing missions in Europe during WWII. A replica grand slam 22,000lb bomb is also now on display, along with a documentary film about New Zealanders serving with Bomber Command.
- Overview of the new aviation display hanger (Richard Wesley)
- Aermacchi jet trainer (Motat Facebook Page)
- Avenger under wraps in Belfast Hanger (Richard Wesley)
- Sunderland port wing undergoing repainting (Richard Wesley)
- Lodestar indoors for first time in 45 years (Richard Wesley)
- Lancaster's new nose art (Richard Wesley)