Ex Collection Aircraft

A number of aircraft have been held in the MOTAT collection and passed on for various reasons. These include:

Westland Wasp
This type of helicopter was operated by the New Zealand Navy from their frigates. As such it is equipped with folding rotors and wheeled undercarriage for movement into storage.

This example was on long term loan to the museum from the RNZN Musuem, until a display building was completed for their complete collection. The Wasp made an excellent addition to the Fleet Air Arm Displays and I hoped that its association with the museum will be longer.

P-47 Thunderbolt 42-8066
This example was operated by the 4911(F) group in New Guinea. The 'Jug' was recovered in 1975 by Bill Chapman and Charles Darby from a swamp about 40 kilometres from Port Moresby. It had forced landed after running out of fuel. Believed to be the oldest P-47 extant, the aircraft went on display at MoTaT.

The condition of the aircraft when it arrived at MOTAT was very poor, the plane having survived a swamp fire, and being cut into five pieces. As a result, the initial 'restoration' was really a job in patching up the remains to appear as a real aircraft, when in fact much of it was fibreglass, steel tubing and galvanised iron, pop riveted onto the frame. With no real connection with New Zealand aviation, it was passed to the RNZAF museum in 1993 in exchange for the restoration of the MOTAT Mosquito wing. For the same reasons as MOTAT the RNZAF subsequently used the P47 as a swap item to obtain a Sopworth Pup for their collection in Christchurch.

This P47 is now in Sydney, Australia, being restored to airworthy condition. Further details can be found at: http://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/p-47/42-8066.html

Auster T7c (antarctic modified)
This aircraft was in the collection for some time, but due to its damaged state was swapped with the RNZAF Museum for the MOTAT's current Auster ZK-BWH. The RNZAF undertook a wonderful restoration job and the aircraft is displayed along with a Beaver which also operated on the ice.

Vikers Vildebeast Parts
The parts collected and held by MOTAT were given to the RNAZAF museum as the restoration was considered at the time to be out of the scope of MOTAT. The parts are being used for the restoration of the fuselage section of this large biplane in Christchurch.

Consolidated Catalina Fuselage
Fuselage only was recovered by the museum from overseas in 1975 and was in very poor condition. It had been used for fire crew training for many years at Port Morsby airfield I believe. It was with MOTAT from 1976 to 1986. Donated to the RNZAF in 1996 (or perhaps 1983), it was taken to Hobsonville and initial restoration work carried out. After the formal RNZAF Museum was established, and room available , it was transferred in 1990 into storage at Wigram.

P-40 Kittyhawk NZ3009
This aircraft was a composite, consisting of the fuselage of NZ3009 and the wings from NZ3201. NZ3009 was built as 41-25158/ET482 and was one of the first batch supplied to the RNZAF in April 1942. The aircraft served with No4 OTU as FE-F.

There was a legal dispute where a previous volunteer at the museum claimed ownership of the aircraft. For a museum with limited resources and volunteer goodwill, it was a huge drain on energy and effort that should have been going into furthering the museum. This dispute resulted in the aircraft being dismantled from its display area at MOTAT 1, and it being quite some time before being reassembled for display at MOTAT 2. In the end an agreement was reached where the aircraft was exchanged for another static example NZ3039.

NZ3009 (P-40E c/n19669) was substantially restored to flying condition by Pacific Aircraft Ltd, then finished by Pioneer Aero Restorations Ltd for Ray Hanna of the OFMC. It first flew again in 1998. The aircraft has been displayed in New Zealand, but is now based at Duxford.

Goodyear Corsair NZ5612
This aircraft should still be part of the collection but as I understand it was effectively stolen by an ex museum volunteer. When some of the aircraft collection was located at Ardmore some restoration work was being carried out. When relocation of the museums artefacts took place in the 1970's, the Corsair remained for further work and over time ownership was 'acquired' through possession being 9/10 of the law. The museum management have chosen not to pursue legal action. I believe this aircraft NZ5612 (c/n2904, Bu88090), is either still in storage with at Ardmore, or perhaps, now that those who knew the whole story are few and far between, has been sold in 2005 and moved to the US.

Goodyear Corsair NZ5648 
Another RNZAF Corsair, "Josephine" was on display at the museum for some time in the 1960's but was never fully a part of the MOTAT collection. Restored to taxing condition for the Hamilton Airport opening, it was later sold overseas and is now in flying condition based back in New Zealand at Masterton.

Bell P39D Air Cobra 41-6802
Mentions of this aircraft being associated with the MOTAT collection can be found in several magazines and books. It seems that the airframe was recovered from the pacific islands at around the some time as the P47 (see above) but was never under the ownership of MOTAT or formally part of the collection. It was on display at MOTAT for a short time (I believe 1975 to 1979) before being exported again from New Zealand. Many thanks to Mark Denne for supplying this 1979 colour photo of the Air Cobra on display at MOTAT II, along with many other photos of aircraft on display at that time.

According to the warbirdregistry.org website the aircraft in question is 41-6802, which was shot down by Japanese over Papa New Guinea on 12th May 1942. Further details are listed as: William G. Chapman, Air Museum of PNG, 1970-1972, Kokoda Track War Museum, Port Moresby, PNG, 1972, N. M. Armstrong, Auckland, NZ, 1979, Loaned to Museum of Transportation & Technology, Auckland, 1975-1979, N. M. Armstrong, Auckland, NZ, 1988. 

The site pacificwrecks.com has further information available on this aircraft: “Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York, 41-6802 was delivered to the U.S. Army who disassembled and shipped it to Australia for reassembly. Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 35th Fighter Squadron, the aircraft had no known nose art or nickname. On the 12 May 1942 2nd Lt. Robert M. Wilde (O-427075 (KIA / BR) Iowa) took off in this aircraft from Bomana Drome (12 Mile Drome) near Port Moresby on a local patrol. Returning, A6M2 Zeros of the Tainan Kōkūtai were strafing the airfield. Although low on fuel, Wilde bravely attempted to intercept the Zeros, but was shot down. Possibly, Wilde attempted to land or crash land, but was killed in the crash or was wounded or killed in the combat. During July 1942, the wreckage of this Airacobra was found by the U.S. Army and identified. The wreckage was described as "riddled with bullet holes". During 1972, the wreckage from this Airacobra was recovered from "mountain view" and taken to the The Air Museum of Papua New Guinea, likely by Bill Chapman. During July 1942 when his aircraft was located, Wilde's remains were recovered and were buried at Port Moresby at plot D grave LL2. His date of death was incorrectly listed as July 21, 1942, likely the day he was buried or remains recovered. Wilde was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, posthumously. Later, his remains were exhumed and reburied at the Hawaii Memorial Cemetery (Punchbowl), at Plot B Row 0 Grave 1113. Wilde also has a memorial marker at Graceland Park Cemetery in Sioux City, Iowa.”

I still have not been able to identify just where this aircraft currently is located, though there are references to it now being in Australia being restored to fly. Any updates would be welcome.

DH84 Dragon ZK-AXI
Crashed at Ardmore after suffering engine failure on takeoff with a load of parachutists on 23 April 1967. The remains gathered dust in an Ardmore hangar for some years before being sold to MOTAT. Stan Smith gained possession of the aircraft in 1982 after a swap with MOTAT for a Fox Moth, and transported the remains to his workshop at Dairy Flat Airfield. On 23 April 1997, thirty years to the day after it's accident the aircraft flew again as 'Taniwha', a Maori word for a dragon type creature.

Avro Anson
This aircraft was recovered from a farm down south in poor condition, and is now at Dairy Flat with Don Subritzky.

North American Mustang NZ2429
It is sometimes suggested that parts of Mustang NZ2429 were part of the museum collection in the early days, but I have found no evidence of this and there are certainly no Mustang parts at Motat at the moment. I believe that people involved with historic aircraft recovery at the time did collect the remains but I have never learnt where they ended up.

Vampire NZ5705
There were the remains of a two seat trainer Vampire at Motat in the early 1980's as evidenced by this photo. What the complete story was behind NZ 5705 -INST 190 ex I TTS donated to MOTAT 17 Dec 62 I have yet to find out, but I believe the remains of the fuselage were considered beyond repair even when it was received by the museum.

Harvard NZ1053
This aircraft was on display at Motat at its Great North Road site for some years after the museum was formed. It was not owned by the museum and was subsequently restored to flying condition.

Tiger Moth
There are many stories of various Tiger Moths that Motat is meant to have had in the past. It seems most of these stories are explained by the involvement of Gerald Rhodes and his large collection of Tiger Moths in the early days of the museum. Motat itself only has two Tiger Moths in the collection, one painted and displayed as a RNZAF trainer, and the other configured and displayed as a top dresser.

An American Liberator crashed at Wheinuipai and it has been repeated that the wing was once at Ardmore Airfield along side the Motat hanger. On 19 November 2009 a post was left on this website by Mike: "The Liberator Wing did exist and probably was stored at Ardmore but was probably scrapped It had been used as fence in a cow yard in Te Awamutu, I helped dig it out around 1977".

- Wasp on display in the main hanger (Richard Wesley)
- P-47 Thunderbolt acting as gate guardian at Motat in the 1990's (Richard Wesley)
- Auster on display at the RNZAF Museum (Richard Wesley)
- Vickers Vildebeast under rebuild at RNZAF Museum (Richard Wesley)
- Catalina hull in storage at RNZAF Museum (Richard Wesley)
- P-40 Kittyhawk NZ3009 after rebuild to airworthy status (web general)
- Corsair in the hanger of Ross Jowitt 2004 (unknown)

- Corsair NZ5648 on display at "Warbirds Over Wanaka" 2014 (Stephen Martin)
- P39 (unknown web)
- DH Dragon ZK-AXI at Dairy Flat Airfield (web general)
- Avro Anson 2008 (Peter A, Wings Over Cambridge Forum)
- Mustang (Dean S. Pemberton)
- Vampire remains by the Zoo 1980 (Jon L, Wings Over Cambridge Forum)
- Harvard NZ1053 on display at Motat (Richard Wesley Collection)

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