Lastest News Update

Feb 2024 -  The huge new Motat display hanger extension is complete, along with an impressive upgrade of the existing large hanger display area. The Motat aviation collection is an international-class display of exceptional aircraft. For more information on opening hours see Motat's main website at

After fifty years on display outside the Short Sunderland has just been moved into the main aviation display hall. This is a wonderful achievement and she looks great with a completely new paint job shining bright white. The move was made possible by placing two of the Lockheed twins, the Ventura and Hudson into storage with their wings removed, and having the DC3 in the main Belfast workshop.

The Solent flying boat has also been moved inside following a complete repaint. There is still interior work to be completed on both the big flying boats but they are now protected and preserved inside finally.

Thanks go to Ron Wilson for pointing out the following anniversary last year: "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 a 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."

The wonderful restoration of the Grumman Avenger is now complete following an extensive long-term restoration project. The aircraft has now taken its place by 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 the display of the bomb doors and folding wings.

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.

A great new video has been produced by Motat to encourage people to volunteer, here is Carolina Gamez, and aviation team member.

Motat hosts talks and events regularly.

- Short Sunderland inside the main Aviation Display Hanger (Michael Frawley on Twitter)
- Overview of the new aviation display hanger (Richard Wesley)
- Avenger under wraps in Belfast Hanger (Richard Wesley)
- Lancaster's new nose art (Richard Wesley)

Douglas Skyhawk

On disbandment of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) fast jet strike wing, a number of Skyhawk aircraft were retained within New Zealand for display at museums. Motat was very fortunate to receive one of these aircraft.

The airframe on display is an Douglas A-4 Skyhawk NZ6206 RNZAF jet fighter. Model A-4K 14089 16/06/1970 Bu157909. Its first flight was from the Douglas Factory at Long Beach on 11 March 1970.

It arrived at Auckland aboard the helicopter carrier USS Okinawa (LPH-3) on 17 May 1970 and was towed by road to Whenuapai. NZ6206 was test flown at Whenuapai on 25 May 1970 before being ferried to RNZAF No.75 Squadron, Ohakea. Transferred to RNZAF No.2 Squadron, Ohakea in 1985, it was in active service there until flown from Ohakea to storage at Woodbourne on 12 December 2002.

Dismantled and trucked to MOTAT in Auckland in three major sections [Wing, front and rear fuselage] it arrived MOTAT Thursday 27 October 2011 and was reassembled in view of the public Friday 28th through Sunday 30 October 2011. The aircraft's engine is displayed alongside the aircraft.

The Youtube clip belong shows a timelapse video of the aircraft being assembled.

- On display in main hanger 2013 (Richard Wesley)
- On display in main hanger 2013 (Richard Wesley)
- Engine on display in main hanger 2013 (Richard Wesley)

Bell 47J-2A Ranger

This early helicopter (s/n 1865) was donated to MOTAT by Helicopters (NZ) Ltd and it was used for over a decade to support the offshore oil rigs and refineries in New Zealand.

The wreck of this machine was found in Caboolture north of Brisbane by Phill Hooker and Phill McGuire in 2007.

Purely for nostalgic reasons and preserving New Zealand aviation history, Myles Tomkins of Airwork Pty Brisbane was commissioned to restore it to full flying condition.

It arrived in a container at Rotocraft in Hamilton in December 2007, where it was put back together. She received the New Zealand certificate of airworthiness again in February 208 and the test flight was carried out by Phill Hooker. This was the first time in 23 years the old girl had New Zealand air going through its rotors.

In March 2019 the aircraft was assembled for display in the main hanger of Motat II.

Aermacchi MB-339CB

Aermacchi MB-339CB NZ6466, c/n 6797. One of 18 advanced jet trainers used by the No. 14 Squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force between 1991 and 2002. RNZAF Base Ohakea, New Zealand. Crew: two, student and instructor 
Length: 10.97 m (36 ft 0 in) Wingspan: 10.86 m (35 ft 7½ in) Powerplant: 1x Rolls-Royce Viper Mk. 632 turbojet, 4,000 lbf (17.8 kN). Delivered to MOTAT and assembled in public view from 31st July 2012

NZ6465 crashed in the Awanui Estuary on the Rangaunu harbour near Kaitaia on October 13, 1993. PLTOFF C.J. Foster and LAC S.E. Gyde made a low level ejection after experiencing severe vibration and loss of thrust following foreign object injestion. This was the RNZAF's first non-aircrew ejection. Both ejected safely but sustained back injuries, landing in mangroves and mud. The aircraft was subsequently retrieved, and after being classified unrepairable was passed to the RNZAF museum.


Ryan STM PT-21

This aircraft was donated to the MOTAT collection on the understanding that it would be restored to airworthy condition. To this end, the aircraft is operated by the New Zealand Warbirds Association based at Ardmore, Auckland.

This is a great video of the aircraft in action posted by the Historical Aviation Film Unit.

The following is from the Warbirds New Zealand website:

"There are currently two Ryans flying in New Zealand, these being an STM-S2 and an ST-3KR (PT-22 Recruit). As the designation would imply, the STM-S2 (c/n 489) is one of the 34 surviving aircraft from the Netherlands East Indies. Entering service as a floatplane, it was given the Dutch serial number S-53 and then, following the aircraft's arrival in Australia, its floats were replaced by normal landing gear and it gained the RAAF serial number A50-13. After being released from the RAAF, it went through several owners in Australia before being imported to this country and registered as ZK-BEM in 1955. Once here, it passed through several further owners before the now derelict aircraft was donated to Auckland's Museum of Transport and Technology in August 1967. The donation was made on the proviso that it be restored to flying condition, however very little was done to the aircraft until 1994 when an agreement was reached between MOTAT and the NZ Warbirds Association. Under the terms of the agreement, NZ Warbirds would restore the aircraft to airworthy condition in return for the exclusive use of it for a set time. Just over four years later (December 13, 1998, to be exact) the Ryan took to the air again as ZK-BEM and presently carries its original S-53 wartime markings."

- Ryan on display for Armore Airshow 1990's (photo from web)
- Aircraft in flight (Rob Neil from web)


Hawker Hind

The Hind was a wonderfully sleek and well proportioned interwar biplane. The British design was a Royal Air Force light bomber of the inter-war years produced by Hawker Aircraft. It was developed from the Hawker Hart day-bomber introduced in 1931.

The Motat example, NZ1518 (ex K6717) was from production batch 3 was later modified by General Aircraft Ltd as a trainer. The aircraft is known to have served with 98(B) Squadron and the Special Duties Flight. Assigned to New Zealand on August 20, 1940.

On 20 November 1941 the Hind crashed in the hills behind Waikanae. The plane was piloted by G Stewart. The plane flew into cloud over the Waikanae foothills and the pilot became spatially disoriented, lost control and spun into the ground in thick bush. The plane was returning from Paraparaumu to Ohakea. The pilot survived the crash and walked out. In 1971 the wreckage was removed from the bush and stored.

This aircraft was under restoration by Don Subritzky at his Albany workshop for eventual static display with MOTAT.

A set of wings were donated to the museum and they were on display for some years at the Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum at Wigram Christchurch, fitted to a Hind fuselage put together by Don Subritzky. This was on display for a few years before all parts were returned to Don's collection based north of Auckland.

I have photos in my collection of the Hind being recovered from the bush. Included in the photos is the pig hunter who first stumbled upon the crash site and wreckage. I'll try and get around to scanning a few more to post here along with my stories of the parts and basec fuselage that had some work undertaken.

Other Survivors
(1) NZ1517/K6687 - Airworthy rebuild with Subritzky family in Auckland
(2) NZ1535/K6721 - Static example with Subritzky family in Auckland
(3) K5414 - An airworthy ex-Afghan Hind flies with the Shuttleworth Collection, painted as K5414.
(4) The RAF Museum Cosford has an ex-Afghan example painted in period Afghan markings. The aircraft is exhibited was presented to the RAF Museum by the Royal Afghan Air Force in 1968. Although it differs from British Hinds in certain details it is hoped that one day this aircraft can be returned to Royal Air Force colours.
(5) L7180 - The Canada Aviation Museum in Ottawa has L7180 which was flown by the Afghan Air Force through the 1940s and used as an instructional airframe to train aircraft engineers during the 1950s until disposed of.
(6) L7181/G-CBLK - Known to have been serialled L7181 was built in 1937 and served with No. 211 Squadron RAF until being sold to Afghanistan in 1939, and is undergoing long-term restoration by the Historic Aircraft Collection, which occupies one of the Imperial War Museum hangars at Duxford, having previously been in the Canada Aviation Museum collection.

- similar Hind to the Motat example being worked on at Dairy Flat (Richard Wesley)
- photo from RNZAF publication of Subritzky fuselage and Motat wings on display at the RNZAF museum in the late 1980s.
- wreckage in the bush recovered by Motat volunteers in the 1970's (Richard Wesley Collection)

Hawker Hurricane

This is a replica aircraft mounted on a plinth at the entrance to the main aircraft collection. It represents the plane flown by Sir Keith Park, in whose memory the MOTAT 2 site is named. It is in fact the second replica aircraft as the first did not do well in the harsh marine climate, subjected to the constant battering of the wind. I believe that the funds for the replacement of this aircraft came from the New Zealand Bomber Command Association. I think that it is one of a number of 'plastic' replica Hurricane's constructed for various museums around the world.

The original Hurricane replica which was on the plinth for many years was built for the 1969 Battle of Britain film and was in fact quite a complex structure, even able to taxi under its own power. I thoroughly enjoyed playing on its remains (or that of the first replica Swordfish, I'm not quite sure) as a child in the early 1980's when it was stored wingless beside a shed before being on sold to a private collector. One wing I seem to remember was very badly damaged, having been torn from the airframe by strong winds.

I am a strong believer that real aircraft should not be used as gate guardians so it is pleasing to see a fine Hurricane replica marking the entrance to Motat. The first film prop Hurricane seems to have found an excellent home now. At Motat, in today's situation, it would have been too interesting to have outside, but not important enough to compete with real airframes for limited inside storage or display space.

- Hurricane on display outside the main hanger at Motat 2, 2008 (Richard Wesley)
- replacement replica upon arrival at the museum before painting in OK1 colours, late 1990's (Richard Wesley)

JB-2 (V-1) 'Loon' Flying Bomb - Donated to RNZAF Museum, Christchurch

All my information the MOTAT example is very sketchy but I understand it the V-1 is in fact an American copy used for testing and evaluation. It is on long term loan from the Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC.

Latest information on the V-1 is from this Facebook post from the Air Force Museum of New Zealand:

"Under somewhat gloomy skies today, a special delivery arrived at the Museum, having come all the way from Auckland. A large crate was unloaded from a Mainfreight truck and opened to reveal a JB-2 surface-to-surface missile, also known as a ‘Loon’. This particular Loon is on long-term loan from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in the United States, and has come to us from MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology) in Auckland.

During its time at MOTAT, the Loon had been repainted to look like a German V-1 flying bomb, or ‘doodlebug’. New Zealanders serving with the RAF late in World War Two were very familiar with V-1s. No. 486 (NZ) Squadron, flying Hawker Tempest fighters, was part of the fighter network protecting London in 1944 from V-1 attacks, and shot down over 220 of them. The Loon was developed by the United States in 1944 after reverse-engineering crashed German V-1s that had been shipped from England. The body and warhead were produced by Republic Aviation, and Ford manufactured the PJ31 pulsejet engine. 1,931 Loon missiles were produced, and while they were never used operationally during World War Two, they did form part of the post-war US cruise missile development programme until they were removed from service in 1950. The Loon has now been moved to our Reserve Collection area, and can be viewed on our free behind the scenes tours."

It was for some time in the 1990s displayed on top of the entrance to the main aircraft hanger. It was in excellent condition and had clear viewing ports over the rear inner workings of the flying bomb. An aircraft searchlight was situated in the middle of the hanger to light up the V-1 high in the corner. I remember well building the little mezzanine floor and staircase in the corner. We used a small crane to lift the V-1 into position, and then lifted the Miles Magister into position on the Fleet Air Arm display in the other corner of the museum.

Item from the web with further information:

"The American copy version of the V-1 was know as the JB FLYING BOMB aka Loon. The JB-2 is a U.S. made copy of the famous German V-1 surface-to-surface pilotless flying bomb first used against England on June 12-13, 1944. The airframe for the JB-2 was built by the Republic Aviation Corporation and the engine by the Ford Motor Company from drawings prepared at Wright Field, using dimensions taken from the remains of several V-1s brought from Germany. About 1,000 JB-2s were built for the Army and Navy. Production delivery began in January 1945, but it was cancelled on VJ Day. The first one to be test flown in the U.S. was launched at Eglin Field, Fla., in October 1944. Just before the end of the war, JB-2s were placed aboard an aircraft carrier en route to the Pacific for possible use in the proposed invasion of the Japanese home islands. Although the JB-2 was never used in combat, it provided valuable data for the design and construction of more advanced weapons.

Despite the V-1's limitations, the US military was very interested in it. In comparison to the bumbling American efforts in radio-controlled flying bombs such as the BQ weapons the German V-1 looked pretty good, and in July 1944 captured V-1 components were shipped to Wright-Patterson Field in Ohio for evaluation. Within three weeks, the USAAF and American industry had built their own V-1, which was designated the "Jet Bomb 2 (JB-2)" and more informally known as the "Thunderbug". In August, the USAAF placed an order for 1,000 JB-2s with improved guidance systems: Ford built the pulsejet engine, designated "PJ-31"; Republic built the airframe, though that job would later be subcontracted to Willys-Overland; and other manufacturers built the control systems, launch rockets, launch frames, and remaining components. First successful launch of a JB-2 was on 5 June 1945.

The JB-2s were launched off a rail with a solid rocket booster, in contrast to the somewhat complicated steam catapult system used by the Germans. Two versions of JB-2s were built, one with a gyroscopic guidance system like that used with the V-1, and the other with a radio-radar guidance system. The USAAF also experimented with air-launching the JB-2. Most of the launches were from a B-17 bomber, though some were performed from B-24s and B-29s, but the USAAF decided it wasn't a good idea in any case. The Air Force was so enthusiastic with the results that they increased the order for JB-2s to 75,000 in January 1945. However, the end of the war in August dampened enthusiasm for the weapon, and the program was terminated in September of that year after over a thousand had been built.

The US Navy experimented with their own V-1 variant, the "KUW-1 (later LTV-N-2) Loon". After initial ground launch tests in 1946, a submarine, the USS CUSK was modified to launch the flying bombs. In February 1947, the CUSK successfully launched a Loon. The flying bomb was stored in a watertight hanger on the deck of the submarine, and assembled and launched by solid rocket boosters while the submarine was on the surface. It was tracked by radar and controlled by radio.Another submarine, the USS CARBONERO, was used in the tests as a tracking and control platform. In 1948, a surface vessel, the USS NORTON SOUND, was modified for Loon launches, and performed four launches in 1949 and 1950. It doesn't appear that the Navy was ever serious about fielding the Loon but saw it as a useful test vehicle for improved naval cruise missiles.

The Soviets also built copies and derivatives of the V-1 and the French operated a target drone based on the V-1 and designated the "Arsenal 5.501" well into the 1950s, though it differed from the original design in having twin tailfins and radio control. In the summer of 1944, about 2,500 pounds of salvaged German V-1 parts were shipped from England to the United States for analysis. The U.S. Army Air Force planned to copy the pilotless flying bomb design and use the weapon against Germany, so engineers at Wright-Patterson Field studied the V-1 components carefully. Within three weeks the plans were copied and the first American-built V-1 was finished, designated the JB-2. However, USAAF officials noted the flying bomb design's inherent inaccuracy over long ranges and realized the device was really only effective as a "weapon of terror" unless the long-range accuracy was significantly improved. Despite this realization, the government ordered the JB-2 into production for use in the European Theatre, with thousands of the flying bombs to be built.

Republic Aircraft Corporation was given the contract for the overall airframe (later subcontracted to Willys-Overland), Ford Motor Company was to produce the pulsejet engine, Jack and Heintz the control devices, and Alloy Products the pressurized containers for the fuel and compressed air. Northrop was contracted to produce the launch sleds and Monsanto the launch rockets. USAAF flight testing was conducted at Eglin Field in Florida and Wendover Field in Utah to perfect the guidance system for the JB-2JB-2 flight testing at Wendover Field, Utah The JB-2 (and the U.S. Navy variant of the JB-2, the "Loon") differed very little from the original German V-1 design. Only the method of launch and the guidance system were changed appreciably by American designers. The USAAF also experimented briefly with air launch of the device from Boeing B-17s, but concentrated on ground launch techniques after a time. Early test flights failed, but finally on 5 June 1945 the USAAF JB-2 flew successfully for the first time. However, World War II was fast drawing to a close and the need for the JB-2 weapon system was reduced. When production was finally terminated in September 1945 only 1,385 JB-2s had been delivered to the War Department."

Other New Zealand Examples

One other real V-1 exists on display at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, suspended in one of the main staircase at the front of the main building.

I remember well seeing it when I was a kid on display alongside the Zero aircraft amongst a scattered random collection of other WWII artifacts including guns and cannons. I remember thinking it was very dusty and also that it didn't look real with all its dents and dings.

- Motat V-1 1989 (Richard Wesley)
Motat V-1 being lifted into position 1989 (Richard Wesley)
Motat V-1 being lifted into position 1989 (Richard Wesley)
- Auckland Museum example of display 2007 (Richard Wesley)

Corporal E Rocket

Who would have thought that nuclear free New Zealand would have a tactical nuclear missile on display at a museum, however this is just what you will find with this exhibit at Motat.

The Corporal rocket was the United States first venture into liquid propellant space rockets. Used for the first space probes and as the front line US Army ballistic missile from 1954. This rocket design dates from the late 1940's and is on long term loan to MOTAT from the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. It is currently displayed horizontally beside the main science building at the Great North Road museum site.

Known as the embryo of the Army missile programs the Corporal Rocket was a surface-to-surface guided missile which could deliver either a nuclear or high-explosive warhead up to a range of 75 nautical miles. The first Corporal battalion was deployed in Europe in 1955. This system remained in the field until 1962-63 when it was replaced by the Sergeant missile system.

The Corporal was basically an artillery round launched vertically and guided in part of its flight by radar. Prior to launch, the radar at the launch site established the target and a beam-rider guidance system was activated and set the missile's ballistic trajectory. Minor course corrections were made by radar which actuated the gyro-controlled refractory graphite exhaust vanes. (The feature of the graphite exhaust vanes were borrowed from World War II V-2 rocket technology.)

The Corporal rocket was on display vertically beside the Walsh Memorial Library and Pioneers of Aviation Pavilion when I first visited the museum as a child in the 1970's and 80's.Weather has certainly had some effect and it is great that it is now under cover.

- rocket on display at the Great North Road Motat site 2009 (Richard Wesley)
- V2 style exhaust vanes 2009 (Richard Wesley)
- website photo

Link Trainer

The Link Trainer holds a significant place in aviation history. It was the first true flight simulator, and provided safe training to hundreds of thousands of student pilots during the 1930s and 40s. Using the skills gained working at his father's piano and organ factory, and his own flying experience, Edwin Link designed and built his "pilot trainer" which was patented in 1931. It provided a realistic depiction of flight, and was especially useful in teaching instrument flying. The Link Trainer came into widespread use during the Second World War, with thousands being built for the American, British and Commonwealth air forces. It was a technological marvel at the time of its invention, and its legacy can be seen in modern flight simulators.

- Link trainer on display in the main hanger 2007 (Richard Wesley)

AB Flygplan Grunau Baby IIB-2

"The German Grunau Baby, designed by Edmund Schneider (1901-1968), is without any doubt the most produced sailplane in the world. Totally more than 6000 have been manufactured and it has been built under license in almost twenty countries. The first variant took to the air in 1931. The Grunau Baby fulfilled the demands for a sailplane which could be used both for training as well as more advanced flying. It went trough several modifications before the most common configuration - the IIB - was introduced.

The single-seat Grunau Baby IIB was constructed of wood and fabric and had a skid landing gear. It had a rectangular fuselage which was reinforced with double layers of diagonal plywood. The cockpit was of open type, but could be fitted with a hood. The wings were equipped with dive-brake type spoilers.

The high-winged, strutted sailplane was stable and easy to fly. It had an effective rudder action and long span ailerons made good performance possible.

Grunau was an important soaring center in pre-war Germany - second largest after Wasserkuppe. The glider pilot Edmund Schneider married a girl from Grunau and settled down in the small village. In 1928, he founded his own company - Edmund Schneider Segelflugzeugbau Grunau (ESG). As gliding was an expensive activity, Schneider developed his successful Grunau Baby as a compromise between price and performance. At the end of the WWII, the Schneider family moved to Stuttgart. Schneider still improved his “Baby”. In 1951, the Grunau Baby III was introduced and proved itself also to be a successful design. "

- aircraft on display in the main hangar (Richard Wesley)
- mounted on the wall in the main hangar (Richard Wesley)


A early simple hang glider donated to the museum collection and on display in the main aircraft hanger.

Adams Manpowered Plane

An interesting collection item that was built in an attempt to gain flight by man power only. Built of extremely light but strong materials such as aluminum and balsa wood, it is covered in a clear plastic flim which again is light but strong.

From the Motat website:

 The construction of this aircraft started during February 1966 when Ron Adams, based in England, attempted to build a human-powered aircraft which was light and strong enough to compete for the Kremer Prize. The Kremer Prize was a flying competition with award money of $10,000. The course was a figure-eight, and a one mile distance had to be completed to be in with a chance to win.

Two years later, Ron Adams had emigrated to New Zealand, bringing his Ornithopter. This aircraft was built initially as an Ornithopter (flapping wing) in 1966, and modified to its present form in 1972/73. Although it was never flown, an airspeed of nearly 30 kilometres per hour was attained with the variable pitch propeller during trials at Whenuapai mid-1973. Despite the trials sustained flight was not achieved and the project was abandoned when it became apparent that the wing area was insufficient and airfoil wrong for slow flying.

- aircraft on display in the main hanger 2007 (Richard Wesley)

Everson Gyrocopter

This bright orange flying machine was built by a New Zealand enthusiast. It originally flew while being towed behind a vehicle on an Auckland West Coast beach. Donated to MOTAT, it is now on display suspended from the roof in the display hanger.

The official information page can be found on Motat's website:

A gyrocopter – also known as an autogyro or gyroplane – is a type of rotorcraft that uses an unpowered rotor to develop lift. Unlike a helicopter, which uses an engine to power its spinning rotor blades, a gyroplane's upper rotor blades are not powered by an engine. Instead, the engine powers a back propeller that pushes the gyrocopter forward. As the aircraft moves, air passes naturally through its rotor blades, creating lift.

The Everson Gyrocopter was built by Ron and Ernie Everson in the early 1960s. The Everson brothers and their Gyrocopter illustrate the notion of ‘kiwi ingenuity.’ The Gyrocopter was tested at Muriwai Beach, where it was tethered to a vehicle and driven at high speed. The aircraft did not receive a Certificate of Airworthiness.

The brothers were passionate about aviation for many decades. One of their first projects was a glider called Evo I. They went on to build several aircraft, including one with a single-seat twin-engined design called Evo III. This aircraft, in which the pilot’s head was inches away from the propeller tips, was initially condemned by the authorities. Nevertheless, it remains the only twin-engined homebuilt aircraft made in New Zealand.

The drive and ingenuity of the Everson brothers is indicative of the pioneering spirit of many New Zealand aviators including Richard Pearse. It is a spirit that continues today.

Ron Everson donated the Gyrocopter to MOTAT in 1982.

- gyrocopter on display in the main hanger 2007 (Richard Wesley)

Gere Sport Biplane

The Gere Sport Biplane was a 30's era homebuilt biplane, designed and built by George "Bud" Gere, who was killed in an accident before he could witness his plane's first flight. Early models used Ford Model T and Model A engines. There are several of these planes still being built and flown around the world.

From information collected by Keith Morris (see below for link to his research):

"The MOTAT Gere Sport was started as a project at Greenmeadows in Hawkes Bay prior to WW 2, and it was sold in 1948, substantially complete, to an owner at Waipukurau who intended to finish the project, but this never happened.  This would have been our first post WW 2 homebuilt aircraft if it had been completed (not counting the Savage Special and the Lincoln Sport that were pre-WW 2 aircraft).

Stan bought the airframe from a Mr Corban in Waipukurau in the mid 1960s and at that stage it was complete but without an engine or instruments.  He stored it at Wellington with his various other aircraft and when he shifted to Auckland in 1965 he arranged a deal whereby all his aircraft were trucked from Wellington to Auckland (probably in a TEAL truck which did a weekly Auckland-Wellington-Auckland run), on the basis that he donate an aircraft to MOTAT.  This deal involved a Mr Donohue who worked for TEAL and was also involved with MOTAT.  So the Gere Sport was donated to MOTAT by Stan.

The aircraft was restored by MOTAT volunteers who installed a 3 cylinder Szekely radial engine, which was not the original engine (and which had been imported for a Lincoln Sportsplane that was not completed).  Some years later Robbie Gentry discovered a Bristol Cherub aircraft engine at Waipukurau and Stan thinks that this may have been the engine that was to power the Gere.

Thanks very much for the information Stan and TravelAdastra."

Mignet HM-14 Pou-du-Ciel

1936 Flying Flea (Le Pou-du-Ciel), a French design, built in New Zealand. Designed by Henri Mignet, this small plane was the most popular homebuilt aircraft in the 1930s.

This aircraft's (ZM-AAA) furthest trip from the museum in recent years was to Auckland Airport at the Air Expo in 1992. Motat had two display stands set up to try and raise support for the museum.

"Built by E Roy Perkins and Leonard Hawke of Waipukerau with a Douglas Dryad engine being placed on display at the MOTAT Museum in Auckland. David C. Eyre"

"The HM 14 Flying Flea (French: Pou du Ciel, literally "Louse of the Sky"!) was developed by Frenchman Henri Mignet in the 1930's and he published plans to construct the aircraft in 1934. The plans were translated into English and were published in Popular Mechanics magazine in 1935, which resulted in many Flying Fleas being built around the world. It featured a tandem wing design which unfortunately suffered from wing interference problems when powered by more powerful engines than the prototype. This problem resulted in an inability to be able to pull out of a dive and led to many fatalities including one in New Zealand. This problem was solved but the reputation of the Flying Flea never fully recovered. In New Zealand, Flying Fleas were allocated registrations in the ZM series, and at least 12 Flying Flea projects were commenced, with several achieving flight. 3 Fleas were registered as ZM-AAA, ZM-AAB and ZM-AAC. Sir Minty"

Other Preserved Flying Fleas in New Zealand

ZM-AAC: Wanaka Transport Museum, located suspended from the ceiling the last time I visited.

"ZM-AAC with a Scott Flying Squirrel engine was built by William L Notman of Oamaru and survives at Wanaka. David C. Eyre"

ZM-AAM: Ashburton Aviation Museum in red and white and looking in excellent condition. This is a newly built Flea, specifically built from the original plans for the Museum.

Taranaki Museum has a flying flea in parts that may have flown but never received a registration I believe.

"Another, known as the Brewster Flying Flea, is on display at the Taranaki Transport, Aviation and Marine Museum, at Egmont Village. This was built by Brian and Ian McMillan of Stratford. David C. Eyre"

"ZK-FLE² (c/n HM16/G1), a HM-16, was built by Robert Germon of Ngatea and was first registered in August 2001. It was retired in April 2006 and survives on Rangitata Island. David C. Eyre"

References and Information Sources

Tui Sports

The Tui Sports was a New Zealand light aircraft of the 1930s.

It was a small single-seat aerobatic single-bay biplane of fabric-covered wooden construction with a highly streamlined circular section fuselage. It was powered by a Szekely 3-cylinder engine.

This Tui Sports was built by Fred North at Dannevirke and was first flown by Allan McGruer from a field near Whenuapai on 4 January 1934. It was named after the highly manoeuvrable Tui bird. The silver and gold Tui became very popular, being used for aero club flying and airline pilot training. Originally intended as a one-off homebuilt, its success encouraged Fred North and the Dominion Aircraft Company to prepare for production in Auckland, however, New Zealand's declaration of war against Germany on 3 September 1939 resulted in these plans being postponed and later scrapped. The Tui Sports crashed on Ohope Beach in 1941.

At the end of 2008 the fuselage was almost complete and the wings fitted. The last step to be completed was the fitting of the engine.

The completed aircraft is now on display in the main hanger at Motat 2.

- Aircraft under restoration 2008 (Richard Wesley)
- Cockpit fittings 2008 (Richard Wesley)
- Early aircraft restoration progress 2007 (Richard Wesley)

References and Information Sources

Flaglor Sky Scooter

This little aircraft was donated to the musuem in the 1990's, and is displayed hanging from the ceiling of the main aircraft hanger. Register as KZ-EYL.

The Flaglor Scooter is an all-wood construction, fabric-covered homebuilt introduced in 1967. Like many homebuilt aircraft it is designed to be easy to build and maintain with the tools generally found in a home workshop. Also in common with many other homebuilts it is powered by a modified automobile engine. In this case a 1600 CC Volkswagen engine. The Scooter was sold as a set of plans.

From the Motat website:

The Flaglor Scooter was designed and manufactured in the USA during the mid-1960s. It was available as a kit set for aviation enthusiasts and pilots to build their own aircraft. The original design is by Ken Flaglor of Illinois, USA.

ZK-EYL was built in the Auckland workshops of Lester Zimmerman, of Kohimarama, Auckland. It is a single-seater, fixed wing design with an open cockpit. The engine is mounted above and forward of the wing. Built primarily from plywood, Perspex and fabric, this aircraft is representative of the “home-built” aircraft which have been popular throughout the realization of flight. This example was powered by a VW 1600cc car engine.

In 1991 the Zimmerman family donated ZK-EYL to MOTAT.

- aircraft on display in the main hanger 2007 (Richard Wesley)

Pearse Planes

"As a schoolboy, Richard Pearse was obsessed with the idea of flying. He is reported to have read everything he could find about flight and related subjects, to the detriment of his school work, and to have built models of planes and a string-pull helicopter. He wished to become an engineer, but his father insisted that he should take up farming, and gave him a farm at Waitohi, near Temuka, for his 21st birthday. The farm was away from public roads, and enclosed by a gorse hedge which is said to have grown to a height of 12 feet and a width of 22 feet, providing Pearse with privacy from prying eyes.

Pearse used his farmhouse at Waitohi as a workshop, building his aircraft and their engines from parts salvaged from agricultural machinery, supplemented by bamboo and wood. He was not popular with neighbours, since the noise of his machinery disturbed them and their cattle. His attempts to fly were by many seen as sheer madness. Some people were opposed to his attempts to fly on religious grounds, deeming them to be the "work of the devil." Faced with this opposition, Pearse became even more reclusive and secretive about his experiments.

His first aircraft was built over a number of years and flight-tested from 1902. It was a two-cylinder, high wing monoplane with a 25 foot wingspan. The homebuilt engine had a 24 horsepower capacity and weighed less than 5 pounds per horsepower. The body of the craft was built from bamboo rods and was structurally strong. It was supported on a tricycle undercarriage constructed from tubular steel, with a nose wheel and two lateral wheels. Cables were stretched from posts at the front and rear to the wing tips, with wire bracing from the undercarriage outboard of the wheels to the wings. This plane was modified over three or four years as his flying experiments continued. Sections of this aircraft, including the undercarriage, can be seen today in the MOTAT Museum in Auckland. His second aircraft was started about 1907. It had a 40 foot wingspan with a wing loading of less than 1 pound per square foot, but it proved unmanageable.

Between 1909 and 1928, Pearse turned his attention to creating non-flying mechanical devices, such as a power-driven plough fitted with an engine of his own design and manufacture, and a motorcycle using a similar engine to that of his aircraft. He later worked in Christchurch as a house builder, using the proceeds from his house building to finance his inventions. His third and final aircraft was constructed between 1928 and 1947, and can be seen at MOTAT. This "Utiliplane" had an engine whose angle could be changed in pitch so it could be flown vertically upward like a helicopter. It was, however, never flown.

Pearse died in Christchurch on 29 July, 1953, at the age of 75 years."

Quoted from

Fletcher Fu-24

The Fletcher has been used for many years for topdressing operations all around the New Zealand country side. This aircraft, Fletcher Fu-24 ZK-CTZ, was the first Fletcher aircraft fitted with a turbine engine.

After retirement from service it was displayed for many years up on a plinth at the entrance to Hamilton Airport. While aircraft can look impressive displayed this way I personally think that one can never discribe such as airframe as 'preserved'. The weather is always so harsh on an alumiminum structure, that really only replica's, or completely expendable aircraft should be utilised as gate guardians.

It was purchased by the museum for display in 2005/2006, and was jointly restored by MOTAT and the Waikato Museum of Art and History. In 2007 it was the focal point of a successful Innovation exhibition at the Hamilton museum.

More information quoted from the NZ Herald:

"Historic Topdresser to Retire at Motat
12:00AM Wednesday February 23, 2005

A significant piece of Waikato aviation history will end its days at the Museum of Transport and Technology in Auckland. The first Fletcher topdressing plane that worked out of Hamilton Airport in the 1950s is being restored, after being damaged while on display outside the airport for many years. After its $50,000 restoration the plane will go on display at the Waikato Museum of Art and History before making its final home at Motat. There it will join other historic aviation exhibits including the replica of the plane that Richard Pearse is thought to have flown in 1903, the only Solent Mark IV flying boat left in the world, and one of only a few World War II Avro Lancaster bombers.

The Fletcher, originally modified by aviation pioneer Ossie James, was temporarily at Mystery Creek after being taken down from outside the airport. Years of outside storage and neglect - and a collision with a vehicle at some stage - took a heavy toll on the fragile aluminium skin and frame. Ownership of the Fletcher was transferred from the airport and Mystery Creek to the museum for $5000. Motat will become guardian of the aircraft after the Innovations in Agriculture exhibit finishes at the Waikato Museum next year. - NZPA"

- aircraft on display outside in 2007 while the Belfast Hanger was being repositioned (Richard Wesley)
- restoration work being carried out by Motat including a complete repainting of the airframe (Richard Wesley)
- on display at the entrance to Hamilton Airport in the 1980's (unknown)

Transavia PL12 Airtruk

The Transavia PL-12 Airtruk is a single-engine agricultural sesquiplane aircraft designed by Transavia in Australia. The Airtruk is of all metal construction with the cockpit mounted above a tractor engine and short pod fuselage with rear doors. It has twin tail booms with two unconnected tails. Its first flight was in 1965. It has a wingspan of 12.15m and a length of 6.35m and carries up to three passengers. It is powered by one 300 horsepower engine. It has a range of 700 nautical miles (1300 km) at a cruise speed of 101 knots. Its maximum speed is 112 knots and its maximum rate of climb is 344 m/min, with a service ceiling of 10500ft. It has an empty weight of 830 kg and a gross takeoff weight of 1723 kg.

It was developed from the Bennett Airtruck designed in New Zealand by Luigi Pellarini. It has a 1 tonne capacity hopper and is able to ferry two passengers as a topdresser. It can be used as a cargo, ambulance or aerial survey aircraft, and carry one passenger in the top deck and four in the lower deck.

The Airtruk is also sometimes known as the Airtruck. Because the name "Airtruck" was registered by the New Zealand companies Bennett Aviation ltd and Waitomo Aircraft ltd, for their PL-11, Transavia found another name for their PL-12 ("Airtruk").

July 1971 saw the first flight of an improved modelled, the T-300 Skyfarmer, which was powered by a Textron Lycoming IO540 engine. This was followed in 1981 by the T-300A with improved aerodynamics.

The PL-12 was featured in the 1985 movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

Further Information on the Bennett Airtruk from Wikipedia:

"The PL-11 Airtruck is a New Zealand agricultural aircraft, and a model of the Air Truck is on display at MOTAT.

A strikingly unusual aircraft, the PL-11 Airtruck was designed as a de Havilland Tiger Moth replacement for the New Zealand aerial topdressing market by Luigi Pellarini in 1960 for Waitomo Aircraft.

The prototype was constructed largely from bits of war surplus ex-RNZAF North American Harvards. It featured all aluminium structure, a high wing monoplane with a steel stub wing and V lift struts, steerable tricycle undercarriage, an extremely stubby pod fuselage, the cockpit (made from shortened Harvard glazing) being mounted directly over the radial engine, providing excellent forward view and very high drag, beneath it was room for a superphosphate hopper or up to 5 people in a cabin. The strangeness was completed by twin booms each supporting unconnected tail units, (the idea being a truck could reverse between the tail units to load the hopper).

Despite the outlandish appearance the Airtruck was perhaps surprisingly successful, if unable to compete with the Fletcher Fu24 in its design market. A shortage of Harvard parts lead to the type being redesigned for all new construction, as the Transavia Airtruk, which was mass produced in Australia."

Further information can be found on the MOTAT website at:

- aircraft on display in the main hanger 2007 (Richard Wesley)
- repairs and painting of the rear fibreglass section of the airframe (Richard Wesley)
- sandblasting and treatment of rust on steel framing parts (Richard Wesley)
- airframe after being brought inside for the first time after many years in the long grass, June 1993 (Richard Wesley)

Cessna A188 Agwagon

The Cessna 188 is a family of light agricultural airplanes produced between 1966 and 1983 by the Cessna Aircraft Company. The Motat example registered in New Zealand as ZK-COO, is currently on display suspended from the ceiling of the main aviation display hanger.

The successful 188 Agwagon agricultural aircraft were Cessna's only purpose designed agplanes. Cessna's Model 188 resulted from extensive research and consultation with agricultural aircraft operators conducted in the early 1960s. The design Cessna settled upon was of the conventional agricultural aircraft arrangement with a braced low wing (unique among Cessna singles) with seating for the pilot only. Like other ag aircraft the chemical hopper is of fibreglass and the rear fuselage is of semi monocoque construction and sealed to reduce the potential for damage from chemical contamination.

The Motat A188 Agwagon was the first 300 hp (250 kW) Cessna 188 and was powered by the Continental IO-520-D and featured a 200 US gallon chemical hopper. It was introduced in 1966 alongside the lower-horsepower AGpickup at a base price of $18,950. The A188 was named the AGwagon in 1972. It ceased production in 1980.

Cessna C 188 Agwagon ZK-COO is displayed in the colours of Phoenix Aviation of Gore. It was the second Agwagon to be registered in New Zealand, and was one of a large number of Agwagon's to be imported by Rural Aviation in 1966/67 (34 of them?), and they were nearly all painted in a similar colour scheme to the above but with red and black stripes. ZK-COO was first registered in February 1966 and was withdrawn from use at Ardmore in 1977 and was cancelled in July 1978.

I first knew ZK-COO when it was parked out the back of Motat II by the Sunderland as part of a line of aircraft sitting outside in the weather. During the 1990's the aircraft was bought under cover, but it was not until Norm took over as leader of the aviation section the a full restoration of this aircraft got underway.

The aircraft was stripped down the steel frame, sand blasted and repainted. An engine and propeller were obtained and fitted and slowly the entire aircraft restored and repainted. The wings were painted stripped, checked for corrosion, repaired where necessary, and repainted. All of this undertaken by volunteers working on Wednesdays and Sundays. The result has been excellent.

The aircraft was then placed on display in the main hanger beside the Solent for some time before being moved outside while the new aviation building completed. It was then suspended from the ceiling for display.

ZK-COO is a great part of a fleet of topdressing aircraft in the Motat collection including other classics such as the Fletcher, Airtruk and Tiger Moth.

Youtube video of an Agwagon, similar to the Motat example, in closeup and in action.

- ZK-COO on display 2014 (Richard Wesley)
- Aircraft on display outside 2007 (Richard Wesley)
- Hopper detail 2009 (Richard Wesley)
- ZK-COO in the long grass 1990 (Richard Wesley)
 - Fuselage stripped down for restoration 2005 (Richard Wesley)
- Wings stripped back to bare metal 2005 (Richard Wesley)