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Special Interest Forums => The Blokes' Shed => Topic started by: Kiwithrottlejockey on January 31, 2009, 10:30:27 pm

Title: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on January 31, 2009, 10:30:27 pm
Are Turbines Ruining Aviation?


We gotta get rid of turbines — they are ruining aviation.  We need to go back to “BIG ROUND ENGINES!”

Anybody can start a turbine, you just need to move a switch from “Off” to “Start” and then remember to move it back to “On” after a while.  My computer is harder to start.

Cranking a BIG ROUND ENGINE requires skill, finesse and style.  On some aeroplanes, the pilots are not even allowed to do it — it's solely the preserve of a flight engineer.

Turbines start by whining for a while, then give a small lady-like “poot” and start whining louder.

BIG ROUND ENGINES give a satisfying rattle-rattle, click BANG, more rattles, another BANG, a big macho fart or two, more clicks, a lot of smoke, and finally a serious, low-pitched roar.  We like that — it's a MAN thing!

When you start a BIG ROUND ENGINE, your mind is engaged and you can concentrate on the flight ahead.  Starting a turbine is like flicking on a ceiling fan.

Turbines don't break often enough, leading to aircrew boredom, complacency and inattention.  A BIG ROUND ENGINE at speed looks, sounds and feels like it's going to blow up at any minute.  This helps to concentrate the mind.

Turbines don't have enough control levers to keep a pilot's attention and to impress visitors to the cockpit.  There's nothing to fiddle with during the flight.

Turbines smell like a Boy Scout camp full of Coleman lanterns.  BIG ROUND ENGINES smell like God intended flying machines to smell.

I think I hear the nurse coming down the hall.  I gotta go....

— Ex-“BIG ROUND ENGINE” driver....Captain Tony Ilyes, Air Nuigini.


Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on May 24, 2009, 03:32:03 am

Flying on a wing and a pint

By TANYA KATTERNS - The Dominion Post | Saturday, 23 May 2009

(http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/News%20Story%20Pix/2435837s-23May09.jpg) (http://i365.photobucket.com/albums/oo92/RasputinDude/News%20Story%20Pix/2435893s-23May09.jpg)

NOT FOR THE TIMID: More than 150 agriculture pilots have been killed since aerial topdressing
began in the 1950s (left). — ANDREW GORRIE/The Dominion Post. | HIGH FLYING: “It's not a
job for the faint-hearted ... But in those days, ‘the heydays’ I call them, the risks were high
but the thrills were even greater,” says veteran topdresser pilot Clive Thorne (right).
 — TANYA KATTERNS/The Dominion Post.

Topdressing pilots are known as the cowboys of the skies. Their risk-taking fraternity has notched up a frightening death toll over the years, going daily where other pilots dare not.

Clive Thorne considers himself one of the lucky ones. He and his brother would finish a day's topdressing work, "tail chase" each other through narrow gullies, and land outside the local pub for a few pints. They would then fly home "usually pretty under the weather".

Old photos throughout his Masterton home depict lost friends, men whose lives ended on hair-raising terrain doing a job that has kept the agriculture industry on its feet.

The toll is high for a peace-time operation. With more than 150 agriculture pilots killed since aerial topdressing began in the early 1950s, it is considered one of the country's most dangerous professions.

"I have lost quite a lot of very good friends ... One night I was drinking with mates and said to one, `You never know who the next one is going to be but it could be one of us.' The mate I said that to got killed the next morning."

He is among hundreds of aviation enthusiasts gathering this weekend in Wairarapa to celebrate the 60th anniversary of topdressing in New Zealand, and at age 81, one of the last pioneers still alive to reflect on the industry's heyday.

"It's not a job for the faint-hearted. It's as dangerous as you want to make it. But in those days, `the heydays' I call them, the risks were high but the thrills were even greater."

He was a topdresser for 17 years and spent 40 years as a pilot. There were plenty of near misses. He crash-landed in a paddock after suffering engine failure in 1954 and spent a month in hospital.

He and his twin Colin, who died in 1991, were there from the start, working over the years for two aeroworks companies and earning £750 a year.

In 1951, topdressing trials had been completed and the aviation agriculture industry born out of a surplus of aircraft post-war and returning servicemen was in its infancy.

The 1950s wool boom, triggered by the demand for warm uniforms for troops serving in the bitter cold of the Korean War, provided farmers with surplus capital that they spent on fertiliser and other improvements.

"It was Tiger Moths then. The daddy of the lot. Pure fun flying and they did the job all right. But a job is a job and once it was done, there was some crazy stuff all right."

There were limited rules and regulations. Everyone was new to the demanding industry so there were no teachers, just young pilots learning the ropes.

"Colin and I, we worked together and played together, would finish up a day and tail chase each other ducking and diving through gullies and touching tree lines while practising aerobatics and barrel rolls. They were pretty low-powered aircraft so gully riding was the only way to fly in some pretty hairy conditions."

Ad Feedback The winds, unpredictable and often fierce, were difficult to read. With no modern-day GPS or monitoring systems, fires were used to gauge wind direction from gnarly and rugged hillside airstrips. Farmers got a little antsy about fire risks over the dry season so a portable wind sock was fashioned out of nappies. "It was all pretty crude stuff then but it worked. We did like the mischief as well.

"If we were a bit thirsty we would land in a paddock near a pub and have a few beers before getting back in the plane usually pretty under the weather and flying back home."

This weekend, the diamond anniversary of the industry, will bring more tales of old as the young guns of today sit alongside early pioneers to swap stories.

"These young fellas and their fancy high-powered aircraft have no idea really what it was like back then. We were cowboys, and you know what? I would not have changed it for a thing."



• On September 20, 1948, the first hopper of a Grumman Avenger was filled with a tonne of superphosphate for a ground load test. Five days later it had its first test flight over Ohakea Air Force Base. Trials continued through till 1949 and the topdressing industry had kicked off by early 1950.

• The advent of aerial agriculture vastly improved the country's productivity and helped solve serious erosion problems.

• By 1958 there were 73 aerial topdressing firms flying 279 aircraft. Aerial topdressing peaked in the mid-1960s.

• Aircraft adapted for topdressing included Tiger Moths, twin-engined Bristol Freighters, Lockheed Lodestars and DC3s, De Havilland Beavers, Cessnas and New Zealand-built Fletchers.

• More than 150 topdressing pilots have died since the industry began in 1950. It is considered one of the country's most dangerous professions.

• Following the most recent deaths of topdressing pilots, in which pilot fatigue has been blamed, the Civil Aviation Authority has adopted new rules for agriculture operations to improve safety.


Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on May 31, 2009, 03:26:12 pm

From the Boston Globe

Remains are lost in race for relics

Brisk trade in WWII planes thwarts efforts to recover missing fliers

By KEVIN BARON and BRYAN BENDER - Globe Correspondent and Globe Staff | Monday, May 25, 2009


     Australian Robert Greinert finds and restores wrecked airplanes. — Globe Staff Photo/Yoon Byun.

ALBION PARK, Australia — To the US military, Carter Lutes, a pilot who vanished in Papua New Guinea in April 1944, is one of the lost heroes of World War II. The Pentagon still hopes to recover him. Until then, it considers his jungle crash site a sacred place — and the last known clue to finding him.

Yet while the military was making plans to search for Lutes's remains, other visitors arrived on the site seeking different remains: Lutes's aircraft — a P-47D Thunderbolt, a highly sought-after model in the booming market for authentic World War II planes.

Driven largely by wealthy American collectors, interest in such "warbirds" has grown into a multimillion-dollar frenzy that rivals the most feverish art trend or real estate boom, according to interviews with dozens of collectors, aircraft restorers, museum curators, and government officials.

Now, as the US military invests hundreds of millions of dollars to recover the remains of World War II pilots, it is in a race against relic hunters. In recent years the Pentagon has found nearly 500 missing soldiers from World War II, about half from Papua New Guinea, scene of the most dangerous air battles of the war.

But by the time recovery teams arrive at suspected MIA sites, the locations often have been picked over and crucial evidence is missing.

For example, the P-38 Lightning flown by one of Lutes's missing comrades, John R. Weldon, is now registered to Artemis Aviation Group LLC in Wilmington, Del., according to FAA records. An advertisement published in January said the plane had a "documented combat history with the historic 475th Fighter Group." It was for sale for $495,000. Officials from Artemis did not return calls for comment.

Weldon, who was last seen flying over the eastern coast of Papua New Guinea in January 1944, is still considered a missing soldier, and the Pentagon hopes to recover his remains for a hero's burial.

"We have had to address at least one case that involves this type of site disturbance on every mission that we've done," said Chris McDermott, a historian with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command. "The salvaging of the plane leaves us with little to go on. The opportunity to evaluate all the evidence has been lost."

Lisa Phillips, head of the Maine-based WWII Families for the Return of the Missing, considers taking the planes to be akin to grave robbing.

"Disturbing an MIA site is devastating to the identification of our war dead," she said. "There is a very systematic way to recover remains and identify them. When individuals disturb a site ... it could ruin all chances of having our missing loved ones identified."

Salvage trumps recovery

A decade ago, a World War II fighter plane could be purchased for a few hundred thousand dollars at most. Now, the price for a restored P-51 Mustang, a sleek single-engine fighter called the "Cadillac of the sky", is increasing by tens of thousands of dollars a month; one was offered last summer for $2.7 million, according to Trade-A-Plane, a listing of aircraft sales.

Prices are even higher for the exotic-looking, twin-engine P-38 Lightning; the last two that exchanged hands reportedly went for a whopping $3.8 million and $7 million, respectively.

To feed the demand, wreck hunters are congregating on Papua New Guinea, where jungles mask hundreds of World War II planes — along with at least 2,200 missing American fliers.

The plane last flown by Lieutenant Marion C. "Carter" Lutes is now the pride of two wreck hunters: Fred Hagen, 51, a Pennsylvania millionaire who became "obsessed" with warbirds after searching for the remains of a pilot who was his great-uncle, and Robert Greinert, 51, an Australian aircraft restorer who proudly displays the shell of Lutes's plane in his workshop south of Sydney.

Sitting on a dolly in a cluttered hangar, the wings, tail, and nose of Lutes's plane are gone, and cables spill from its rusty fuselage. The readings on the cockpit dials that Lutes relied on are frozen behind cracked glass.

"It's neat," said Greinert, wiping grease from his hands and gesturing toward the P-47D Thunderbolt.

For Hagen, a construction business owner who says he paid $100,000 for Greinert's help in the salvage operation, the plane is a treasure.

"It's going to be a work of art," Hagen said in an interview in his stone farmhouse overlooking the Delaware River. "It's going to be a masterpiece of engineering and it's going to be an important historic artifact."

But to Pentagon MIA searchers looking for their "brothers," people like Greinert and Hagen make their mission much harder.

"There is a lot of evidence in there — once you start poking around and moving things, that evidence can be lost or destroyed," said Johnnie Webb, a Vietnam veteran and the top civilian official at the MIA recovery command. "If there are remains in there, they have given their life for this country. We have a responsibility to bring them home."

The Pentagon believes the remains of Lutes, who was a 39-year-old former Firestone clerk from Oklahoma, could still be near the crash site. When military investigators first visited it, they called for an excavation by a forensic anthropologist.

But the anthropologist never got to see the undisturbed site.

Major Brian Desantis, a military spokesman, said Hagen and Greinert persuaded the Papua New Guinea National Museum, which is in charge of protecting the sites, to let them recover the aircraft for salvage, even as the MIA recovery command "tried unsuccessfully to have this blocked."

Islands full of wrecks

Under a blazing August sun in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, three men sat under the wing of a restored P-38 known as "Ruff Stuff."

There was the pilot, the chief restorer, and the man considered the godfather of wreck hunting, a 71-year-old, soft-spoken New Zealander, Charles Darby.

The plane was among the biggest draws at last year's EAA AirVenture, the country's largest gathering of aircraft enthusiasts, with more than 400 warbirds and a half million spectators.

Many trace the modern wreck-hunting trade to Darby, author of a 1979 book, "Pacific Aircraft Wrecks ... And Where To Find Them." It contains dozens of pictures of nearly intact World War II aircraft in Papua New Guinea's fields and jungles. Greinert calls the book his bible.

Darby's father once managed coconut plantations in Papua New Guinea and told stories of islands littered with the wreckage of war.

On Darby's first visit to the islands in 1963, he hunted wrecks. While still a university student, he said, he got a call from an American, asking, "Hey Sonny, I hear you can get me a P-39," an early-war fighter called the Airacobra.

Darby's reply: "I can get you a whole squadron."

So began a series of salvages. In his book, Darby explained how to combine parts of different wrecks to create a complete aircraft.

"So what you do is you get one or two airplanes and you start taking them apart, piece by piece," explained Gerald Yegan, a collector from Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Darby, in an interview, acknowledged finding human remains in some of the planes. Once, when he and his team found a B-24 bomber with the crew and its bombs still inside, they tried to do the right thing, he said. "We got some bones, put them in body bags, called the [New Guinea] authorities."

But the authorities declared the site a danger and blew "the bombs, plane, and rest of the crew to smithereens," Darby said.

Thereafter, Darby said, when his team found planes with remains inside, they simply left them in place.

The greed of the original wreck hunters, however, would eventually upset island authorities. A collector who worked with Darby was banned for life, accused of corrupting officials and stealing national war relics.

But a new generation would take their place, led by Greinert, who is known for traveling deep into the jungle to find the most valuable wrecks, those that were lost in combat.

Pieces with murky origins

One of the planes Greinert pulled out of the jungle was a P-39 Airacobra, serial number 42-66534. According to military records, it was last flown by Lieutenant Charles H. Chapman before it collided with a Japanese bomber on May 18, 1942.

Spotted by local hunters near the Papua New Guinea capital of Port Moresby in 2001, the plane soon came to the attention of the MIA command, which dispatched a local contractor to the site to begin searching for Chapman's remains.

But before an anthropologist could get there, Greinert salvaged the wreckage, according to the military command.

Greinert said he placed the parts from Chapman's wreck in storage at the Papua New Guinea National Museum. Another well-known wreck hunter removed them and shipped them out of the country, according to Greinert and two others who worked with the wreck hunter.

The whereabouts of Chapman's plane could not be confirmed, and some wreck hunters believe that it has been cannibalized for parts — a common occurrence that usually takes place far from the eyes of the rich collectors who fund the warbird trade.


The most famous collector in the United States — owner of at least 15 of the most prized warbirds — is Paul Allen, the cofounder of Microsoft and owner of the Seattle Seahawks football team.

Allen's collection, envied among warbird enthusiasts, has been restored, in part, by a US-based workshop called WestPac, whose operator, Bill Klaers, told the aviation trade magazine Aeroplane that he receives wrecks from Papua New Guinea. Klaers did not respond to numerous Globe messages.

David Postman, Allen's spokesman, said in a written statement, that "We strongly believe that obtaining information about fallen pilots and crew is far more important than collecting vintage aircraft" and that none of Allen's planes themselves were involved in fatal crashes.

He acknowledged that Allen uses WestPac for parts and restoration, but said: "While we can't know where every part for every aircraft comes from, it is highly unlikely that parts from overseas wrecks of American planes were used in our restorations. There is a readily available supply of authentic but unused parts for vintage American war planes in the United States."

Despite Postman's assertion, numerous wreck hunters and restorers — including Greinert, Yegan, and Allen's own curator, Adrian Hunt — noted in interviews that many types of parts are scarce in the United States and that restorers often rely on New Guinea wreckage, both for the parts and for templates for making replacements.

And critics insist that collectors should make certain that none of the parts come from MIA wrecks, rather than shift the responsibility to their restorers.

"A museum that says, ‘Oh, we don't know where this stuff comes from’, to me, it's a reckless statement," said Justin Taylan, who runs the website PacificWrecks.org. "If it were an art museum or any type of historical entity, that wouldn't fly."

But others make the same contention, including the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's restoration facility in Maryland. The Smithsonian relies on the workshop at Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, to provide parts for its planes.

Al Bachmeier, museum specialist at the Smithsonian facility, said he does not ask the suppliers to verify the origin of each piece mounted on a Smithsonian display plane.

"Boy, I don't know whether we've asked those kind of questions," he said. "Our biggest problem is monitoring something like that from 3,000 miles away."

Inside Pima warehouses, however, sits a lineup of seven P-47 Thunderbolt fuselages, each wingless, cut off at the nose, and battered — some of the original planes chronicled in Darby's ground-breaking wreck-hunting book, according to museum curator Scott Marchand.

Good deed or greed?

From his office in a run-down industrial park in Port Moresby, John Douglas has had a front row seat to watch the scramble for World War II relics.

An environmental assessor and helicopter pilot, Douglas knows the remote terrain probably better than anyone. He has a card catalog of roughly 600 to 700 World War II aircraft wrecks. Stashed away in his special collection of war memorabilia are the dog tags of dozens of American soldiers.

By the 1990s, he gained a reputation as one of a handful of people who could help enthusiasts find wrecks and negotiate with locals.

Although it is technically illegal to remove aircraft from the island, wreck hunters simply "pay a little grease money to somebody and the container disappears," Douglas said.

"The museum here has policies that say we'll only trade with museums or government to government," he added. "But if somebody turns up with a few donations, a few caps of beer and a bit of loose cash, it's, ‘Yes, whatever you want’."

Simon Poraituk, the director of the cash-strapped National Museum in Port Moresby, calls these payments a "donation."

"It's sort of a donation that was put in, in exchange for taking the aircraft," he said in an interview.

To the US military, however, they are bribes.

Hagen, for his part, maintains that his search for prized aircraft has helped bring answers to families who lost loved ones, such as that of 19-year-old Wilfrid J. Desilets Jr. of Worcester, whose remains he recovered in 1997.

At Desilets's funeral, Hagen spoke at the family's invitation.

He says the US military, with its limited ability to search for the 78,000 personnel missing from World War II, should be grateful for his willingness to invest his money and undertake personal risks to reach some of the wreck sites.

"They need an army of people like me if they are serious about it," Hagen said. Wreck hunters, he added, "shouldn't be excoriated and put down because they've taken the trouble to do something which is very noble."

But the race between the military and the wreck hunters is accelerating, the Pentagon says. Because Papua New Guinea has opened its unexplored terrain to mining, timber, and energy companies, more warplanes are being discovered each week — and many likely contain the remains of their fliers.

If wreck hunters get there first, warned former Navy archeologist Wendy Coble, the crews may never be found.

"Is that fair to the families?" Coble said. "Because somebody decided they wanted to have something to fly?"


Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on May 31, 2009, 03:31:27 pm

Plane salvage crew caight in crossfire

By BRUCE McDOUGALL - The Daily Telegraph | Saturday, May 30, 2009


         RESPECT: John Brooker (rear) and Ben Morgan.

AS the battle for the skies raged over Papua New Guinea 65 years ago, a young American pilot took his fighter plane on a test run, flew into the side of a mountain and was never seen again.

World War II hero Marion Lutes is believed to have perished in the jungle after surviving the wreck of his P47D Thunderbolt in April 1944.

When locals found the aircraft on a 60-degree slope decades later, the cockpit harness was unlocked and there was no sign of the pilot.

Lutes is still officially listed as missing in action but his Thunderbolt, pulled from the jungle several years ago by Australian salvager and restorer Robert Greinert, is rising phoenix-like in a cavernous hangar at Illawarra Regional Airport, south of Sydney.

While the brave pilot is gone, his memory and that of others who lost their lives defending this country are being kept alive by dedicated Australian enthusiasts.

But Mr Greinert and his Historical Aircraft Restoration Society are incensed by US criticism their work may have compromised the recovery of human remains.

Despite numerous sweeps of the site before the salvage operation, it is understood that the Pentagon has not given up hopes of recovering Lutes' remains.

"It (salvaging aircraft) has been presented as evil grave-robbing, which is just not correct," society spokesman Ben Morgan said.

"It doesn't happen that we storm in, grab this stuff and run. It (the imputation) is very hurtful.

"This is highly insulting to individuals who have devoted a large part of their lives and their personal resources to preserving historic aircraft."

Mr Greinert, who has been recovering and restoring wrecks for three decades, received clearance from PNG authorities and maintains he never touches any site where there are MIA issues.

The society said it was unfairly "caught in the crossfire" between MIA objectives and commercial interests trying to leverage the lucrative wrecks industry.

Mr Greinert argues it is an "ill-conceived notion" that wrecks should be left to rot or to looters.

"The world's governments cannot effectively police archaeological sites on land or sea," he said.

"To expect them to preserve aircraft wrecks in outdoor situations is utter folly.

"As for MIA sites, I don't go near them unless they have been cleared by the national museum."

An estimated 800 World War II wrecks still lie hidden in PNG jungles alone. Some have been quarantined for tourism or because of MIA issues.


Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on August 04, 2009, 01:28:34 pm


Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on September 14, 2009, 12:26:13 am

Back in the air after 50 years

By MICHELLE LOTTER - North Shore Times | 5:00AM - Friday, 11 September 2009


FLYING FOX: The newly restored DH83 Fox Moth past Whangaparaoa Peninsula near its North Shore home base. — JOHN KING.

After almost 50 years one of the world’s five remaining airworthy Fox Moths has been restored.

The vintage De Havilland DH83 Fox Moth was imported in 1947 for light freight and charter work throughout the South Island, including hauling venison and whitebait on the West Coast.

"After several mishaps and rebuilds the Fox Moth was grounded in 1961 by a Civil Aviation Authority inspector who declared it to be in a disgraceful condition," North Shore Aero Club past president Ian Couper says.


UP AND AWAY: North Shore Aero Club member Stan Smith rebuilt
and flew a vintage De Havilland DH83 Fox Moth. — JOHN KING.

Club member Stan Smith bought the remains for £75 in 1963 with the intention of rebuilding it.

He says it has been hung up along with other vintage planes, including a Miles Messenger and Tiger Moth, waiting to be restored.

"It’s one of the few places in the world where all these aircraft are in one place. They are all to be kept together," Mr Smith says.

The rare planes belong to an historical trust and there are plans to add them to a major collection in the South Island.

Spending $10,000 in man hours restoring "everything" on the Fox Moth was worth it for the enjoyment of it, Mr Smith says.

"It’s a hobby and it’s our life."

The wood and fabric covering is new and the standard of work is exceptional, Mr Couper says.

"The rebuilt Gipsy Major engine fired on the second swing."


Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on September 19, 2009, 10:09:05 pm

Restored Spitfire to stay at Ohakea

By LAURA RICHARDS - Rangitikei Mail | 2:48PM - Tuesday, 08 September 2009


AGREEMENT SIGNED: Air Vice Marshall Graham Lintott tries out the WWII rebuilt Spitfire which
is to be permanently housed at Ohakea Air Force Base. — LAURA RICHARDS/Rangitikei Mail.

The World War II Spitfire restored in Feilding by Marton businessman Brendon Deere is to be housed permanently at the Ohakea Air Force Base.

The Chief of Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Graham Lintott and Mr Deere signed an agreement on Friday to permanently house the vintage aircraft in a 600 square metre hangar to be built adjacent to where the new visitor centre will be erected.

The visitor centre will be located in front of where the former Ohakea Base Museum was positioned, adjacent to State Highway 1.

Wing Commander Pete Neilson said it would be in the area where the aircraft plinth is located. The existing buildings will either be moved or demolished.

The base's maintenance support system will be located close by.

During the signing ceremony, AVM Lintott said the new visitor centre will create "significant interest" throughout the wider region and the location of the historic aircraft nearby will be an added attraction.

"The whole Air Force was delighted to have your iconic aircraft here," AVM Lintott said.

He said he hoped the relationship between Ohakea and Mr Deere would continue for a long time.

Since the aircraft's arrival at the base early this year it has been painted by Ohakea paint shop personnel on a voluntary basis. It has made a number of fly pasts over RNZAF graduation parades and other special events.

Wing Commander Russell Mardon thanked AVM Lintott, a former Ohakea Base commander, for creating an environment which would allow Mr Deere's contribution to the base.

He said the visitor centre project has got to the stage of a design brief. The next stages include conceptual drawings which should be finished by the end of the year.

After signing the agreement, Mr Deere presented AVM Lintott with a book called Spitfire written by Jonathan Glancey.

The Chief of Air Force then slipped into the cockpit of the Spitfire.

Sitting inside the aircraft, looking like a boy with a new toy, he told everyone to go enjoy a hot drink and "just leave me here with my thoughts".


Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Im2Sexy4MyPants on October 19, 2009, 06:26:52 pm
This is cool
Look at this thing

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on October 19, 2009, 09:05:08 pm

These two video clips were taken at Omaka Aerodrome, Blenheim on Saturday when a Cheetah Mk.9 radial engine was started and run for the first time since it last ran back in 1944. The engine has recently been overhauled. It is out of an Avro Anson which is being restored to airworthy status. A second Cheetah Mk.9 engine is currently being overhauled and both engines will eventually power the restored Anson into the air. The aeroplane is currently at Nelson.

Here is the first clip showing the engine being started....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGJPzTXDZgE (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGJPzTXDZgE)

Here is the second clip showing the engine idling, then being shut down....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScUpKoVOIRo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScUpKoVOIRo)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Im2Sexy4MyPants on October 19, 2009, 09:30:24 pm
Runs like its brand new

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on October 19, 2009, 10:07:40 pm

Good old British engineering.

Mind you, like any British engine, it luuuurves (eats/leaks) copious quantities of oil....;D

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on November 01, 2009, 10:40:17 pm

Wing-walking a family tradition

Bungy jump? Never. Skydive? No way. Wing-walk? Hell, yes!

By RACHEL YOUNG - The Marlborough Express | 1:00PM - Tuesday, 27 October 2009


NO FEAR: Susan Scott (inset) completing her first wing-walk on a Tiger Moth a few years ago.

Unlike most people, Susan Scott is not afraid of being strapped to the top of a plane flying 1000 feet in the air.

In fact, it's a family tradition, one highlighted last weekend when Miss Scott took to the skies as both the pilot and a wing-walker to mark the anniversary of the death of her grandfather Ronald Alexander, who was killed in 1976 at Motueka Airfield while performing "Crazy Flying" — low level aerobatics with another Tiger Moth.

Miss Scott said being in — or on — a Tiger Moth gave her a great sense of connection to her family, as well as being a fun adventure. "When I'm flying it's special because of my family."

Although it was Ronald Alexander who began the family tradition of wing-walking, it was Miss Scott's great-grandmother, Hilda Alexander, who set records when she wing-walked across Cook Strait in 1971 at the age of 72, and became the oldest recorded wing-walker at 78.

Since then the tradition has continued with various family members. Miss Scott is the fourth generation wing-walker and third generation pilot.

The Nelson Aviation College student has been interested in planes all her life.

She flew with her pilot dad, Steve Scott, when she was young and took over the controls herself at the age of 16.

She did her first wing-walk aged 18.


WINNER: Susan with the Jean Batten Memorial Trophy.

Last year, the Blenheim woman won the Jean Batten Memorial Trophy for her flying skills at the Royal New Zealand Aero Club's national flying competition.

Being in the air was awesome, she said. "It's very peaceful up there. It's not scary or anything like that at all."

Miss Scott said every time she flew a Tiger Moth it was a huge honour.

TV One's Close Up recently featured Miss Scott and her family's flying history.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/news/3002415/Wing-walking-a-family-tradition (http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/news/3002415/Wing-walking-a-family-tradition)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on November 11, 2009, 10:07:58 pm

Canadian-registered Avro Lancaster (C-GVRA), one of only two airworthy Lancasters in the world, carries out a low fly-over of Saskatoon Airport as seen from the airport control tower, on 3rd August 2009.





Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on December 09, 2009, 09:51:53 pm

Corsair veteran Ray flies on cloud nine

By JENNA POWELL - Wairarapa Times-Age | Wednesday, 09 December 2009


Jason Haggitt (left), Ray Richards and Gene DeMarco in front
of the last Corsair FG-1D flown by a Kiwi. Veteran Ray Richards
used to fly his own Corsair in the British fleet Air Arm.

Air force veteran Ray Richards has been reunited with his past thanks to the crew at Flightpathtv.com (http://www.flightpathTV.com). Mr Richards was flown from Auckland by a New Zealand Navy Sea Sprite helicopter to see an old friend in the Wairarapa — the last Corsair FG-D1 flown by a Kiwi.

The Corsair is locally owned by the Old Stick and Rudder Company in Masterton and flew in the Solomon Islands campaign.

Mr Richards flew a Corsair in the British Fleet Air Arm, taking part in several Pacific battles, including an air raid on Japanese-held oil fields in Palambang, Indonesia. It was one of the biggest operations undertaken by the British Navy with 200 aircraft deployed.

He said he could not believe he used to fly a similar machine.

“I'm feeling overwhelmed ... it is hard to believe I used to fly this,” he said.

Despite his reservations he said he would be keen to pilot it again.

“I'm hungry to fly it again.”

Although two of his cousins died in World War II, he has fond memories of the plane.

“This plane, I absolutely loved.”

He had a narrow escape in 1945 when he was firing at a Japanese gun emplacement when an enemy bullet hit his windshield: “If I had been flying an inch of a degree to the left or right I would have been hit.”

He said he thanked his lucky stars he was not in one of his training Boeing Stearman planes, which had some dodgy aerodynamics and feeble bullet technology.

The Stearmans did not have the bullet-proof armour protection Mr Richards had in his Corsair.

“This one [the Corsair] was a great bloody big brute and thank goodness for that,” he said.

Mr Richards used a ladder to get into the local Corsair's cockpit but said he hadn't needed one when he was young.

“I used to leap up like a gazelle.” Mr Richards thanked Flightpath, and New Zealand's Navy and Air Force. “You've given me a fantastic day.” Flightpath producer Fletcher McKenzie said he was delighted to reunite Mr Richards with the Corsair.

“It is pretty special ... the trip was 12 months in the making.”

FlightpathTV.com (http://www.flightpathtv.com) is in talks with BBC and Discovery Channel to sell its series of air shows, profiles and reunions with people such as Mr Richards, after being turned down by TVNZ.

“We have got a lot of interest — we expect to know in about three months,” Mr McKenzie said.

Mr McKenzie spent 11 years in advertising before creating Flightpathtv.com (http://www.flightpathTV.com) with Malcolm Clement. “It has certainly been hard on the bank balance — but it's worth it.”

http://www.times-age.co.nz/local/news/corsair-veteran-ray-flies-on-cloud-nine/3907437/ (http://www.times-age.co.nz/local/news/corsair-veteran-ray-flies-on-cloud-nine/3907437)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on February 17, 2010, 06:30:57 pm

Wing walker promises thrills aplenty

By JOHN EDENS in Alexandra - The Southland Times | 5:00AM - Monday, 25 January 2010


ON A WING AND A PRAYER: German wing-walker Peggy Krainz will
be performing at Warbirds Over Wanaka during the Easter holidays.

A German wing walker has promised to deliver an unforgettable performance at this year's Warbirds Over Wanaka international air show.

Peggy Krainz, 39, will be looping and rolling at speeds of up to 240km/h attached to a Boeing Stearman aircraft piloted by her partner Friedrich Walentin during the pair's first visit to New Zealand.

Ms Krainz, in a statement, said she was not frightened during wing walks but was conscious she must stop when tired.

"During the display I move up on the wing and between the left wings — it is hard work for me.

"We will give the spectators some unforgettable moments," she said.

During the act the wing walker communicates with the pilot using hand signals and is attached to the aircraft by a safety cord.

The German daredevil has thrilled crowds with more than 600 aerial displays.

The Wanaka air show programme has not included a wing walker for more than 20 years.

This year's show runs from April 02 to 04.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/3258094/Wing-walker-promises-thrills-aplenty (http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/3258094/Wing-walker-promises-thrills-aplenty)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on February 17, 2010, 06:31:10 pm

Warbirds and songbirds

The Press | 9:07AM - Monday, 01 February 2010


GROUND SUPPORT: Emily Trenwerth, of Frankie, acknowledges the fans.

A Japanese Zero from World War II and, probably, modern jetfighters from Australia will carve up Central Otago skies at this Easter's Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow. JILL HERRON reports.

The world's best carrier-based fighter, Japan's Mitsubishi Zero, when introduced into World War II service, had excellent manoeuvrability and long range. Zeros were used in the Pearl Harbour raid and later for kamikaze assaults.

Eleven thousand were produced between 1940 and 1945, but today only several exist in museums around the world, with just three airworthy.

After months of negotiations with its owners, a crated Zero is being transported from the United States and will be assembled at Wanaka Airport. It will be a centrepiece for 70 other aircraft at this Easter's international airshow Warbirds Over Wanaka and the first time that a Zero has flown in South Island skies.

Wanaka will host one of the greatest collection of warbird aircraft ever seen flying in New Zealand, including Kittyhawks, a Supermarine Spitfire, a Mustang, a Vought Corsair and a Catalina flying boat.

Lithuanian aerobatics star and world champion Jurgis Kairys will return to thrill his Kiwi fans, and German wing-walker Peggy Krainz will make her Wanaka debut.

And a contingent of modern Royal Australian Air Force fighter jets are "90 per cent" confirmed to roar across the Tasman and rattle the Upper Clutha, says event manager Mandy Deans.

A fresh focus by a determined new airshow management team is set to shape a broader future for the event that goes well beyond admiring lovely flying machines — much to the delight of show founder Sir Tim Wallis.

It is over 20 years since Sir Tim, aviator, entrepreneur and ideas-man extraordinaire, convinced the Wanaka Lions Club to give him a hand with instigating an airshow. Wanaka Airport boasted little else at the time, the only permanent residents being Sir Tim's Alpine Deer Group and scenic flight operators Aspiring Air.

Sir Tim's rookie airshow organisers were delighted when 14,000 people turned up to enjoy overhead warbirds and, on the ground, his brother George Wallis' vintage machinery. Over the following years the biennial show was interspersed with fly-in events on special occasions. By the mid-1990s, Warbirds Over Wanaka had established itself as an internationally recognised event.

Three-day shows in the last decade have attracted between 85,000 and 100,000 people, injecting millions of dollars into the local economy.

Internationally acclaimed acts and special guests are the norm, and that, combined with the Upper Clutha's mountain scenery, elevates it as a starring event in the world of warbird air shows.

Innovations for this year's event, says Deans, include more family-friendly facilities such as educational displays and a specific children's entertainment area with a creche.

"There will be face painting, a puppet show, inflatable Space rocket, bungy trampoline and lots more."

Dads will not be forgotten, she says, and will enjoy their own blokes' barn with an emphasis on hunting, fishing, boating, flying, eating red meat and other bloke-oriented pursuits. Also new on the ground will be an aircraft sales market and the Goodbars.co.nz (http://www.goodbars.co.nz) Regional Wine and Food Expo.

Returning to provide 1930s and 40s entertainment are Frankie, of Christchurch. Their performances are described by leader Lois Trenberth as modelled "loosely" on famous American vocalists The Andrews Sisters, great boosters of wartime morale among the military services. The act also has ingredients from other entertainment stars of the era such as Vera Lynn and Ella Fitzgerald.

Frankie, which will perform daily, includes Trenberth's daughter Emily Trenberth and niece Cher Hunter, and Nadine Hoskins, Catriona MacDonald and Anna Jack.

• Warbirds Over Wanaka 2010: April 02, 03 and 04 (Friday to Sunday).

• Further information and tickets available on the airshow website, www.warbirdsoverwanaka.com (http://www.warbirdsoverwanaka.com).

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/lifestyle/3280233/Warbirds-and-songbirds (http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/lifestyle/3280233/Warbirds-and-songbirds)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on February 17, 2010, 06:31:29 pm

Vintage flight treat

By JOHN EDENS in Alexandra - The Southland Times | 2:52PM - Thursday, 04 February 2010


IN STYLE: Bill Crooks, 88, and Southern DC3 flight attendant Gill Hall.
 — JOHN EDENS/The Southland Times.

An ex-serviceman beamed yesterday as he stepped down the flight stairs of a World War II-era DC3 at Lowburn airstrip near Cromwell.

Bill Crooks, 88, was last on a DC3 in September 1945 from Invercargill to Dunedin for a honeymoon trip with wife Joyce.

A retired Waipango farmer and originally from Riverton, Mr Crooks lives at Ripponburn Hospital and Home in Cromwell.

He and daughter Mary Stewart were among 150 passengers who booked scenic flights on the vintage airliner's Central Otago leg. Mr Crooks brought his original return ticket — 1 pound and 15 shillings — along for the ride.

He was not long demobbed from service with a coastal artillery unit when he and his wife flew from Invercargill airport, a grass strip in those days. Yesterday's flight was great, he said.

"It was beautiful, I couldn't have got a better day or better pilots."


GRAND DAME: From left, pilots Chris Mehlhopt, Giles Goulden and Myles Coburn;
and a 66-year-old DC3 at Lowburn airstrip. — JOHN EDENS/The Southland Times.

Owned by the Southern DC3 charitable trust, which bought the plane for $500,000 in 2007 and aims to gift it to the Ashburton Aviation Museum, ZK-AMY is the only DC3 flying in the South Island.

Southern DC3 chairman David Horsburgh, a commercial pilot with more than 19,000 flying hours, said the trust was grateful for the support during the Heartlands tour of the South Island.

Money from scenic tours will be used to pay off debts incurred by the trust to refit the aircraft before it is gifted to the museum.

The Air New Zealand captain said flying a manual DC3 was a privilege and a departure from piloting a computerised Airbus A320. The aircraft was refitted with twin Pratt & Whitney 1200hp engines at a cost of $250,000, business class seats from a Boeing 737 and was "as new" for a 66-year-old bird, he said.

Passengers yesterday enjoyed half-hour flights in clear blue skies 304 metres above the Kawarau gorge, Nevis Valley and Lake Dunstan.



  • Built: Longbeach, California, 1944 as a C47A Skytrain

  • Registration: ZK-AMY

  • Wingspan: 29m

  • Length: 19m

  • Empty/max weight: 8641kg/12000kg

  • Seating: 28 passengers

  • Crew: four

http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/features/3293987/Vintage-flight-treat (http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/features/3293987/Vintage-flight-treat)

DC3 sightseeing flight evokes fond memories

By SAM McKNIGHT - The Southland Times | 5:00AM - Saturday, 13 February 2010

The smells, sounds and feel of a flight on a vintage DC3 aircraft yesterday gave a Winton man so much more than a few snapshots – they brought back fond memories of a flight many years earlier.

John McDougall took to the skies yesterday on a sightseeing flight run by the Southern DC3 Charitable Trust as part of its Heartland Tour.

The excursion took the 70-year-old back 65 years, to the first scheduled fare-paying flight out of Invercargill to Dunedin in a Lockheed Electra.

Although only 4 years old at the time, his recollection of the event remains vivid.

It was November 7th, 1944, and the day was "beautiful", he said.

"The pilot was flying so low you could see the furrows in the farmland."

Mr McDougall has even kept newspaper clippings and the ticket for the Union Airways flight, which cost £1.15.

"It was still a fair bit back then."

There had been a flight the day before, but that had carried dignitaries, such as the Invercargill mayor, he said.

"From my understanding, they didn't pay a thing."

But yesterday's flight, which swept over Riverton, back across Invercargill and around to Bluff, also reminded him of his precious companions that day, his long-since deceased mum and dad.

"It was like I was a kid again but they weren't with me this time round. I'll never forget today."

The Christchurch-based trust has owned the aircraft since 2007 and aims to one day gift it to the Ashburton Aviation Museum.

The DC3 will be in Invercargill for two more flights today, at 10am and 11am, before heading to Gore tomorrow for flights at 10am and 1pm.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/3323431/DC3-sightseeing-flight-evokes-fond-memories (http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/3323431/DC3-sightseeing-flight-evokes-fond-memories)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on February 24, 2010, 12:45:54 am

Passengers get taste of bygone era

By JOHN BISSET - The Timaru Herald | 5:00AM - Thursday, 18 February 2010


HAVING FUN: Chris Mehlhopt at the controls of the visiting
Southern DC3 over Timaru and below, Pat and Brenda Healey
celebrate their fourth anniversary with a plane ride over
South Canterbury. — JOHN BISSET/The Timaru Herald.

She's 66 years old, but the old girl still has plenty of get up and go.

Indeed, the 1944 Southern DC3 was able to lift the spirits of more than 120 passengers yesterday while in Timaru as part of a southern tour.

Four flights around South Canterbury gave passengers a nostalgic trip from a bygone era when aircraft were flown entirely by pilots, with no help from computers.

Poor visibility meant the two morning flights were postponed until later in the day. Although the skies were grey the air was smooth. "It was like a magic carpet ride," said one passenger as they left the aircraft.

On board celebrating their fourth wedding anniversary at 130 knots airspeed were Pat and Brenda Healey of Temuka.

"It was fabulous, just out of this world," said Mr Healey, who used to watch DC3s flying over his home town in the 1950s.

"We could not have asked for a better anniversary. It was comfortable and very smooth and I could have stayed up another half an hour," Mrs Healey said.

Former Timaruvian Chris Mehlhopt is one of many pilots who voluntarily fly the plane, which was the world's first successful commercial airliner. He first flew solo with the South Canterbury Aero Club in 1977 and has since flown helicopters, Aermacchis, Strikemaster jets and CT4 air-trainers for the air force. He currently flies an A320 Airbus for Air New Zealand.

According to Mr Mehlhopt, flying the 1940s aircraft is a real challenge. "You have to fly, and continue to fly it at all times. It's an old plane which has no automation, computers or stability control of a modern aircraft. For that reason, it's fun to fly."

"It's a fantastic aircraft that has stood the test of time, and could still be flying at 100 years old."

The DC3 left Timaru last night for Ashburton.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/3342752/Passengers-get-taste-of-bygone-era/ (http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/3342752/Passengers-get-taste-of-bygone-era/)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on February 24, 2010, 12:48:22 am

Old birds please crowds at Mandeville fly-in

By SONIA GERKEN - The Southland Times | 5:00AM - Tuesday, 23 February 2010


AHH, GREAT: Auckland aviator Guy Clapshaw, with Croydon Aircraft Company
co-owner Malcolm Smith (partly obscured), was all smiles after taking his
restored Percival Proctor for a spin at the Mandeville fly-in at the weekend.
 — EMMA CARLE/The Southland Times.

A plane made famous by New Zealand pioneer aviator Jean Batten and a flashy warbird were among the crowd-pleasers at this year's Mandeville fly-in.

Hosted by the Croydon Aircraft Company at its Mandeville airfield, the fly-in attracted an estimated 1500 aviation enthusiasts over the two days. Among them was a tour group from the United States and the United Kingdom who were flying around New Zealand in their Comanche planes.

Event organiser Maeva Smith said the fly-in had not waned in popularity since it was first held in 1988. "I think people just enjoy the fact they can get up close to an airplane and touch it."

This year proved a bit of an emotional one as engineers farewelled a plane they had restored.

The Percival Proctor, the same type of plane Batten used in her historic flight from London to New Zealand, was flown home to Auckland by her owner Guy Clapshaw.

Mrs Smith said it always felt strange when something that arrived as a cardboard box of bits left — "the guys put a lot of themselves into it".

A P51 Mustang, owned by Robert Borrius-Broek, added to the excitement above the airfield, as well as treating motorsport fans when it buzzed Teretonga on Sunday, she said.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/3361588/Old-birds-please-crowds-at-Mandeville-fly-in (http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/3361588/Old-birds-please-crowds-at-Mandeville-fly-in)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on March 10, 2010, 04:50:28 pm

Old warrior love of David's life

By ROB MAETZIG - Taranaki Daily News | 5:00AM - Wednesday, 10 March 2010

FLYING HIGH: David Horsburgh with his beloved Amy. The plane was built
in 1944 for military use in the Pacific with the US Army Air Force before
embarking on a flying career in Australia and now New Zealand.
 — JONATHAN CAMERON/Taranaki Daily News.

David Horsburgh just loves Amy — and that explains why he spends much of his spare time flying her.

Amy is a vintage twin-engined DC-3 aircraft — registration ZK-AMY — that is one of just two such planes left in New Zealand.

Captain Horsburgh's day job is flying Air New Zealand Airbus passenger jets. But whenever he has the opportunity he gets behind the controls of the old plane.

"She's beautiful — it's like flying on a magic carpet," he said in New Plymouth yesterday.

"Modern-day aircraft like the Airbus are all automatic, but the DC-3 is all manual. She's slow and heavy, and she gives you all sorts of feedback when you're flying her."

The old plane, which was built in 1944 for military use in the Pacific with the US Army Air Force before embarking on a flying career in Australia and now New Zealand, is on a six-week Legend of the Skies fundraising tour of New Zealand.

It is operated by the Southern DC-3 Trust, and has been gifted to the Ashburton Aviation Museum. Trustees are hoping the money made during the tour will clear all finance owed on the purchase cost of the aircraft and present it unencumbered to the museum where a special hangar has been constructed.

Yesterday ZK-AMY spent the day at Taumarunui where it took passengers on $100 half-hour scenic flights, and in the evening it was flown to New Plymouth to prepare for a similar day's flying in Taranaki.

Captain Horsburgh said one of his passengers was 99-year-old Elsa Peacock from Taumarunui and her comment after the flight was: "I'm not getting off."

A Southern DC-3 Trust spokesperson said flights scheduled for 10am and 1pm were already booked out, and another scheduled for 2pm was filling fast.

"But if the flights fill, we'll just open some more," she said.

Tonight the plane heads to Wanganui.

The DC-3 is visiting 11 centres in the lower North Island, In conjunction with Farmlands Co-operative. Bookings can be made by phoning Farmlands phone 0800 327 636. Fares are $100 per adult and $50 per child (under 15 years of age). The aim is to have every seat occupied so if there are spare seats available on the actual day, bookings will be accepted prior to going for a flight.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/3427027/Old-warrior-love-of-Davids-life (http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/3427027/Old-warrior-love-of-Davids-life)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on March 22, 2010, 03:41:45 pm

Chatham Islands' historic lifeline comes together

By KIRAN CHUG - The Dominion Post | 5:00AM - Monday, 22 March 2010

JIGSAW PUZZLE: Gary Downs is recovering parts of the flying boat and
reassembling them to put on display. The task is helped by each piece
being individually numbered. — ROSS GIBLIN/The Dominion Post.

More than 50 years after the Chatham Islands' lifeline to New Zealand crashed, an ambitious restoration project to preserve history has begun.

A Short Sunderland — one of only five remaining flying boats of its kind left in the world — is being pieced back together after the dramatic crash that ended its flying years in 1959.

Air Chathams pilot Gary Downs, who lives on Chatham Island with his wife and four children, embarked on the project six months ago, enlisting the help of friends and spending every spare moment on what has become a labour of love.

At first he knew little about the plane and its crash, until learning of the wreckage, which was on farmland on the island's northeastern tip.

The more he learnt about the plane, the NZ4111, the more he realised it was an important part of the islands' history. "It was a big deal for people living here when it was used."

Operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force, the plane was used to carry supplies to the islands about three times a year after World War II.

On November 04, 1959, it was carrying three passengers when it crashed on takeoff in Te Whanga Lagoon, which makes up about a third of Chatham Island.

The passengers and crew were rescued, and the air force immediately salvaged the removable parts and returned them to New Zealand. The following year the rest of the wreckage, which was 70cm deep in mud, was removed from the water and a farming family moved it on to their land.

CRASH LANDING: The Sunderland after hitting a rock in Te Whanga Lagoon in 1959.
Behind is the plane sent to rescue passengers and crew.

When Mr Downs found the wreckage, "strewn all over the farm", including the cockpit being used as a greenhouse, he enlisted the help of friends with cranes and the farm machinery to shift the pieces to a central field.

"All of the parts were numbered, so I've been putting the jigsaw puzzle back together," he said.

Once the plane is reassembled, people will be able to walk through its fuselage and into the two-storey cockpit.

He plans to line the walls with reports and anecdotes from those who remembered the flying boat when it was in use — or when it crashed.

The attraction is being rebuilt at the farm of Jim and Sally Muirson, who, along with neighbour Colin Barr, also have plans to restore a historic church and a whaling station on the land.

Mr Downs said the projects would help preserve the islands' history and he was undeterred by those who believed reassembling the plane's remaining parts would be impossible: "The more people say it can't be done, there is more motivation to do it."


The Short Sunderland Mark V

• Maximum speed: 341kmh.

• Could fly for 1312 hours.

• Weighed 16,783kg empty or 29,484kg loaded.

• Wing span of 34m, length 26m, height 10m.

• Carried a crew of nine: three pilots, two navigators, three signallers and two engineers.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/national/3483518/Chatham-Islands-historic-lifeline-comes-together (http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/national/3483518/Chatham-Islands-historic-lifeline-comes-together)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on March 30, 2010, 10:24:43 pm

‘Cat’ makes flying visit to Timaru

BY EMMA BAILEY - The Timaru Herald | 5:00AM - Tuesday, 30 March 2010

ON LAND AND WATER: Senior captain Philip Seale, top, prepares to fuel
the Consolidated Catalina amphibious aircraft at Richard Pearse Airport
at Seadown yesterday. — NATASHA MARTIN/The Timaru Herald.

A Consolidated Catalina aircraft could have landed in Caroline Bay, but opted instead for the smooth tarmac of Richard Pearse Airport.

The aircraft was one of 64 to converge on Timaru yesterday as part of the Around New Zealand Air Safari. The 10-day flying adventure will see the planes go head-to-head to see which can get the best time.

The safari, which started at Auckland's Ardmore airport, circled Cape Reinga and will travel as far south as Invercargill, finishing in Queenstown.

Event director John McLean said 180 pilots and crew were taking part in the challenge, including the 66-year-old amphibious Catalina, and after a rest day in Timaru today, they would depart for Oamaru for lunch tomorrow and then on to Invercargill for the night.

"We have a briefing at 7.30am, with 12 log points. When they fly overhead at the destination the clock stops."

Catalina captain and pilot Dee Bond has flown in the Catalina for 13 years, and still gets a buzz when it lands on the water. "We are going to the Warbirds over Wanaka, and will be landing on the lake, weather permitting.

"That is where she [the Catalina] is in her element, she is absolutely stunning on the water. It doesn't matter how many times you experience it," she said.

The hull is shaped like a speedboat and is painted white and above the waterline the plane is painted blue. "You really feel the cold when you land on the Southern lakes. You can almost feel the cold coming up the plane as it sinks into the water."

Weighing 16,000kg and with a wingspan of 32 metres, similar to that of a 737, the plane can surprisingly carry only 20 people.

"She doesn't fly fast, cruising at 115 knots. She is heavy to fly and it is two hands on the controls for takeoff and landing."

The plane was built in 1944 and served in World War II. Five elephants painted on the side of the plane represent the five lives the plane saved during the war.

When armed the plane can carry two machineguns, two nose turret guns, and four bombs underneath or two torpedoes.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/3525226/Cat-makes-flying-visit-to-Timaru (http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/3525226/Cat-makes-flying-visit-to-Timaru)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on May 04, 2010, 02:41:13 am

Downed plane ready for repaint

The Press | 5:00AM - Monday, 03 May 2010

“GUARDIAN OF WIGRAM”: The RNZAF North American Harvard which sits on a plinth at the Air Force Museum
is lifted off for a spruce-up. — DON SCOTT/The Press.

A plane that sits on a plinth near the Air Force Museum in Christchurch took its biggest flight in 10 years yesterday.

The aircraft, an RNZAF North American Harvard, is due for its once-a-decade spruce-up. It was lifted by crane and hauled by truck to a hangar at Wigram.

Warrant Officer Dan Thomas, who is co-ordinating the project, said that nothing "out of the ordinary" was expected to be wrong with the plane.

"You'd expect a bit of decay, so we're going to repair any damage and repaint it true to its original colours," he said.

Two staff will work on the project for six months before the plane is returned to its position as "the guardian of Wigram".

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch/3648905/Downed-plane-ready-for-repaint (http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch/3648905/Downed-plane-ready-for-repaint)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on November 16, 2010, 04:00:17 pm

Aviation hero celebrated in Southland

ONE News - TVNZ | 7:57PM - Saturday, July 03, 2010

Replica of inventor Bert Pither's aeroplane. — Source: ONE News.

THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATIONS of a milestone event in New Zealand aviation history has begun in Southland.

Descendents of Invercargill inventor Bert Pither have gathered at Mandeville, near Gore, to honour what is regarded as New Zealand's second ever aeroplane lift-off.

Pither's aviation heroics at a Southland beach came seven years after Richard Pearce flew his aeroplane.

Pither swore an oath in a Melbourne Court that he had flown in the aeroplane, but there will always be a touch of intrigue as to whether Pither did actually take off as no-one was there to witness it.

Test pilot Gerry Chisholm can understand Pither not wanting to fly his invention more than once.

"I think it was probably exhilarating to him that his contraption flew. But it probably scared him quite a bit too," he says.

The replica Pither Monoplane has been built as close as possible to the original, with a four cylinder motor pulling 40 horsepower.

Descendents gathered to honour Pither could not have been more proud.

"It's great to see a lot of members of the family here, ones we didn't even know existed," says Des Pither, descendant.

The replica Pither Monoplane is on permanent display at Mandeville Airfield.

Watch the ONE News story (video clip) (http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/aviation-hero-celebrated-in-southland-3625093/video).

http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/aviation-hero-celebrated-in-southland-3625093 (http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/aviation-hero-celebrated-in-southland-3625093)

Bert Pither's first flight and story may go to film

By ROSEMARIE SMITH in Gore - The Southland Times | 5:00AM - Monday, 05 July 2010

PITHER PERFORMS: Pilot Jerry Chisum puts Croydon Aircraft's Pither monoplane replica through its paces. — Photo: FRASER FALCONER.

A CENTURY after his lonely flight experiments on a chilly southern beach, Invercargill engineer Bert Pither's star is rising, with a feature film proposed for take-off.

Independent film-maker Malcolm Hall, who brought a film crew to Croydon Aircraft Company's centennial commemoration of Pither's single 1910 flight, confirmed producer Richard Thomas was seeking funding for a movie featuring the Pither story.

The crew had come to shoot documentary material to provide head and tail of the movie.

Mr Hall indicated he wasn't able to say much more, as he had come to the assignment at the last moment, with Mr Thomas absent overseas.

"Up til Thursday I'd never heard of Bert Pither," he said.

"But it's got all the elements – adventure, slightly crazy characters, a bit of scandal, a successful flight."

The fact he died in obscurity provides that dramatic arc. Unlike Pither's original semi-secret beach experiments covered after the fact by only one persistent journalist, Saturday's multiple commemorative flights of his replica monoplane also attracted a news film crew, print journalists and photographers, plus a crowd of onlookers including many Pither family members.

Great-great-nephew Nigel Pither, of Christchurch, said the event had been quite emotional for family members who had grown up on stories of Pither's achievements, but knowing he didn't feature in the official historical record.

Young family members doing school projects on Uncle Bert had met with disbelief, and now they were getting confirmation his story was true.

"All of a sudden people out there are saying, 'Is that your relative'?" Mr Pither said. "Today has been quite incredible."

Pilot Jerry Chisum expressed admiration for Pither's command of the disciplines of both airframe and engine building.

He gathered up the technology and built what amounts to a spaceship for his time, he said.

At this period there were still many choices to be made over critical details, and Pither made all the right choices.

He was not only a mechanical genius but a visionary. Future recognition of Pither's place in history will receive prominent recognition in Errol Martyn's forthcoming book on New Zealand aviation history 1868 to 1914.

While the lack of independent witnesses will always preclude formal recognition as New Zealand's first successful powered flight, Pither's machine was one of the two most practical aircraft built in New Zealand by 1914, even if it made only one flight, he said.

It was an outstanding achievement for someone working in isolation half a world away from the centre of aviation activity at the time. Martyn dismissed claims Richard Pearse had flown earlier, hinting his book will present new documentary evidence discounting dates reliant on oral sources for the South Canterbury inventor's experiments, as well as disputing claims he even achieved real flight.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/3883762/Bert-Pithers-first-flight-and-story-may-go-to-film (http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/3883762/Bert-Pithers-first-flight-and-story-may-go-to-film)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on November 16, 2010, 04:01:10 pm

Masterton flyboy fighter recalled

By GERALD FORD - Wairarapa Times-Age | Monday, 01 November 2010

WINGED HISTORY: Masterton pilot Gene De Marco (right) shows
Michael Bell an FE2b aircraft, a modern-day reproduction of the
aircraft Mr Bell's father flew. — Photo: Susan Nikolaison.

SPANNING 14.5 metres and 94 years, a new arrival at Hood Aerodrome made a personal connection on Saturday with its World War I past.

The Zanzibar I is a full reproduction of the World War I aircraft FE2b and was built in this decade by the Vintage Aviator Ltd, which has a collection at the aerodrome.

On Saturday, pilot Gene De Marco introduced the unique plane to Masterton resident Michael Bell, whose father flew one of the originals in World War I.

Mr De Marco had been planning to take Mr Bell for a spin but was suffering a back injury which ruled him out of flying for the day.

Admiring the plane and arranging with the pilot to fly on another occasion, Mr Bell said he knew very little about his father's wartime experiences.

"All I know is he was in France in the army and he joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1916."

Mr Bell had also been told that his father had survived despite crashing nine times.

RAF in those days stood for Royal Aircraft Factory, which made the planes, and members of the flying corps maintained their regular army rankings.

FE stands for Farman Experimental and the FE2b was one of the slower British planes in a war where both sides were trying to outdo each other for speed.

"They were really slow and really steady, which makes for a good bomber but it also makes for a good target," Mr De Marco said.

The planes were at their best flying in formation but by 1916, when they reached the German front in numbers, the FE2bs were already becoming obsolete as a fighter and reconnaissance plane.

A similar version, the FE2d, was used for night bombings.

Building the plane had taken several years of research, Mr De Marco said.

Materials used include a water-cooled engine, Irish linen and spruce timbers.

Mr De Marco described the plane as "big, heavy and unique".

The heavy back-mounted engine and propeller were unusual and, Mr De Marco, said the tricycle-like undercarriage and lack of a front propeller were described as a strength.

According to the aircraft manual, if during an emergency landing the plane hit a low wall or fence, the smaller front wheel would break off and the pilot and gunner be "safely ejected".

"When I first started flying it, that was something I couldn't get out of my mind," Mr De Marco said. The Vintage Aviator Collection is open on weekends at the Hood Aerodrome.

http://www.times-age.co.nz/local/news/masterton-flyboy-fighter-recalled/3928361 (http://www.times-age.co.nz/local/news/masterton-flyboy-fighter-recalled/3928361)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on November 16, 2010, 04:01:35 pm

World War II-era plane recovered from Lake Michigan

By RUSSELL LISSAU - Chicago Daily Herald | 10:52PM - Monday, November 08, 2010

Recovery divers Bruce Bittner, left, and Keith Pearson attach a strap onto the fuselage of a
World War II F4U-1 Corsair fighter plane that was recovered from Lake Michigan Monday by
A&T Recovery at Larsen Marine at Waukegan Harbor. One strap broke during the initial
effort to lift the plane from the lake. — Gilbert R. Boucher II/Staff Photographer.

AS A WORLD WAR II-ERA FIGHTER PLANE was gingerly lifted out of Lake Michigan on Monday morning, the crowd gathered at Waukegan Harbor marveled at the aircraft's condition.

Although under water since a 1943 training crash, the F4U-1 Corsair was remarkably complete. The tail section had broken away, but the remaining fuselage was in one piece. The distinctive bent wings still held some of their color, the propeller remained attached to the nose, and the gauges and pedals in the single-seat cockpit were intact.

Even the landing gear was whole, although the tires upon which the plane once rested had long since disappeared.

“This plane is beautiful,” said Taras Lyssenko, whose Florida-based firm A&T Recovery led the effort. “It's absolutely beautiful.”

The Corsair was the latest wartime plane to be pulled from Lake Michigan for restoration. It wound up in the water, along with so many other aircraft, because the Navy flew training missions over the lake during the war from the Glenview Naval Air Station.

About 80 planes remain in the lake from that era, Lyssenko said.

This particular airplane went down on June 12, 1943, when its pilot, Ensign Carl H. Johnson, unsuccessfully tried to land on the USS Wolverine, a steamship that had been converted into an aircraft carrier for Navy pilots to practice takeoffs and landings.

Johnson survived the crash but died later that year during a training exercise in Hawaii, according to research by Mark Sheppard, an aviation enthusiast from Oxford, England, who came to Waukegan to witness the Corsair's recovery.

“It's fascinating, really,” Sheppard said when asked why he traveled across the Atlantic for the event.

Chuck Greenhill of Mettawa is all smiles as he stands in the cockpit of a World War II
F4U-1 Corsair fighter plane that was recovered from Lake Michigan Monday by A&T
Recovery at Larsen Marine at Waukegan Harbor. Greenhill financed the recovery
of the Corsair from Lake Michigan. — Gilbert R. Boucher II/Staff Photographer.

Formerly based in Chicago, A&T Recovery has pulled more than 30 aircraft from Lake Michigan.

The Corsair was recovered thanks to civilian funding. Mettawa resident Chuck Greenhill, himself a pilot and a military veteran, put up the cash for the project.

“I saw these things and fell in love with them,” Greenhill said.

Greenhill owns several World War II-era military airplanes, but this one isn't going into his collection. Still the property of the U.S. Navy, it's headed for the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla., where it will be restored.

After it crashed, the Corsair came to rest in 240 feet of water, about 10 miles from shore, Greenhill said. Ahead of Monday's event, workers brought the aircraft to the surface with air bags and towed it to Larsen Marine, where the recovery took place.

Using a large crane, divers and other manpower, workers took about one hour to raise the 8,000-pound Corsair out of the water and onto a waiting blue tarp. Crews had to stop every few feet to let water drain out of the airplane, a maneuver that reduced its weight.

As the plane came up, the air was filled with the stench of decades-old aviation fuel. That prompted Lyssenko to warn the crowd, “No smoking!”

At one point the plane had to be put back into the water because a sharp edge cut the sling holding it.

“When that strap broke, I didn't feel too good,” Lyssenko said afterward. “Now I feel pretty good.”

A member of the recovery crew talks to Taras Lyssenko, of A&T Recovery, in the white helmet, as a
World War II F4U-1 Corsair fighter plane was recovered from Lake Michigan Monday by A&T Recovery
at Larsen Marine at Waukegan Harbor. The Corsair, piloted by Ensign Carl Harold Johnson, crashed
into the lake during training exercises in 1943. — Gilbert R. Boucher II/Staff Photographer.

A World War II F4U-1 Corsair fighter plane was recovered from Lake Michigan Monday by A&T Recovery
at Larsen Marine at Waukegan Harbor. The Corsair, piloted by Ensign Carl Harold Johnson, crashed
into the lake during training exercises in 1943. — Gilbert R. Boucher II/Staff Photographer.

The Corsair will be disassembled and driven by truck to the naval museum. It will take years and millions of dollars to restore the plane, Greenhill said.

But he believes it's worth the effort.

“It's a piece of history,” Greenhill said. “It's an artifact. It's not something you can replace or create.”

Among the onlookers Monday was U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Eric Oldham, who brought his wife and four children to the event.

A history buff, Oldham said he wanted to share the experience with his family.

U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Wegge, director of training and readiness for Navy Region Midwest, watched the Corsair lifted out of the water, too.

“It's a great piece of naval aviation history coming up,” Wegge said. “It's a big thing for us, to see an aircraft like this coming home.”

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20101108/news/711099997 (http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20101108/news/711099997)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on November 25, 2010, 12:51:55 am

A giant Martin Mars waterbomber taking off from Lake Elsinore in California....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cN5PY91sO7A (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cN5PY91sO7A)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on April 12, 2011, 06:18:29 pm

Focke Wulf to fly our skies

Once again it will duel with the legendary Spitfire

By MICHAEL BERRY - The Marlborough Express | 12 NOON - Thursdday, 07 April 2011

RARE BEAST: Jem Aviation technician Dick Veale works on reassembling the Focke Wulf Fw190 for the
Classic Fighters Airshow in Blenheim during Easter. — BEN CURRAN/The Marlborough Express.

A VINTAGE Ferrari of the skies is being reassembled at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre at Blenheim.

The Focke Wulf Fw190 should be airworthy and ready to face off against its rival, the Supermarine Spitfire, at the Classic Fighters Airshow at Omaka Airfield during Easter weekend.

The Fw190 was a Luftwaffe workhorse fighter introduced in 1941 and used over France and Russia. The Spitfire, flown by the Royal Air Force, was the only aircraft to be a frontline fighter from the outbreak of the war to its conclusion in 1945.

Airshow organiser Graham Orphan said the Fw190 arrived in Marlborough on Tuesday fresh off a boat from Germany and will be the only one of its kind flying in the southern hemisphere.

The Fw190 in Blenheim will be based at Omaka indefinitely and is owned by an African-based Kiwi.

The Fw190 was introduced operationally over France in August 1941. This model is a replica, built in Germany, and when it took to the air in 2004 it was the first time a Fw190 had flown since the end of World War II.

The plane was then disassembled and several copies made.

It was put back together during the past two years and as soon as it was finished it was packed up and sent to Omaka.

"We're thrilled to bits; any time you're getting something transported around the world you're dealing with vagaries, delays of shipping and with things not going to plan.

"If it was any closer to Easter we'd be chewing our fingernails pretty badly."

An Auckland pilot was keen to get in the cockpit as soon as it was given the tick to fly by the Civil Aviation Authority, he said.

"He's fizzing to get himself into this thing.

"Most of the aircraft we operate are like Corollas through to Commodores — something like this is really a Ferrari, so any pilot worth his salt would want to get his backside into one."

The Fw190 will be accompanied at the airshow by two Spitfires — the first time two will take to the sky at the show.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/news/4858638/Focke-Wulf-to-fly-our-skies (http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/news/4858638/Focke-Wulf-to-fly-our-skies)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: nitpicker1 on November 29, 2012, 08:54:46 pm

British company claims biggest engine advance since the jet
Published: 5:09PM Thursday November 29, 2012
Source: Reuters

A small British company with a dream of building a re-usable space plane has won an important endorsement from the European Space Agency (ESA) after completing key tests on its novel engine technology.

Reaction Engines Ltd believes its Sabre engine, which would operate like a jet engine in the atmosphere and a rocket in space, could displace rockets for space access and transform air travel by bringing any destination on Earth to no more than four hours away.

read the rest at http://tvnz.co.nz/technology-news/british-company-claims-biggest-engine-advance-since-jet-5249487

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: donquixotenz on May 07, 2013, 07:18:31 pm

A new alert is available for you to view on the Police website:

Location: Waitemata Harbour, Auckland
District: Auckland City

Helicopter crash

Short description: Helicopter crash

Full description:
A small helicopter crashed into Waitemata Harebour between Devonport and 
Tamaki Drive at 1117 am and sunk almost immediately.

A Navy boat and the Police launch Deodar attended. The 2 occupants of the 
helicopter were rescued by Navy personnel and taken over by Deodar where they 
were seen by an on-board paramedic and taken back to Mechanics Bay. They 
suffered minor injuries.

You can also view the full details of the alert online at:



New Zealand Police


Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: donquixotenz on September 02, 2013, 09:50:47 am
Interesting possibilities as this 21st century development advances the avionics frontier...


Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: donquixotenz on August 24, 2014, 08:53:57 pm
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=273736129484317 (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=273736129484317) bet there was a few sticky pants aboard

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: donquixotenz on September 18, 2014, 08:10:20 pm
http://player.vimeo.com/video/93587997 (http://player.vimeo.com/video/93587997)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: donquixotenz on July 30, 2015, 02:55:09 pm
I want one!(http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/ww32/XtraNewsCommunity2/Animated%20emoticons/44_Witch.gif)

Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: donquixotenz on January 12, 2016, 12:43:54 pm


Title: Re: “Big Round Engines” and other classic aviation topics...
Post by: donquixotenz on February 21, 2016, 10:25:05 am
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3454461/Flying-cars-just-TWO-years-away-Terrafugia-claims-TF-X-ready-skies-2018.html#v-4366625095001 carplanes.