Work has been progressing steadily with these 3 projects and I have put some new photos up on the project pages. The P39 has all of the new wing fittings now bolted in and the RH wing has been successfully trial fitted, I can safely say it has been bolted to the fuselage for the first time. The fuel tanks are now being made , 12 of the little buggers, these are small rubber bladders connected with tubes.
The Bristol Freighter has now been cleared of Asbestos and deemed safe to work on and in so work will continue getting that ready for sending to the UK. As part of this process we have David Bradley here with us from the UK sorting through containers and attempting to see all of the Freighters still in NZ, today he is at the Wigram Museum.
After months of on going health problems and continuing weight loss the difficult decision was made to put the once feisty hangar cat to rest. It seemed strange to walk into the hangar this morning and not get tripped up by one cat demanding food.
He will be missed but we could not stand to see the daily deterioration in his condition.
Thanks to Trevor for taking the unpleasant trip to the vets.
I have posted some new photos on the website including one of the wings for one of the P40’s together, thats when you realise that you need more room than your average double garage to accomplish this.
Yesterday we had the pleasure of hosting Warbird collector and all round nice guy Kermit Weeks on his first visit to Ardmore in over 8 years.
And today to beat the weather (again) we shifted the Bristol Freighter across the airfield and onto our tarmac, there was a fair bit of grass tracking involved in this so even though we haven’t dried out from the last storm it just had to happen. It went with out a hitch I am pleased to say.
The culmination of a lot of prep work came today when the wings were lifted off the Bristol Freighter and transported across the airfield to the Pioneer Aero tarmac.
This is the first phase of what will be a rather large “pack up” before the aircraft leave New Zealand and heads back to Bristol.
It is hoped that the fuselage can now be towed across the field but we are waiting for the grass to dry a little first.
Normally there would be a great deal of suspicion with these two looking like this but we know that the tool man has just been and delivered the goodies.
Thanks to Dave Homewood for having me as his guest yesterday on Warbird radio live.
below is a link if any of you wish to listen in. Well I think I have posted the link.
A beautiful Friday morning and all 3 of the containers have just left containing what was half of New Zealand’s servicable Strikemaster fleet.
The tarmac is now clear and ready for the next “stocking filler”
I know you should never say never but I will go out on a limb and say that I don’t think we will ever see 3 serviceable Strikemasters on the same bit of tarmac in New Zealand again. Let alone 3 ex RNZAF ones.
On return from the Tauranga airshow this morning the 70 and 62 which are about to head to the US were parked next to 72 which is staying here, for the final few photos.
It has been a great 6 years with these aircraft and we look forward to maintaining our links with 72 as it continues to fly in New Zealand. In 1992 when the aircraft dis appeared to Australia I don’t think anyone ever thought there would be a flying Strikemaster in New Zealand again but thanks to Brett Nicholls, Brian Hall and Charles Davis we have been fortunate to see them flying at aviation events all around the country.
We will follow the continuing flying on 62 and 70 in the US with interest, a little ironic that another couple of our dated and “clapped out” aircraft are finding a new home in the US being used for defence contracts.
As most of you probably know by now this weekends Airshow at Tauranga will be the last chance you will get to see Strikemasters 62 and 70 flying together in New Zealand. Once they have returned to Ardmore dis-assembly will start and they will be containerised for shipment to the US. One consolation for all you Strikemaster fans out there should be they are returning to their “natural habitat” and will be flying in the close air support role in support of US military training out of Las Vegas.
Thanks to Brett Nicholls for what has been a crazy 6 years.
Strikemaster 72 and also Brian Halls ex Saudi jet will continue to live and fly here in NZ.
Already our hangar is full of engines, and other spare parts ready for packing new week.