You know it is the “Silly season” starting when you have the Christmas functions in fully swing and group visits through the hangar. Last weekend it was a group from TACCOC and this weekend we are proud to show the members of the WONZ Forum around, great excuse for a major clean up.
The P39 is progressing well and we are waiting delivery of the fuel bag tanks so we can start the installation of these. Work continues with the electrics (a few more wires than a P40 with electric gear and flaps) tubing is also being bent as we speak for the coolant and oil plumbing. All of the fabric covering for this aircraft has now been completed.
Work continues on the P40’s with some solid progress on both airframes and just in time for Christmas some bling has been added to the bearhawk
Just as a bit of fun (although not all fun) we decided to have a cooking competition the rules were pretty clear anything that could be cooked in the small muffin tins we provided and no packet mixes. So every Wednesday for the past couple of months we have been teated to some mouth watering delicacy’s. I am very happy to say no real failures, certainly not in the taste department.
The winner as judged by his peers was Jason Harris with his smoked fish pies wrapped in bacon followed closely by Marty’s stick date puddings with butterscotch sauce.
Not aviation related I know but a bit of fun.
It finally happened last week Bristol Freighter NZ5911 was uplifted and moved off our tarmac to the Ports of Auckland to begin it’s journey back to Filton. This was the end of what has been a rather large logistical exercise with the container carrying the engines, props and other ancillary parts having left early last month.
This aircraft when restored will move into the museum at Filton which is having it’s grand opening today, this museum acknowledges the important role that the Bristol Aircraft Company has played in British aviation. We wish them well for the opening and the future.
The announcement in Classic Wings Downunder has caused quite a stir it seems there are a lot of people out there who are as excited as us about this. We have already had a lot of questions asked about all manner of details so hopefully my bullet points below will answer most of these.
The project is currently owned by Pioneer Aero.
It is located at our hangar at Ardmore, Auckland New Zealand and at this point is not available for public viewing.
Yes the intention is to return it to flight.
It is a DH 103 Sea Hornet, it is not a Mosquito
There is still a lot of detail to be worked through so we have no firm idea of time frames at this stage.
Yes we are a little crazy.
It is appropriate at this stage to acknowledge and thank the following people.
Corin McCrae , Aerowood.
Mr Reg Field.
David Collins, Project Hornet. U.K.
Hugh Jones U.K.
Work carries on with the P39, P40’s and also the dismantling and preparing of the Bristol Freighter for it’s trip to the UK. The P39 has had both of it’s wings trial fitted which was a huge relief to the team who had spent a lot of hours replacing and reaming wing fittings, with the wings on we are reminded that this is a small aeroplane only 36 ft wingspan.
Great progress has been made on one P40 with remedial work being carried out on both wings and the second of the main U/C fairings well on the way, also work on the 2 seat conversion happening as well. Work continues at a slower pace on the other P40 but it is looking good.
With Murray Ransfield and Bruce Ricketts (both ex RNZAF) leading the charge and loving every minute of it the Freighter has had its UC and centre section removed and is now sitting on it’s belly, we are now getting frames made for all of the items to be shipped on. While this has been happening David Bradley from the Bristol Aero Collection Trust has been out from the UK sorting out the other 1000’s of pieces to head in that direction. David as seen in the photo below was missing the English summer so did his best to replicate it.
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.