|Aircraft Profiles from New Zealand & Australia
Catalina PBY-5A Corsair FG-1D NZ5648 Spitfire XVI FU-P Spitfire VIII RG-V
Operators of The Kiwi Catalina PBY-5A, NZ4017 XX-T
The completion of the delivery flight of the then only flying Catalina in Australiasia (Australia now has one also) to New Plymouth New Zealand on October 26 1994 signaled both an end to an epic struggle and a new beginning for a dedicated and focused team of individuals. This aircraft is the product of a proven formula of share ownership and also the added advantage of a supporters group that allow the purchase and running of such a large aircraft. Without this formula we would never have seen this aircraft in New Zealand skies.
The aircraft's history means it is well known to many as it was used to provide flights all over Africa when registered as Z-CAT and once billed as the “Last African Flying Boat”. However it began life as a Canadian produced “Canso A” Srn: CV-357 and RCAF service No: 11054. Taken onto strength on March 20th 1944 it was struck off 27th June 1947. Converted to civilian use in 1955 it was used by various companies until the early 1980’s and ended up in a “tired” state at Reno in 1986. It was then converted to passenger use and taken to Africa. From late 1988 until 1994 this now well known “Z-Cat”, flew mostly around the Nile and Charter trips, was well documented by the BBC giving this PBY world wide exposure The last big adventure for this bird was the delivery flight to New Zealand which started on 13th Oct 1994 and concluded on 26th Oct 1994. This epic and details are all available in the book Catalina Dreaming (see end of page) and an article in the excellent Magazine Classic Wings Downunder Dec/Jan 1994/1995. (cwd.co.nz).
ZK-PBY wears an RNZAF pacific theater colour scheme of Sea Blue on upper services, Light Blue sides, and Matt White on lower surfaces. The markings are of NZ 4017 based at Segond Channel with No 6 (FB) Squadron RNZAF. These are made up of a Red/White/Blue fin flash, roundels outlined in yellow around the blue circle and squadron code of XX and individual code of T applied in yellow. This particular aircraft has a history, in that it carried out the first operational patrol around the Solomon Island's area. It also was involved with major rescues from ships and downed aircraft.
Contact Details for the CATALINA GROUP: WEB Site A brief History of RNZAF Catalina's
PO Box 527, Papakura,
Phone: (64)-8-329 0370 Fax: (64)-9 298 9868
CATALINA CLUB & FRIENDS of the CATALINA
Friends of the Catalina, PO BOX 163
Oneroa, Waiheke Island,
Phone: (64)-9-372 8906
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OLD STICK & RUDDER COMPANY
Operators of original WW2 RNZAF Corsair FG-1D NZ5648
Airframe No.: 92844 Manufacturer’s No.: 3205
The Vought F4U-1 Corsair entered service with the RNZAF in 1944. By this time the Japanese Navy & Army Air Forces had ceased to exist so the Corsair was modified to the ground attack role. The RNZAF operated 424 Corsairs in the Pacific and New Zealand, losing 17 to enemy action and 150 in accidents, not an uncommonly high figure.
Of these aircraft, there is only one Kiwi Corsair still flying,. Of the 424 Corsairs taken on by the RNZAF, this aircraft was one of 60 FG-1D’s. The "D" had the outboard-wing leading edge fuel tanks deleted and hard points for bombs or external fuel tanks installed under the centre section This aircraft joined the RNZAF on 17 August 1945. It was flown back to New Zealand along with all the other Corsair survivors to be placed in open storage at Rukuhia, Hamilton, thus joining other Corsairs, Kittyhawks, Hudsons, Venturas and Avengers in the ‘Rukuhia Graveyard’. On 11 April 1949, 33 Corsairs were declared surplus and for sale by tender. On 9 May 1949 it was declared that 32 of these had been sold to Mr J. Asplin, a Hamilton garage proprietor. Among these was NZ5648. All but three of the Corsairs were subsequently broken up and melted down by 1962.
During the early 1960’s, after spending many years standing at the side of Asplin’s garage FG-1D NZ5648, was restored to static condition as NZ5611 ‘Josephine’ by members of the Waikato Aero Club, Aviation Firms based at Rukuhia, Mr Asplin and several others who were interested in seeing the aircraft preservered. They put many hours into its restoration, obtaining missing parts from various sources. Iinvolved in the restoration was a pilot that actually flew the aircraft while in the Pacific, Mr Frank Bish. When completed he was at NZ5648’s controls on the day in 1966 that Hamilton Airport was officially opened and made several high speed runs along the runway.
From 1966 the Corsair was left parked in the open at Hamilton Airport and sustained damage to the rudder by vandals. Eventually, in 1968, ‘Josephine’ was moved to the Museum of Transport and Technolgy (MoTaT) at Western Springs, Auckland, for preservation and display. The aircraft was still owned by Asplin. The fighter was sold to American Ed Jurist in 1971 and shipped to Los Angeles. Enroute, however, the ship was diverted to Vancouver, Canada, due to a dock strike on the US West Coast. At Vancouver the aircraft was unloaded but Ed Jurist then ran into trouble with the Canadian Authorities who declared it an ‘article of war’! The aircraft was then stored for nearly two years as the bureaucratic wrangling continued. Eventually Ed Jurist sold ‘Josephine’ to Jim Landry and Pat Palmer in 1973, Jim Landry later bought out Pat Palmer’s share in the aircraft. After much negotiation, the Canadain Authorities released the aircraft and it was transported to the United States.
By this stage ‘Josephine’ was in sorry state, having suffered from the heavy handling and transportation. However, a long restoration project then commenced – eleven years later NZ5648, alias NZ561 ‘11’ ‘Josephine’ flew again on 17 July 1982 from Paine Field, Everett, Washington, USA, as NX55JP ‘Big Hog’ in the colour scheme and markings of Lt/ Cdr John T. Blackburn, CO of VF-17.
Doug Arnold purchased her in 1989 for his Warbirds of Great Britain Ltd collection. It then moved to Ray Hannahs Old Flying Machine Company Limited, and flew in the United Kingdom as part of the " Breitling Fighter Display" Team, until returning for the "2004 Warbirds over Wanaka" airshow and hopefully never to leave our shores again.
Today the classic Kiwi Corsair, the last of 424 operated by the RNZAF, is painted in her original RNZAF markings and is resident in Masterton, New Zealand, and flys for all New Zealanders to see, hear and remember thier History.
You Tube - New Zealand TV3 News Item
Currently Based at The Old Stick & Rudder
Co, Masterton New Zealand
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TEMORA AVIATION MUSEUM
Operators of Australia's Genuine War Veteran - Spitfire Mk XVIe TB863 FU-P
This Spitfire was born at the Vickers-Armstrong factory in Castle Bromwich near Birmingham, in late 1944. The "LF" prefix designated Low Level Fighter, meaning that the wing tips were shortened to allow a higher roll rate, and the "XVI" designated that the power plant was an American Packard V-1650 ( a license built version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 266 ), and the "e" indicated the armament of two Hispano 20mm cannon and two Browning 0.5"machine guns. (Effectively this was a Mk IX )
TB863 was test flown and issued to No:453 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force on 24th March 1945.
This date also being its first operational flight day. The last operational flight being on 12th May, a patrol over Guernsey. TB863 had flown 12 missions mostly low level during its 6 weeks of combat and done 23hrs 55min of flight time. TB863 passed through many rolls and units, as well as dressing up as the enemy for a flypast in July 1950. A take off mishap on 17th July 1951 ended its flying career. TB863 was used as stage prop in 1955 "Reach for the Sky" a film about Douglas Bader, followed 12 years later to be used in the film "Battle of Britain". Following filming in Dec 1968 TB863 went to private hands to be restored to display status. Moved again in 1972, 1974,1977 and 1982. The last move was the start of serious restoration. Sold to Stephen Grey in 1985 the ownership passed to Sir Tim Wallis in 1987.
Registered in New Zealand as ZK-XVI it first flew in New Zealand on 25th Jan 1989 at the hands of Stephen Grey in "Bare Metal" finish. TB863's life in New Zealand has not been without its events. The first was a forced landing at the hands of Sir Tim from a fuel problem and the second a landing mishap on grass when the wheels dug into an unexpected soft patch. However each repair has improved the condition of the aircraft and its future. Painted up in its original markings as "FU-P", TB863 has brought much pleasure and admiration for the aircraft. The unique sight and sound of a "Spitfire" draws all sorts of people to come "Look & Listen" and leave with a smile on their faces and memories to keep for ever. Long may this very special piece of history fly free in the skies.
TB863 was sold in 2006 to Temora Aviation Museum in Australia and moved on to be displayed and enjoyed by all at Australian airshows. Its now "Home" so to speak withn its operational squadrons country men.
Operators of Australia's Genuine RAAF - Spitfire Mk VIII A58-758 RG-V
This aircraft was the last Spitfire acquired by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It was built by Supermarine in England in 1944, test flown and then shipped to Australia. The Air Force took delivery of the aircraft in April 1945. With World War II drawing to a close, the aircraft was not required on active service and was placed into storage.
After the war, the aircraft was used at Sydney Technical College as an instructional airframe. It was then acquired by Mr. Sid Marshall who stored it, disassembled, at Bankstown until 1982.
Mr. Colin Pay of Scone obtained the Spitfire and began a detailed restoration program which was completed in 1985 when the aircraft flew again.
The aircraft is painted in the green and grey camouflage colours worn by the RAAF aircraft defending Darwin during World War II and in operations in the South West Pacific.
The aircraft carries the markings of Wing Commander R.H. (Bobby) Gibbes AM WG CMR DSO DFC*.
Currently based at Temora Aviation Museum View Video clip of Mk VIII From Temora Web Site
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