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Piece of aviation history arrives at museum
A Fokker Friendship minus the ends of its wings and most of its tail passes through Luggate on its way from Christchurch to its new home at Wanaka's National Transport and Toy Museum yesterday.
Twelve tonnes of New Zealand's aviation history arrived safely at Wanaka Airport yesterday morning after a long night on the road. The Fokker Friendship left Air New Zealand's Aviation Institute at Christchurch Airport at midnight and, apart from a few centimetres of snow on the road at Tekapo, encountered no major obstacles.
Short of the ends of its wings and most of its tail, the old Friendship was lifted off the bus and truck rtransporter and on to its wheels at its new home, the National Transport and Toy Museum at Wanaka Airport, about midday yesterday.
Airport curator Jason Rhodes told the Otago Daily Times the aircraft had been given to the museum by Air New Zealand, although the museum had paid the transportation costs.
A spokesman for the institute said the Friendship had last flown 21 years ago before it was taken out of service to be used for training engineers. The institute now used Jetstream 31s.
Mr Rhodes said the Friendship would have its wings and other components reattached later this year by two retired Air New Zealand engineers from Christchurch and it would be stored in a museum hangar.
The idea was to allow the public, particularly children, to climb on board, Mr Rhodes said.
"A lot of kids never get a chance to fly ... so this is what I consider the nearest thing they will get."
Mr Rhodes would like to see the Friendship ultimately restored to the point where it could fly again.
"The engines and everything are all as they should be.
"There's no reason why we can't run this up if we want to."
Friendships were a very robust aircraft and were still being used to carry passengers in Third World countries.
"Well proven, good track record, all that sort of thing."
It is believed only one Friendship is still flying in New Zealand - as a cargo plane.
The remains of another Friendship from the institute are being shipped to a museum in the Chatham Islands.
The Dutch-made Friendships went into production in 1958.
They were capable of carrying up to 32 passengers and 24 of them were used on domestic routes in New Zealand from 1978 to 1990http://www.odt.co.nz/news/queenstown-lakes/221442/plane-arrives-museum