Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Vintage Aviator - Some Aircraft at Wings Over Wairarapa 2015, plus Radio NZ Soundtrack

Despite the disappontment of not seeing The Vintage Aviator aircraft fly at Wings Over Wairarapa 2015, I did have a really interesting time seeing in their engineering hangar and also photographing several of their aircraft as they were pushed out of and back into hangars after the wind got up and damaged the Sopwith Camel.

I did catch up with most of their new aircraft that I was hoping to see including the new BE 2c and the DH 4 (photos not allowed), a new BE 12, one of the new Sopwith Snipes, the Avro 504K outside, and the Albatros II that has been around for a couple of years.

TVAL Sopwith 7 F1 Snipe ZK-SNI marked as F2367.

And TVAL Albatros D II ZK-JNB3 marked as D.386/16.

The Albatros D VA was developed from the D II and they share similar but different monococque fuselages and the same type of Mercedes engine.  However the rudders were different as were the wings and wing struts (the D II had parallel struts while the D VA had V struts as can be seen in the above photo).

The above three aircraft are examples of aircraft manufactured by The Vintage Aviator as a certified aircraft manufacturer under Part 148 of the New Zealand Civil Aviation Regulations.  They are effectively the same as the aircraft that would have come from the production lines during WW 1, except that modern glues are used and the artilliary is non-firing (although it is exactly the same weight as the originals).

The story of The Vintage Aviator is an amazing one, which has resulted in the greatest collection of flying WW 1 aircraft in the world.  By my reckoning The Vintage Aviator has manufactured or finished 24 new build flying WW 1 reproduction aircraft since 2007 (as well as some non-flying reproductions). And there are a lot more aircraft and different types to come!

You can get an idea of the certified aircraft manufacturing process and some of the new aircraft to come in the next year or so in the Radio New Zealand documentary "Creating Vintage Aircraft" at  which features Gene De Marco taking a tour around The Vintage Aviator's workshops in Kilbinie in Wellington.  It is quite long (1hour 7 minutes) but well worth the listen.

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