Friday 31 December 2021

A Surprise at Whananaki yesterday

A surprise arrival at the Northern Aviators Club's flyin at Whananaki yesterday was Mike Crene's Titan T 51B Mustang ZK-DBG2.  It was a long way from its base at Feilding.

It was fitted wing drop tanks under the wings - I wonder if they carry fuel for extra range?

Thanks for the photo Martin.

Thursday 30 December 2021

Airvan VH-PGU at Nelson

 Lord Nelson captured the Gippsland GA-8 Airvan VH-PGU3 c/n GA-8-TC320-146 at Nelson today.

First noted as VH-BQY2 on 29-06-2009 with MAF International of Cairns, Queensland with a change to P2-MFL2 on 01-10-2009 to Mission Aviation Fellowship of Mt Hagen in PNG. This was cancelled on 26-07-2021 for it to become VH-PGU3 from 31-08-2021 with Eyal Aharoni of Wellington with VHBHR Pty Ltd of Cairns listed as the operator.

It was ferried from Archerfield to NZ via Lord Howe Island on 05-11-2021 and was noted at Tauranga on 09-11-2021 : see

It has also been noted at Wellington and Blenheim.

Whananaki Flyin Today 30-12-2021

Northern Aviators Club president Martin Farrand hosted the possibly last New Zealand flyin of the year at Whananaki (on the East Coast North of Whangarei), today.  The location is great and the weather was helpful with the wind right down Runway 21, and a good turnout of different types of sport aircraft attended.  Rusty Russell flew up from Whangarei in his MT 03 Eagle autogyro and he took these photos:

Tecnam Sierra RG ZK-TZS,  Ultravia Pelican ZK-MAL2, Just Aircraft Super STOL ZK-ZOE and Aeroprakt A 32 Vixxen ZK-VXN,

Magni M 24 gyro ZK-MGI, Vans RV 7 ZK-LDM, Fly Syntheis Texan ZK-TXN2. and then there are a couple of Aeroprakt Foxbats ZK-SGI and ZK-VAW as well an MTO Sport gyro ZK-RDM and Martin's Cherokee 180 ZK-CUC.

Another aircraft up from Springhill was Martin Harrison's Glastar Sportsman tri-gear ZK-SPZ. There is another Glastar Sportsman tri-gear that has been recently imported into New Zealand and registered ZK-MMX to a Private Owner - does anyone out there have any information on where this aircraft is based?

Zenair CH701 STOL ZK-MIZ

Zenair CH701 STOL N821CD (c/n 7-4094) appeared on the US register on 03-02-2010 with Chris Desmond of Sebastopol, California. 

On 20-04-2012 it moved to Farris Ellis over at Rincon, Georgia followed by Ron Thompson of Titusville, Florida from 11-09-2013. 
Its US letters were cancelled on 15-10-2014 on export to NZ.
The photo above from Air and shows it as N821CD at Casa Grande on 03-03-2012.
 Note the small tail wheel mounted on the rudder post [since removed in a weight reduction programme].
Its US registration was cancelled on 15-10-2014 and it arrived at Rangiora in mid December 2014. 

It is seen below on 20 -12-2014 without markings.

It was listed as ZK-AMC2 on 14-01-2015 to Alex and Richard Mason of Rangiora.
Its markings were applied two days later.
Photo above was shot on 16-01-2015 with the "AMC" markings not yet dry.
That's Richard with his head in the bowels of the Grey Ghost.

Above as seen at Loburn Abbey on 22-04-2017.

On 14-10-2021 I caught up with the airframe again at Timaru but did not recognise the registration of  'MIZ'.
Turns out it had just been sold to P A Innes of Timaru from 03-09-2021 with the change of registration paperwork to ZK-MIZ2 with NZCAA.

Wednesday 29 December 2021

Piper PA31-325 Navajo CR ZK-ECQ

Visiting Pauanui today was the Tauranga based 1976 model PA31-325 Navajo CR ZK-ECQ in a smart new paint scheme.    Originally imported from Australia in 1995 it has been with its current owner, Dairy Tech International, since 2014 and its new colours match the company's Aztec ZK-DGT.  


Cicare SVH-4 ZK-HZV

Another interesting helicopter currently listed for sale on Trade Me is the Argentinian built Cicare SVH-4 ZK-HZV3.    Built by Cicare SA in the Buenos Aires province of Argentina it is a conventional helicopter attached to a mobile ground platform.  This allows the use of all flight controls including lift off to a normal hover at 3ft AGL and hover taxiing.    Powered by a Rotax 912 it is registered with NZ CAA as a "trainer aircraft" to T C Pike of Waimauku.


Tuesday 28 December 2021


Post Xmas the activity at Pauanui airfield has ramped up and amongst these was the 1972 model Piper PA32-260 ZK-DEF from New Plymouth, featuring a smart new paint scheme.  This has been with its current owner since mid 2020.

And the appropriately registered Aeroprakt 22LS Foxbat ZK-FXB2 which is registered to the local agents, Foxbat NZ Ltd.   This was imported from Australia in 2017.


Monday 27 December 2021

Revolution Mini 500 ZK-HXH

One of 2 Revolution Mini 500 kitset helicopters currently on the NZ register is ZK-HXH4 which was registered to Havelock owner, Tomino Cacciamani back in 2016.    Currently undergoing certification test flights it is listed for sale on Trade Me.


Sunday 26 December 2021

Update on Cessna 185A ZK-CBS

Jordan Elvy was at Paraparaumu airport on Christmas Eve and photo'd the venerable Cessna 185A ZK-CBS.  As there has been recent posts on this aircraft I thought I would post it in its most recent iteration with Patchett Ag Air titles: 

Thanks for the photo Jordan.

Three from Christchuch today

Aaron Murphy reports from Christchurch International. 
On the Tie downs near the Canterbury Aero Club was the Cessna 182T Skylane ZK-PJC c/n 18281476 which has been listed with Europac XP Ltd since March of 2017.

Air New Zealand's latest - and the last of an order for 29 aircraft - ATR-GIE ATR 72-212A (ATR 600) ZK-MZF c/n 1691 arrived in Christchurch from France back on the 15th of December.
Here it is arriving from Napier today.

Arriving back home after a day run to the Chatham Islands was the Bombardier CL600-2B16           ZK-JCJ2 c/n 5304 of GCH Jet Operations Ltd.

Saturday 25 December 2021

Friday 24 December 2021

Piper PA32R-301 Saratoga SP N100NA

An interesting visitor to Pauanui today was the Te Kowhai based Piper PA32R-301 Saratoga SP N100NA.    Built in 1980 this arrived in NZ earlier this year and is currently registered to a Trustee company in Suffolk, UK.



This week has seen the arrival of some of the regular summer holiday residents at Pauanui including the Pukekohe Flying Group's 1977 model Cessna 172N ZK-ELY2 in a smart new colour scheme.  This was imported from the US in 2007.

Up from Nelson is the 1974 model Beech C23 ZK-DVC still wearing its Abel Tasman Air script.


Thursday 23 December 2021

Classic Fighters 2023 Newsletter

As our thoughts turn to 2022, why not also look a little further forward to 2023?  This first newsletter for Classic Fighters 2023 gives a taste of what we will have to look forward to, and it will be a lot!


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Merry Christmas and welcome to the first official newsletter of the Yealands Classic Fighters Airshow 2023 campaign. We've been allowing a little time for the dust to settle after having worked for so long to set up the Easter 2021 airshow, and then having to dismantle it, and then of course we worked hard to move the show to September and then had to cancel again and dismantle that event as well. Phew!   That really tests the stamina! 

We have however, tidied everything away in preparation for our Easter 2023 airshow, and we have such a brilliant 'head-start' for that event, that we are now enjoying the options available to us for making it something extra special. It DESERVES to be a show that really 'knocks it out of the park'!






Firstly, I'd like to thank our great friends from Yealands Wines here in Marlborough for their ongoing support of this wonderful Marlborough event.  Without them it would be hard for us to have reached this far. To all of our sponsors, thanks so much for sticking with us during this very difficult couple of years.

Secondly, thank you to all of you ticket holders who had purchased your Gold Passes and regular tickets for the 2021 event(s) and had the faith to roll over those ticket purchases for the 2023 show. This is hugely appreciated.

Thirdly, to all of those who have indicated a desire to buy your 2023 tickets ahead of time in order to help with the foundation building of this landmark event. Thank you so much for your faith in our team and in the unique event which is the Yealands Classic Fighters Omaka Airshow.  

For all of you, we would like to say that you can expect your faith to be rewarded with a unique, world-class, and highly innovative event over Easter 2023! 





The aircraft we have most been waiting for to join the collection of resident Omaka based WW-I machines is the Bristol Fighter, ZK-BHS. This should have been flying mid-year, but a recommendation to open up no fewer than 76 holes in the wings to inspect the internals was followed and once these inspections had been carried out and the wings resealed, they started to look like a patchwork quilt!  So despite the intention to maintain as much of the 'Hollywood patina' as possible, it really became time to give these wings some fresh paint. This in turn led to a review of the dull looking roundels that the wings were carrying and these have now also been repainted in the richer colours we always wanted. The aircraft really has been lifted markedly since our original plan and we can't wait to start flying her over the summer here at Omaka. 

The Bristol is one of a number of WW-I aircraft that belong to Omaka based individuals and groups, which are progressing steadily towards joining those that are already in flying condition at the field so you can expect to see a few new Great War participants (and in fact new resident aircraft from all eras) at the 2023 airshow. 



Here is a preview of a particularly exciting WW-I aircraft project, in the form of John Saunders' SE5a. This completely accurate airframe will be powered by an original WW-I Hispano Suiza V-8 air-cooled aero engine which has already been painstakingly rebuilt here at Omaka. 






It was a momentous day here at Omaka on Monday, 8th November as the John Smith Mosquito TE910 roared into life for the first time in over half a century! As you will know all too well, this aircraft was recovered from her 'barn-find' home after decades in storage just 14 months ago, when the Smith family placed her into the care of the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre and into the hands of project leader Al Marshall. Al and his team worked miracles to bring the Mosquito to a carefully considered, balanced display status, but also took the time and care to trial run each of the engines in the test-stand prior to installation. Finally, after months of additional work to prepare for the run, the aircraft was wheeled outside and fired up.....and she ran perfectly! There will be more runs in the future to allow the public a chance to experience this special aeroplane at her best, but these will be limited in number since our first responsibility here is to preserve this very special aircraft to the best of our collective ability. Keep an eye out for releases from the Omaka AHC as to when this might happen next. 






It seems as though there are almost as many heritage motor vehicle initiatives in and around Omaka as there are aircraft!  One that was being worked on for the September airshow was John Baker's Canadian CMP 'Quad' truck (known in some parts of the Commonwealth as a 'Blitz wagon').  John's truck had served during WW-II as a radio truck and so this is how he has restored the vehicle. He even has the ZC1 radio and aerials ready to install. The good news is that the truck is now finished and has come up wonderfully well!
This is one of a large and growing collection of vehicles of this era that have been drawn to Marlborough in recent years, the owners of which just love sharing them with airshow attendees. In even more exciting news, there is a private collection of half a dozen high quality restored WW-II vehicles gearing up to move to Marlborough in the next few months to be active and participating at the 2023 airshow so we're already getting very excited about this.  With so many great old vehicles now based on the airfield itself, we may be hosting a few suitable events to allow some of these to be showcased during the summer months.  Watch this space!






The long awaited Waco UOC custom cabin restoration being carried out by owners Rex Newman and Jay McIntyre has made some striking advances in recent months. The last survivor of three of this model built in 1935, this example as many of you will know, was bought new by the Marlborough Aero Club right here at Omaka, enjoyed a solid flying career as the 'MAC Flagship' for most of a decade, later being damaged by new owners in the North Island. It then spent half a century stored in various parts of Australia but never flown in that country, before being brought home to her original Omaka residence to be brought back to life. It is an amazing 'prodigal son' story, albeit with wings!  The aircraft is nearing completion now after some intensive restoration here on the field, and she is turning into a real eye-catcher, once again wearing the same colours and markings she carried as a new aeroplane.  The Waco is one of FOUR significant art-deco aeroplanes due to make their first appearance over Omaka during the next few months. Watch this space!






This has been the world's only active representative Yak-9V in recent times, operating in France. The Omaka aircraft will look very similar in configuration to this. 



When we started the move to create an aviation heritage 'centre of activity' here at Omaka a quarter of a century ago, it would have been hard to imagine a time when we could boast four flyable WW-II fighters and a WW-II bomber resident at the airfield however this is the case now and we could not be happier about that. Most of you will already know that these include two Yak-3s, 'Full Noise' and 'Steadfast'; the Spitfire Mk.XIVe and the Focke Wulf FW190A plus of course the magnificent Avro Anson Mk.I, the world's sole airworthy example. What is a little less well known is that there are another FOUR WW-II fighters under active restoration here at Omaka, along with other WW-II machines of different roles looming and even more fighters waiting in the queue. 

Activity is presently centred on two more V-12 Yak fighters, along with two Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawks! At JEM Aviation, where the Yak-3M 'Full Noise' was completely rebuilt some years ago, work is happening in parallel on the long-term Yak-9V being restored for our Omaka based syndicate, and on the exciting and very rare Yak-7B, the only example of this attractive, high-back Yak iteration that you're likely to see anywhere in the coming years. This was a more recent arrival from the USA and is being upgraded for its owner, Mike O'Rourke from Tauranga. Both of these aircraft are now structurally advanced but awaiting the building of new engine mounts and once those are done, should both move steadily towards completion. 

In John Saunders' hangar right next door to the Yak rebuilds at JEM Aviation, the members of 'Team Curtiss' are working their magic.  John, Mike Nicholls and their team of supporters, have already performed the sensitive refurbishment of P-40N 'Gloria Lyons', now displayed in the AHC WW-II hall and now have her sister ex-RNZAF P-40 from the John Smith hangar, P-40E 'Bess', under steady rebuild towards a return to flying condition. This is alongside John's own P-40E restoration which has been underway prior to the John Smith aeroplanes arriving and which is now structurally advanced to a very high standard with most items on hand to complete the restoration. 

According to our figures, current initiatives, including those outlined here, will see the number of WW-II fighters flying in New Zealand, DOUBLE in the next half a decade. That should make the Kiwi warbird scene even more exciting than it already is. Long may it continue!





If you are looking for that last minute gift, we have some great deals on merchandise, including 'Supporters Packs' of bundled items from the cancelled 2021 airshow. Check out the gifts at:

Or you might wish to purchase tickets to the 2023 Yealands Classic Fighters.
We are holding current prices until 28 February 2022, so buy now!



To all our Yealands Classic Fighters friends, thank you for your support and our very best wishes for fabulous, festive fun over Christmas and a brilliant New Year. Whatever you plan to do or wherever you expect to be, we hope you have a wonderful time, catching up with friends & family, or just chilling out and relaxing. After 2021, that feels more important than ever!




For more information and to purchase tickets, please see our website:











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