Summer flying weekends

The Saturday and Sunday of Anzac Weekend marked the last public viewing opportunity of the remarkable The Vintage Aviator Ltd (TVAL) collection of original, reproduction and replica WWI aircraft for the 2016 summer season.
One feature of this collection is that it is always changing. The skill and expertise of TVAL at Hood Aerodrome, run by maintenance manager Dave Cretchley and his team of workers, in building and creating new examples of WWI aircraft to add to its already world renowned collection must be seen to be believed.

Put this together with production manager and chief pilot Gene DeMarco and his team of top class pilots and ground crew, and you have the perfect match to show this unique collection of well over 30 aircraft at its best—in the air and in full view of enthralled spectators.

This season has been memorable with, on average, one new aircraft being either flown in public or displayed to the public for the first time at every month’s flying weekend.

The newest TVAL aeroplanes, in no particular order of appearance, are:

• Hanriot HD1: An original example built in 1918, this came from the RAF Museum and is now part of the TVAL collection at Masterton. It is powered by an original 110hp Le Rhône rotary engine.

• LVG C1V: Constructed over an eight-year period for TVAL by the Memorial Flight Association in France, it is powered by an original 220hp Benz B24.

• B.E. 12: A reproduction aircraft built from scratch by TVAL, it is powered by an RAF 4a V12 engine.

• B.E. 2C: Another reproduction aircraft built from scratch by TVAL, it is powered by an RAF 1a. Both of the RAF 1a and RAF 4a engines were also constructed by TVAL using reverse engineering with information gained from original engines and specifications.

• DH4: This replica was originally built in the USA and was meticulously reassembled by TVAL at Masterton. It is powered by an original 400hp Liberty A12 engine.


Gala occasion marks 150th anniversary

Government House in Wellington was the appropriate venue on 1 April for over 100 members and partners of the New Zealand Division of the Royal Aeronautical Society to mark two RAeS anniversaries—the 150th anniversary of the formation of the RAeS itself and the 70th anniversary of the NZ Division.

The dinner was hosted by His Excellency Lt Gen the Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Lady Mateparae, with special guest Air Chf Mshl Sir Stephen Dalton, president elect of the UK RAeS. Other senior guests included Air NZ CEO Christopher Luxon, CAA Director Graeme Harris and Acting Chief of Air Force, Air Cdre Darren Webb.

NZDF helicopter changeover

The last of the SH-2G(NZ) Seasprites has been retired, replaced by eight of these SH-2G(I) models. 

The retirement of the New Zealand Defence Force Seasprite SH-2G(NZ) naval helicopters was marked with a small celebration on 14 April as part of a change of command ceremony held at RNZAF Base Auckland. The NZ model helicopters will be replaced by eight of the newer SH-2G(I) model. 

The last flight of the NZ model took place a week later when the remaining aircraft returned from assisting the cyclone recovery operation in Fiji. The two Seasprites were flown off HMNZS Canterbury and returned to Whenuapai...

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