Reproduction Pearse confirmed for January airshow
The Pearse replica, recreated by Ivan Mudrovcich from patent records and other original sources, is nearly ready for test flying at Whenuapai and will feature at next month’s Wings Over Wairarapa airshow alongside the 1910 Pither replica from Southland. At the other end of the aviation technology scale will be a symposium on remotely piloted aerial systems.
One of New Zealand’s greatest aviation debates will be rekindled at Wings Over Wairarapa 2015 as it has been confirmed that a reproduction of Richard Pearse’s aeroplane will be one of those featured.
More than century after South Canterbury farmer and inventor Richard Pearse flew his monoplane — suggested by some to predate the Wright brothers’ first powered flight recorded in December 1903 — Auckland’s Ivan Mudrovcich will bring his reproduction aircraft to the three-day airshow at Masterton’s Hood Aerodrome. The Pearse will undertake engine runs and taxi demonstrations during the event being held over Wellington Anniversary Weekend, 16–18 January.
Wings Over Wairarapa Airshow director Tom Williams says securing the reproduction Pearse is a major coup for the event and will help rekindle international interest in the story which has long been the source of inspiration for aviation enthusiasts, film makers and story tellers.
“There has always been a lot of controversy surrounding Richard Pearse’s aircraft,” he says. “Did it fly before the Wright brothers’ ground-breaking flight at Kitty Hawk or didn’t it?”
Ivan Mudrovcich, a retired automotive engineer and toolmaker, has spent the last 10 years researching the Pearse aircraft from patent and other original sources and reproducing the engine and structure from first principles. His two-cylinder double-acting petrol engine is mounted on a tricycle undercarriage frame, complete with 13m span wings of bamboo and lightweight steel tube covered by linen.
“We thank Tom Williams for inviting us to Wings Over Wairarapa and for facilitating the first public showing of the Richard Pearse reproduction aircraft,” says Ivan.
“We’re just part of a large group of people who have been fascinated by the story of Richard Pearse … the further our research took us, the more our respect and admiration for the man and his achievements grew.”
Reproductions of two of New Zealand’s earliest flying machines will be in a remarkable line-up of aircraft spanning more than 100 hundred years of aviation history, offering visitors to Wings Over Wairarapa a rare treat.
The Pearse will appear alongside one of New Zealand’s other earliest aircraft, a replica 1910 Pither monoplane, as well as aircraft from WWI and WWII.
At the other end of the age and technology spectrum will be 14 Squadron’s T-6C Texan 2 and a large number of remotely piloted aerial systems (RPAS or drones). Many of these will feature in the RPAS industry tradeshow at Wings Over Wairarapa with a series of live demonstrations to show their uses in both recreational and commercial areas, including aerial photography, surveying farms or real estate, locating missing people or animals and inspecting electricity cables.
Another coup for event organisers is the Royal Aeronautical Society, New Zealand Division’s, 30th Annual Symposium being held in Masterton during the lead-in to the event. The symposium on Friday 16 January will focus on the future of flight, the capability of RPAS and their integration into the aviation system. It is being held in partnership with Callaghan Innovation, UAVNZ and Aviation NZ and will see its professional membership (industry leaders in aviation and aerospace) discuss issues facing the industry.
- Photographs supplied by Wayne Johnson/Eye On U Productions
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