Almost 18 months after being damaged in a landing accident following the 2016 Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow in New Zealand, North American Harvard ‘57’ is back in the air. The aircraft, which is part of the Roaring 40s Harvard aerobatic display team based at Ardmore in Auckland, suffered significant damage when it was involved in a ground loop on landing at Wanaka on the Monday after the airshow.
The job of repairing the trainer was given to Callum Smith and his team of engineers at Twenty TwentyFour Limited, based at Wanaka Airport. “There was damage to one wing, the engine and under carriage. We were able to source most of the replacement parts relatively easily but there were one of two pieces which proved a bit harder to locate and that’s what has caused the delay in getting the aircraft flying again,” says Callum.
On completion of the repairs the aircraft was test flown at Wanaka by one of New Zealand’s most accomplished warbirds pilots and Warbirds Over Wanaka display planner, John Lamont.
‘Harvard 57’ was first shipped to New Zealand in July 1943 and was assembled at Hobsonville air base a couple of months later. The aircraft served with 4 Squadron for many years before going into storage at Woodbourne in 1972. After release from the RNZAF in 1977 it was purchased by an ‘off-shore’ buyer but never left New Zealand. After passing through several owners, including a stint as a playground attraction the aircraft was eventually purchased and restored to flying condition at Ardmore during the early 1990s. The new ownership syndicate included a number of Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow regulars Frank Parker, Keith Skilling, Dave Lumsden and Chris Lee.
Frank describes the state of the aircraft when the syndicate purchased it as a “forlorn fuselage”. The original estimate to restore the aircraft to flying condition was put at $165,000 but Frank says, as with many such projects, the final bill was more than double that.
The aircraft was sold to its current owner and another well-known Warbirds Over Wanaka pilot, Liz Needham in 2010. ‘Harvard 57’ is expected to return to Wanaka for next Easter’s 30th anniversary Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow as part of the New Zealand Warbirds Association Harvard team. The Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow is being held on March 30th, March 31st and April 1st. www.warbirdsoverwanaka.com
Photo: Callum Smith and John Lamont with ‘Harvard 57’.
A series of spectacular flypasts and displays ensured the USAF’s 70th anniversary was celebrated in style at a sold out Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford last weekend.
The airshow, which took place over three days (July 14-16), attracted a record crowd of 160,000 people who enjoyed flying demonstrations by some of the world’s leading pilots.
Among the aerial highlights were the USAF Thunderbirds, with its F-16 Fighting Falcons. The team was joined on the friday by nine Red Arrows’ Hawks for a colourful joint flypast to launch the airshow.
Joining the Thunderbirds to celebrate the USAF anniversary were several warbirds including a B-17 and P-51D Mustang, plus a F-22 Raptor and a dramatic flypast by a number of UK and European based USAF aircraft.
On the Sunday, visitors were treated to a surprise flypast by a stealth B-2 Spirit bomber that was taking part in an epic 23-hour transatlantic ‘Global Power’ training flight from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. The aircraft was escorted by two F-15 fighters.
In total, 246 aircraft took part in the Air Tattoo from 32 air arms representing 26 nations.
A third generation Fleet Air Arm and former Helston school boy Lt Cdr Tim Hayden, recently celebrated achieving his 5,000 rotary flying hours milestone. Tim has had an esteemed career in the Royal Navy since joining in 1995. His flying career has seen active service in support of operations in Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo and more recently Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis.
In 2000 he received a Queens Commendation for Valuable Service for his part in rescuing survivors from the stricken ferry Express Semina in the Adriatic. He later served with 771 Naval Air Squadron, providing an invaluable search and rescue service to the south west region.
Tim qualified as a helicopter instructor in 2003, and has instructed student pilots through all phases of rotary flying training, from first learning to hover in a Squirrel HT1, to night deck landings at sea in a Sea King and Merlin 2.
He has also instructed Afghan pilots at Boscombe Down in the Mi-17 Hip in support of Operation Herrick. Tim’s current role is based at RNAS Culdrose, where he is tasked with ensuring the standards and practices of Fleet Air Arm helicopter pilots and instructors, both ashore and afloat.
Left to right – Senior Pilot of 705 NAS hands Lt Cdr Tim Hayden his certificate.
The French Air force is the first international air force to confirm it intends to be at the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow next Easter. The French crew will be bringing a CASA military transport aircraft to Wanaka for the third airshow in a row. The aircraft and crew are stationed at the Tontouta military base in New Caledonia, in the South Pacific. Major Laurent Monfort says the visit is dependent on operational issues nearer the time but at this stage they are looking forward to coming back to Wanaka.
Warbirds Over Wanaka General Manager, Ed Taylor, says they’re delighted the French are coming back. “They are such a great bunch of guys to deal with and are a real hit with the public. We are expecting a strong military presence in 2018 as part of our 30th Anniversary celebrations. That will be headed up by what’s hoped to be a big turnout from our very own RNZAF including a number of their larger aircraft and the new Black Falcons display team. We have also extended invitations to a number of other air forces around the world to join us in 2018 and we expect to hear back from them later in the year,” says Ed.
The 30th anniversary Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow is being held on March 30th, March 31st and April 1st. www.warbirdsoverwanaka.com
Photo by Gavin Conroy, supplied by the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow team.
This week marks five years since Boscombe Down Aviation Collection opened to the public at Old Sarum Airfield, near Salisbury, Wiltshire. Since then the museum has welcomed just over 30,000 visitors and the engineering team have completed over 45,000 hours work on restoration projects such as Hawker Hunter F.6A XF375 and SEPECAT Jaguar GR.1 XX734. www.boscombedownaviationcollection.co.uk
Sea Harrier FA.2 XZ457 being unloaded as the museum opened at Old Sarum in July 2012. (Photo by Gerry Smyth).