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Current News and Activities ...
18 July 2016
Major Developments at Warbirds
President of NZ Warbirds Association, Frank Parker, has announced the completion of the purchase of Wing and Rotor Aviation Limited at Ardmore. The purchase includes a hangar built by the former owners of the business Jim Evans and Doug Kettell.
“This will enable us to establish a new home in a larger hangar to cater for the increasing number of Warbirds- type aircraft wanting to make Ardmore their home. We’re extremely grateful to a major benefactor - Reg Field – and to the previous owners of Wing and Rotor who have assisted financially to make this deal possible. It’s going to be a real challenge for the Association but we’re confident that this new purchase will give added impetus to the membership and to Warbirds generally in the Auckland area. Transition of the existing office facilities to the new site will occur over the next few months along with repositioning of aircraft from other hangars at Ardmore. The plan is to eventually relocate the Visitor Centre to the new site ahead of the termination of the existing lease on the main hangar in May 2018.
Again, through the generosity of Mr Field, we are going to be the proud operators of two new WW1 reproduction planes – an RAF BE2 and an Albatros DVa. Both are under construction by The Old Stick and Rudder Company at Masterton and we’ll see them flying at Ardmore later in the year.
There’s huge enthusiasm about these new developments and the decision to purchase new hangar facilities will be a great step forward in our future development.”
23 May 2016
Warbirds ‘D-Day’ Open Day at Ardmore
June 6 1944 ‘D Day’, marked the commencement of the Allies re-entry to Europe as the major part of Operation Overlord to regain a foothold in Western Europe. To mark the 72nd anniversary of ‘D-Day’, the New Zealand Warbirds Association is holding a “Warbirds Open Day” at their Ardmore Airport base on Sunday 5 June with the first flying display scheduled for 10.30am. Gates open at 9.00am.
The outstanding feature of this year’s event is the return of the RNZAF to Ardmore. This will mark the first public display in the Auckland region of the T-6C Texan II-the new turboprop powered trainer recently commissioned by the Air Force; the Texan will be accompanied by the Beech King Air B200 –a high performance communications/ transport aircraft and multi-engine trainer.
A wide range of former military aircraft will be on view including ex RNZAF Skyhawk and Aermacchi on static display. The public will be able to see flying display routines at 1030am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm.
It also marks the return of the PBY Catalina to its home base after a restoration programme of more than three years.
For those who wish to experience the thrill of a flight in a Warbird bookings can be taken for your choice of jet or piston–engined Warbird aircraft.
Other services – Fire, St Johns – along with Ardmore–based flying training clubs will be present. A variety of vintage machinery, veteran cars, motorbikes and jeeps will be on show. The Kidszone will have a variety of amusement attractions for children.
Food and refreshments will be available. The $20 entry fee – children
Under 14 free- will help in the continuing development of the aviation library and
display areas as part of the Visitor Centre in the main hangar. The entry fee includes
free parking and also provides the chance to win a ‘lucky draw’ flight in a Warbird
If the weather is adverse listen for any cancellation notice through NewstalkZB.
How to get to Ardmore
From Auckland City take the Southern Motorway, leave at Exit 453 Takanini
and follow the Airport signs to Ardmore.
Backgrounder to the ‘D-Day’ Landings
June 6 1944 is marked in the annals of history as the day that the Anglo-American
forces opened the second front in Europe. It was the culmination of many years of
intense planning as part of Operation Overlord.
It combined British ingenuity with American logistical power to meet the objective
of landing on the beaches of Normandy, France. The quick establishment of
beach heads was paramount to build supply lines for the Allied troops that followed.
The German coastal defences were very strong and more than 10000 men lost their lives on that fateful day.
The attack plan called for five infantry divisions (two US, two British and one Canadian) to land on an 80 kilometre sector consisting of beaches, estuaries and cliffs.
The Americans were assigned ‘Utah’ and ‘Omaha’ whilst ‘Gold’, ‘Juno’ and ‘Sword’ beaches were allocated to the British and Canadians. Battles at some beaches cost dearly – Omaha alone accounted for more than 2300 American war dead.
Part of the invasion force included 181 glider commandos transported in 6 Horsa gliders to seize strategic crossings.
Three simple statistics sum up the results of D-Day: in the first 24 hours, the Allies landed about 155,000 troops and controlled 100 km of French coastline at a cost of around 10000 lives. While many of the targets by D-Day evening were not met, the political objective of starting a Second Front was met.
Extracts from Memories of D-Day published online 14 August 2005 by Nitin K Shankar
About New Zealand Warbirds
The New Zealand Warbirds Association Inc is the umbrella body dedicated to the restoration, preservation and operation of service aircraft in full flying condition for the enjoyment and education of present and future generation New Zealanders.
Based at Ardmore Airport, the majority of these former service aircraft are syndicate owned.
The “Roaring Forties” precision aerobatic team, flying ex RNZAF Harvards are the flag bearers for NZ Warbirds on the summer air show circuit nationwide.
Open Day Winning Program Number
The winning program number from our recent Open Day at Ardmore has been drawn, it is 1535. Congratulations to the winner. To claim your free ride in a Warbird please contact our Admin. office Ph. 09 2989207 before 15th Dec 2015.
9 September 2015
75th Commemorative Battle of Britain Flypast
Sunday 20 September
New Zealand Warbirds will carry out a flypast over the Cenotaph, Auckland War Memorial Museum on Sunday 20 September at 11am. It is expected that the Mustang, Spitfire, and Roaring 40’s Harvards will lead the flypast with a range of light aircraft to follow (weather permitting).
This flypast is to honour fighter pilots from Britain and the Commonwealth who fought in the Battle of Britain.
It is 75 years ago that one of the most important air battles in history
erupted over southern England - a battle in which "the few" of Britain kept Adolf
Hitler's Luftwaffe at bay.
The battle started in mid-August 1940, when the Luftwaffe sent fighter and dive-bomber
planes against ports in southern England. The British claimed they shot down 700
aircraft in the first 10 days, for the loss of 160 Spitfire and Hurricane fighters. The
Germans then started bombing airfields and factories, a tactic which nearly won the
battle despite the loss of another 560 planes. But British bombing raids on German cities
enraged Hitler, who ordered his planes to attack cities instead. That was a mistake
because it let the British rebuild their air forces. The battle peaked on September 15,
1940 - when 200 dogfights took place in 30 minutes.
In 1940, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill dubbed his pilots "the few," and
predicted that “even if the Empire and Commonwealth lasted 1000 years the air battle
would still be their finest hour."
21 September 2012
New addition to the Warbirds Line-up
Assembly of former RNZAF Aermacchi NZ6471 is nearing completion at New Zealand Warbirds base at Ardmore. This aircraft is one of a number that have been gifted to various aviation groups in New Zealand by the Government as part of the disposal process following the disbandment of the strike wing capability in 2001.
The 'Macchi' served with the RNZAF from 1991 to 2001 and a total of 18 aircraft were purchased to replace the BAC Strikemaster as an advanced jet trainer.
They were operated by 14 Squadron based at RNZAF Ohakea and provided the training step between the piston-engined CT-4 initial trainer and the operational A-4K Skyhawk jet. Although the Macchi had a number of initial engine issues these difficulties were no worse than those found on any other new and complex aircraft. The aircraft was considered to be delight to fly and its advanced avionics provided the ideal lead-in to systems on the Skyhawks.
It will join Skyhawk 09 as a focal point of the Warbirds Visitor Centre at Ardmore.
NZ Warbirds President Frank Parker said "Macchi 71 is a valuable and welcome addition to the line-up at our Visitor Centre. This aircraft has been given to Warbirds in a fully serviceable condition and we hope in due course to once again give the Macchi its wings over Ardmore.
The public will be able to see it on static display at the Mosquito spectacular event at Ardmore on Saturday 29 September."
Public viewing of the Macchi and the Skyhawk is at the Visitor Centre every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 10.30 am to 3pm. Entry fee $10 Adults , Under 14 free.
Donations to help maintain both aircraft in pristine condition can be made to the
'NZ Aviation Heritage Trust',
C/- NZ Warbirds,
Private Bag 14,
Aermacchi MB 339-CB Technical Data
Type : Two seat Advanced Trainer
Dimensions: Span 11.22m
Weight Basic 3400kg
Power Plant Type Rolls Royce Viper 680-43
Thrust 19.6kn (4400lbs st)
Performance Max Speed 960km/h (600mph)
Max Climb 8000ft/min (2438m/min)
Stores Fuel Tanks, Gun pod, Bombs, Rockets, Missiles
28 June 2012
Skyhawk Welcomed to Ardmore
Former pilots renew ties with Skyhawk 09
From L to R Graham Bethell, Trevor Bland, Bill Lamb, Dave Phillips, Mark Helliwell, AirViceMarshall Steve Moore, Bryan Coppersmith
Since Skyhawk NZ 6209 arrived at the NZ Warbirds hangar in March it has become the focal point of the New Zealand Warbirds Visitor Centre at Ardmore.
On Saturday 23 June Skyhawk 09 was officially welcomed to its display position by more than 140 cocktail party attendees. These included a number of former RNZAF pilots who recounted their experiences in operating Skyhawks and in particular '09'. Also present was the former Minister of Defence Dr Wayne Mapp who was instrumental in the allocation of Skyhawk 09 to Ardmore.
An unveiling of his name on the aircraft by former Flight Lieutenant Graham Bethell was made in recognition of his financial contribution to the relocation project. President Frank Parker said "It is appropriate that this Skyhawk should be on public display so that current and future generations could have some appreciation of the contribution that the RNZAF had made particularly to ensuring peace in the South East Asia region."
The evening commenced with a flypast by an ex- RNZAF Strikemaster jet trainer now based at Ardmore
12 March 2012
The Skyhawk has Landed
Following the announcement last July that the New Zealand Warbirds Association was to be a recipient, Skyhawk NZ 6209 arrived at the NZ Warbirds hangar lastWednesday. Over a four day period it was reassembled to become the focal point of the Visitor Centre at Ardmore. Although the Skyhawk remains the property of the Air Force Museum Trust, the care and maintenance of 09 is the responsibility of NZ Warbirds.
NZ Warbirds President Frank Parker said "The arrival of Skyhawk NZ 6209 is a major step in the development of our Visitor Centre. It provides a great opportunity for school groups, tour parties, casual visitors and Warbirds members to view a real jet fighter up close and personal. It adds another dimension to the Aviation Library, the Ardmore and Squadron history banners and what arguably is the largest military model aircraft collection in the country.
Now that 09 is on display, former Skyhawk pilots- many of whom are current Warbirds members - are dusting off their logbooks to tally their time on 09".
The public can view the Skyhawk at the Visitor Centre on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 10.30 am to 3pm. Entry fee $10 Adults , Under 14 free.
Donations to help maintain 09 in pristine condition can be made to the
NZ Aviation Heritage Trust, C/- NZ Warbirds,
Private Bag 14, Ardmore Airport, Papakura 2244.
8 July 2011
Skyhawk bound for Ardmore
Warbirds enthusiasts will be elated at the news that they will be able to see and touch a real Skyhawk at Ardmore. Minister of Defence Wayne Mapp has announced the allocation of the remaining Skyhawks to 3 sites including the NZ Warbirds Association at Ardmore.
NZ Warbirds President Frank Parker said "This allocation of Skyhawk NZ 6209 is great news - we had a visit from the Minister in May followed by a very recent inspection by Defence force personnel and the vibes certainly appeared to be very positive. It will be a major drawcard to our on-going development of the Visitors Centre at the Warbirds hangar and although there are approval formalities to be concluded, we are hopeful that the Skyhawk will be in place by year-end.
There is huge anticipation amongst Warbirds members, particularly those former Skyhawk pilots and groundcrew, who can't wait to catch sight of this important part of Royal New Zealand Air Force history". Plans will be announced shortly to raise funds not only to cover the transport but also the on-going care of this aircraft to keep it in pristine condition.
Donations can be made to the 'NZ Aviation Heritage Trust', C/- NZ Warbirds,
Private Bag 14, Ardmore Airport, Papakura 2244
30 March 2010
"Rags to Rivets" - Biography of Warbirds Founder Launched
Trevor Bland, founder of the New Zealand Warbirds organisation, is the subject of a biography launched to members and friends at a function held last Sunday at Warbirds Headquarters at Ardmore.
Compiled and written over a 4 year period by fellow member, Ron Pemberton, the book provides an in-depth analysis of Trevor's passion for flying, from his childhood days in Wellington- rushing out every time an aircraft flew overhead- through to his absolute dedication in establishing and developing the Warbirds movement in New Zealand.
The story portrays Trevor's desire to succeed in his quest to join the RAF's Blue Diamond aerobatic team and to excel as a flight commander and combat tactician with the elite RNZAF A4 Skyhawk squadron.
At the launch Trevor said "I am humbled by the number of people who have attended this evening and I express my thanks to Ron and all those who have contributed in any way to launch my life story".
The public launch will occur at the 2010 'Warbirds over Wanaka' Airshow at Easter.
"Rags to Rivets" retails at $29.95 and can be obtained from the author at firstname.lastname@example.org , NZ Warbirds during office hours or purchase online at
Warbirds flying high after 60 years
By IMOGEN NEALE - Papakura Courier
Last updated 05:00 06/01/2010
The collection of grand old military planes in the New Zealand Warbird Association's Ardmore hangar bears testimony to the adage that time heals all wounds. Most of the planes hail from the World War Two era but with the end of the war came the end of the planes' purpose in life.
To many people the hulking giants became nothing more than a painful reminder of the horror the world had managed to survive. Sixty years later people have a greater awareness of the role the military planes played in both peacekeeping and combat.
In New Zealand that's in large part because of the efforts of the Warbirds Association. Established in 1978 the association is dedicated to the restoration, preservation and operation of service aircraft in flying condition.
President Gavin Trethewey says the association is unique on the international stage because it has a headquarters and a social facility and many of its members' planes are gathered together in hangars at Ardmore airfield.
And while some of those hangars might have closed doors or private signs hanging from their handles there's one the public are more than welcome to peruse.
The Warbirds visitor centre is home to a medley of planes - from T28 Trojan to the smaller scale Isaacs Fury.
Carefully packed into the hangar, the planes all have gleaming paint jobs that proudly display their service heritage.
In November the association celebrated the opening of a new library, briefing room and viewing platform in what used to be "a junk storage area" in the cavernous hangar.
"We thought the space should be better utilised - the vision is to get more people interested in the history," Mr Trethewey says.
The library is named after Trevor - better know as TT - Bland, the patron and founding president of the association, and its shelves are full of donated books, magazines and memorabilia.At the library's opening Mr Trethewey called it "one of the most comprehensive aviation reference libraries in the country".
"We deal with lots of groups - from school kids to seniors. We've never had a facility to entertain them that was safe and comfortable." He says they'd prefer not to have people on the floor "bashing their heads against aeroplanes".
The visitor centre is expected to be completed by early next year and the association is aiming to offer guided tours of the hangar with access to the library, viewing platform and display cabinets.
The hangar is located off Harvard Lane at the Ardmore airfield.
For more information and opening hours see www.nzwarbirds.org.nz.