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Volume 23 #3, Issue 106

RENO: The Little Yak that Could!

National Championship Air Race in RenoAs the dust settled on another successful National Championship Air Race in Reno, Nevada (aka the world’s fastest motor sport), the thrilling Gold Unlimited Class final ensured it would be one to remember. James Consalvi flying P-51 ‘Strega’ edged long time rival Steve Hinton Jr. who was piloting P-51 ‘Voodoo.’ In doing so both aircraft lapped the rest of the field, which consisted of Hawker Sea Furies and a solitary Allison powered Yak-3U. The latter had travelled all the way from Omaka, New Zealand, was flown by a rookie race pilot with big dreams and was supported by a motley crew with a ‘can do ‘ Kiwi attitude. Here pilot Graeme Frew and engineer Jay McIntyre describe the full Reno experience- a huge learning curve which has left them wanting more!


Comper Swift VH-UVC

On 20th November Ryan Southam lifted Comper Swift, VH-UVC, off the grass for a 15 minute test flight, the first time in some 80 years the type had flown from Omaka airfield. The previous Swift to do so was the last of the 1930 built aircraft and the only newly built example to come to New Zealand. Following an overview of the type’s history, this article takes an in-depth look at VH-UVC, now one of only a handful flying. The aircraft has an interesting history, it finally coming to grief in a landing accident back in 1962, thereafter being passing through the hands of several before being purchased by Roy Fox of Sydney who entrusted JEM Aviation to return it to the sky-at times a frustrating process! The narrative is supported by superb air to air images courtesy of Gavin Conroy, period snapshots and numerous restoration photos.


T-6 TexanIf there is one aircraft type in all the world of ex-military or vintage aviation that has been roundly taken for granted, it has to be the North American Aviation T-6 Texan, SNJ or Harvard-the famously dubbed ‘PILOT MAKER.’ Perhaps it is down to the old adage that ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ but the world’s single most populous warbird type and arguably the most important when it comes to providing the skills it was originally intended to furnish, tends to get treated as something of a ‘doormat’ by many within the warbird world. There are numerous reasons for this, one being that Eastern Bloc options like the Nanchang CJ-6a and Yak-52 that softened the market, offering more bang for the buck. However there is reason for optimism and we are starting to see the beginning of a T-6 renaissance of sorts. In this first of a two part feature the Editor looks at the state of play with regards to the Pilot Maker, whilst Dave Currie details how he is training new pilots on the type.

Mystery Aeroplane: NAKAJIMA C6N SAIUN


The Imperial Japanese Navy and Imperial Japanese Army Air Force were well aware of the value of long range reconnaissance aircraft given the vastness of the Pacific and produced some outstanding aircraft to fulfil such roles, the superb Ki-46 Dinah being one of the most well known types. The little known but impressive C6N was however a cut above the rest. In this article we detail the type’s design and development, its operational service and round out with a look at the very few survivors, one of which is in long term storage and another which has been rescued from its wartime resting place.


2018 Airshows (Curtis Fighter)With 2018 looming and many people, both locally based and also visiting from the Northern Hemisphere, planning to travel within Australia and New Zealand throughout the year, we thought we really needed to lay out something of a road map covering significant aviation events taking place within the region over the next 12 months. Happily, there are many to choose from, spread right across the year. As with all air shows, make sure you get out and support them, they are vital in keeping aviation at the forefront of people’s hearts and minds, whether enthusiasts of not. This benefits not only the ‘industry’ but trickles down to the next generation of budding pilots and restorers, whilst getting the local communities onside and realizing the value of their local airfield- all too often under threat these days.

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