Knights Of The Sky Exhibition - Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre Dangerous Skies WWII Exhibition - Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
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Volume 25 #4, Issue 117

SMITH’S SHED- The Ultimate Man Cave!

Smith's ShedThere are few men’s sheds which can claim the mystery and legend that the one belonging to John Smith did. His unique collection of Kiwi aviation history, tucked away on a secluded property near the small settlement of Mapua, New Zealand was largely unknown to all but the keenest of aviation enthusiasts. Some were fortunate to visit and get a glimpse, but most had to live off the scraps of information that made it out to the general public. However, some 14 months following his untimely passing, much of that mystery has now been unravelled - the process only serving to enhance the legend! In this major article we reveal the John Smith story-the man and the machines. The massive effort to sort and move over 20,000 aviation related items, from the complete Mosquito, P-40s and P-51, through to the packing cases of various NOS parts and the random relics scattered about the property is described. Although exciting, given the numerous hidden treasures which revealed themselves, it was dirty and sometimes dangerous work and this adventure, which lasted over a year, could be likened to an Indiana Jones movie script! The article also takes a closer look at the histories and current status of each of the signature aircraft John secured and includes many never seen before images, taken by the man himself.


Dewoitine D.530

Unlike the previously described Morane AI flown by Alfred Fronval, the Dewoitine D.530 flown by Marcel Doret remained in a condition close to original but had suffered from hangar rash and exhibited an overall tired appearance. This required a completely different approach by the conservation team and following a survey the decision was made to proceed with a minimum intervention, with the aim of preserving the originality of the aircraft - particularly the fabric. The process is described in detail here. Both of these aerobatic aircraft are now on display and the only discernible difference to the viewing public surrounding the completely different approaches in refurbishing the two historic machines is the obvious difference in outward appearance. However, both aircraft represent an iconic period in French aviation history and their presence in one of the world’s great aeronautical museums will ensure that is not soon forgotten!


Vadim Zadorozhny Museum

On 9th October the Vadim Zadorozhny Museum of Technology and the Russian Military Historical Society presented a new exhibition, this dedicated to aviation and the aviators of the USSR to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945. The exhibition displays aviation memorabilia- instruments, uniforms, posters, photos and documentation, as well as a unique collection of Lend-Lease items. It also details the history of record flights achieved by Soviet aviators during the 1930s and the important role played by women in Soviet aviation. The highlight is of course the four original fighters – Yakovlev Yak-1, Yak-3, Yak-9 and the Hawker Hurricane IIB. Each of these aircraft is looked at in detail, two being lake recoveries and two having connections to accomplished aces. Each has a story to tell and they now able to do so as part of an impressive display.


Fokker D.VII Andrew Vincent relates his experience in flying off the test hours on The Vintage Aviator’s latest masterpiece, the formidable Fokker D.VII, and discovers its reputation as an aircraft which could ‘turn a mediocre pilot in to a good one; and a good pilot in to an Ace,’ is well deserved. He takes the reader through the start up procedure of the reverse engineered Mercedes engine, the always interesting ground handling of these WWI fighters, the flying and the landing. Plenty of piloting action here and an informative read, whether you are a pilot yourself or just enjoy seeing these iconic machines over the airfield recreating history. As always, some spectacular images to accompany the article.

Our Last Mystery Aircraft was a...HEINKEL HD 35 / Sk 5

HEINKEL HD 35 / Sk 5

One of the early machines coming out of Heinkel’s stable, this aircraft was designed to be a trainer and touring aircraft, however it fell short as the former, being underpowered. Only two examples were built, the type quickly bypassed for a more powerful model. Fortunately Sweden had an interest and decided to import one aircraft for evaluation and although the results were disappointing the aircraft went on to spent many years employed in the civilian sector as a touring and display aircraft, often used as an advertising platform. The Heinkel eventually found its way to the Swedish Air Force Museum, but sadly had deteriorated quite badly over its later life, particularly as it was mostly of wooden construction. The aircraft underwent a major restoration and this is described, along with the aircraft’s varied history, by one of the volunteers involved in the project, which has seen the oldest surviving Heinkel aircraft returned to its former glory.

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