Hamilton Branch Meeting - Wings Over NZ Xmas Party

We went to the WONZ ( Wings Over NZ, Dave Homewood) Xmas Party at Ardmore yesterday 3 December at the Fly-DC-3 Hangar along with 40-50 other people. It was a sunny hot day, and first Dave introduced our hosts, Geoff and Jessica Cooper,Fly DC-3 operators and a very hospitable couple along with their crew. so we got a talk about the a/c and how they operate and then some up for a 30min flight over Auckland. Meanwhile we were entertained by Gavin Conroy (noted aviation photographer) who showed us some photo's from his recent UK trip to two venues Duxford and RIAT Airshows and some good air to air shots from the back of a Skyvan. After the DC-3 flight returned, we then had Paul McSweeney (Pioneer Aero's) gave us a talk about how they got started and what they are doing now in their hangar next door.

We then went next door with Paul and he showed us the 2 x P-40's and the P-39 Airacobra, and parts for a Tony and Kingfisher in amongst the all the other spares for various a/c under restoration. The D.H. 103 Sea Hornet F.20. (TT 193) is stored nearby and we should see this a/c which is the only one left in the world next year,so we look forward to the progress on that. This beauty was smaller than the Mosquito, but had matched props and Opposing engine rotations, eliminating the asymmetric problems which plagued the wooden wonder and many other a/c. This was achieved by the addition of a small idler gear on one of the Merlins,being a 130 and a 131, which are proving hard to get, but they will work something out one way or the other. So this a/c cruised at 270knts (20knts faster than Mossie) and it's top speed was a bit higher and it's rate of climb was like 5000'ft/min !! beat that!!

Also sitting in the hangar was a Bearhawk,which the guys work on when things get quiet. We then had a nice lunch and a drink to stop dehydration and then proceeded with the forum. Next up was John Denton (ex RNZAF) who talked about the Venom and showed a short video, and explained how he put the a/c through the turnip field at the end of the runway at Ardmore a few years ago due to an engine problem on take off. After this, our hosts told us about their trip around NZ with the DC-3 and the TV bits on Seven Sharp with Mike Holland

So all in all, a good day at the office, so thanks Dave, and
have a great Xmas and a Happy new Year!

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