Almost every year my wife takes off to New Zealand to visit family and every now and then I go along, so I took this opportunity to add in some extra must visits to make this trip extra special.
NZ has a number of excellent military museums and aviation exhibitions, but the one I was very keen to see is based at Masterton (North Island) at the Hood Aerodrome. The fighter collection can be viewed inside the showcase Hangar of The OId Stick & Rudder Company. This museum has the largest collection of flyable replica WW1 aircraft in the world so I was very excited to get there, and to experience these aircraft up close.
I did have the luxury of a hire car and so began a 2 hr road trip with my son to finally arrive at the Hood Aerodrome. The aerodrome itself is nothing fancy but does have a number of hangers and workshops as you would expect. Upon entering the hanger you pass through the small shop where entry is only $15.00 and from there you gain access to the collection. Incidentally the moment we got there we were able to join a tour which had just started. From there a very knowledgeable guide took us around the exhibits providing background information covering not only individual aircraft, but also the technologies and impact they had on aerial warfare at the time.
I was completely in awe at what I was seeing and could only think of the wonderful WingNut Wings kits that are on offer to build one of these replicas. The camera went crazy and as much as I tried to plan my images and how I would take them I just lost all control. As a visitor you just take pics of what you see, but as a modeler you take more detail shots so my head was in two places.
The collection can be seen in flight to mark events during the year such as Remembrance Day, ANZAC Day or for general public viewing such as Wings Over Wairarapa and the Omaka Airshow held at Blenheim (South Island). Details for all these events can be found online or by clicking on the link below:
Click on the image below for pics of the holy grail of WW1 aircraft. I will definitely go back, but only this time to visit the workshops to see how they build these things.