Legendary Spit to fly Gisborne sky

A Supermarine Spitfire will fly into Gisborne on November 4 as part of the Gisborne Aviation Society’s First Light Wings and Wheels Show.
A Percival Gull (left) will also be among the lineup of visiting aircraft. A DeHavilland Dragon is pictured flying above the Gull.
A Gypsy Moth, a two-seater, open cockpit biplane with a four-cylinder engine,
will also visit Gisborne for the show.

A SPITFIRE will split the sky over Gisborne in early November when the Gisborne Aviation Preservation Society(GAPS) stages its “First Light Wings and Wheels” show at Gisborne airport.

The November 4 airshow follows hard on the heels of the very successful “Thunder in the Sky” show GAPS staged in May that drew a crowd of more than 1200.

The programme of aerial handling and ground displays, including by the Grumman Avenger from Ohakea, thrilled the big crowd that day.

“The twin-seater Spitfire operated by Warbirds of Auckland will be our special guest for the November show,” said show spokesman Roger van der Zanden.

Supermarine Spitfire TR MK 1X 2K-WDQ (civilian registration) or MH 367 (RAF designation) was constructed in its original form at the Castle Bromwich factory in the UK in July 1943.

It was a Mark IX with a Merlin 61 engine.

“It certainly is a real thrill to have the ‘Spit’ come here for our show,” Mr van der Zanden said.

The aircraft saw wartime service initially with No 65 Squadron RAF with a first operational sortie on August 15 1943.

Its last combat sortie was on 18 April 1945.

MH 367 was scrapped in 1948 to be rebuilt in the United States as a twin-seater, using components of several aircraft, to fly again in November 2006.

The aircraft first flew in New Zealand in May 2008.

It is presented in the livery of Squadron Leader Colin Gray, New Zealand’s highest scoring WW2 ace.

The aircraft is one of a few genuine two-seat Spitfire’s worldwide and Warbird Adventure Rides in Auckland offers rides in it.

The Spitfire is the iconic British aircraft of WW2 that earned immortality in the Battle of Britain.

A Warbirds’ spokesman said those interested in a flight will “live” the experience of the “The Few”, the fighter pilots who won the Battle of Britain.

“We guarantee an experience you will never forget.”

Other featured craft

The “First Light Wings and Wheels” show will also feature a Percival “Gull” and a Gypsy Moth, both of which featured in the movie “Jean”, about the legendary New Zealand aviator Jean Batten.

The Gull started life as a Percival P28B Proctor 1, built in the UK in l939 and began service with the Royal Air Force in l940.

It was ferried out to Australia in the 1950s where it was based until it moved across the Tasman to New Zealand in 1999.

The aircraft then underwent a rebuild and was converted to a Vega Gull.

After 11 years of restoration it finally landed at the Warbirds base at Ardmore in Auckland in July 2011.

Jean Batten was one of New Zealand’s pioneer female aviators.

Born in September 1909 in Rotorua, she became famous by breaking a number of solo flight records during the 1930s.

She died in 1982 aged 73, while living in Palma, Majorca.

She is honoured at a number of places around New Zealand including MOTAT in the Pioneers of Aviation exhibit, and at Auckland International Airport where the international terminal is named in her honour.

Jean Batten flew a De Havilland DH60 M Gypsy Moth (G-AARB) in all her record flights before 1935.

The Moth is a two-seater, open cockpit biplane with a four-cylinder engine.

The one coming to Gisborne, while not Batten’s aircraft, is of that era and bears the same registration numbers as the one Ms Batten made famous.

Other aircraft coming include Harvards and a collection from Classic Flyers in Tauranga.

As well as the visiting aircraft there will be more than $3 million worth of vintage cars from the New Zealand Rolls Royce and Bentley Club, along with vintage WW2 vehicles.

The Eastland Group will once again be involved in the November 4 event as one of GAPS’ biggest supporters.

GAPS president Paul Corrin said the show would be another crowd-pleaser.

“The Spitfire is going to be a huge attraction. It has been at least 20 years since we have one of those here, and the pilot on that occasion only dropped in to refuel.

“It’s great we are going to have both aircraft and 23 Rolls Royce and Bentley vintage cars here.

“We are excited about the day and everyone is very much looking forward to it.”

The show will run from 9am-4pm that day and the vintage cars will be involved in a parade through the central city.

Timeframe for the day:

• 9am: Gates open at Gisborne Airport and the aircraft arrive.

• 9am–9.30am: Rolls Royce and Bentley Car parade along Gladstone Road to the airport.

• 10am: - Powhiri.

• 11.30-12 noon: Rolls Royce and Bentley Cars depart.

• 1pm–4pm: air handling displays by the visiting aircraft.

• Admission charges: $10 adults, $5 children, kids under 5 free and that includes entry to the Gisborne Aviation Museum.

• Snacks and refreshments available to buy throughout the day and there will be a live band playing.

A SPITFIRE will split the sky over Gisborne in early November when the Gisborne Aviation Preservation Society(GAPS) stages its “First Light Wings and Wheels” show at Gisborne airport.

The November 4 airshow follows hard on the heels of the very successful “Thunder in the Sky” show GAPS staged in May that drew a crowd of more than 1200.

The programme of aerial handling and ground displays, including by the Grumman Avenger from Ohakea, thrilled the big crowd that day.

“The twin-seater Spitfire operated by Warbirds of Auckland will be our special guest for the November show,” said show spokesman Roger van der Zanden.

Supermarine Spitfire TR MK 1X 2K-WDQ (civilian registration) or MH 367 (RAF designation) was constructed in its original form at the Castle Bromwich factory in the UK in July 1943.

It was a Mark IX with a Merlin 61 engine.

“It certainly is a real thrill to have the ‘Spit’ come here for our show,” Mr van der Zanden said.

The aircraft saw wartime service initially with No 65 Squadron RAF with a first operational sortie on August 15 1943.

Its last combat sortie was on 18 April 1945.

MH 367 was scrapped in 1948 to be rebuilt in the United States as a twin-seater, using components of several aircraft, to fly again in November 2006.

The aircraft first flew in New Zealand in May 2008.

It is presented in the livery of Squadron Leader Colin Gray, New Zealand’s highest scoring WW2 ace.

The aircraft is one of a few genuine two-seat Spitfire’s worldwide and Warbird Adventure Rides in Auckland offers rides in it.

The Spitfire is the iconic British aircraft of WW2 that earned immortality in the Battle of Britain.

A Warbirds’ spokesman said those interested in a flight will “live” the experience of the “The Few”, the fighter pilots who won the Battle of Britain.

“We guarantee an experience you will never forget.”

Other featured craft

The “First Light Wings and Wheels” show will also feature a Percival “Gull” and a Gypsy Moth, both of which featured in the movie “Jean”, about the legendary New Zealand aviator Jean Batten.

The Gull started life as a Percival P28B Proctor 1, built in the UK in l939 and began service with the Royal Air Force in l940.

It was ferried out to Australia in the 1950s where it was based until it moved across the Tasman to New Zealand in 1999.

The aircraft then underwent a rebuild and was converted to a Vega Gull.

After 11 years of restoration it finally landed at the Warbirds base at Ardmore in Auckland in July 2011.

Jean Batten was one of New Zealand’s pioneer female aviators.

Born in September 1909 in Rotorua, she became famous by breaking a number of solo flight records during the 1930s.

She died in 1982 aged 73, while living in Palma, Majorca.

She is honoured at a number of places around New Zealand including MOTAT in the Pioneers of Aviation exhibit, and at Auckland International Airport where the international terminal is named in her honour.

Jean Batten flew a De Havilland DH60 M Gypsy Moth (G-AARB) in all her record flights before 1935.

The Moth is a two-seater, open cockpit biplane with a four-cylinder engine.

The one coming to Gisborne, while not Batten’s aircraft, is of that era and bears the same registration numbers as the one Ms Batten made famous.

Other aircraft coming include Harvards and a collection from Classic Flyers in Tauranga.

As well as the visiting aircraft there will be more than $3 million worth of vintage cars from the New Zealand Rolls Royce and Bentley Club, along with vintage WW2 vehicles.

The Eastland Group will once again be involved in the November 4 event as one of GAPS’ biggest supporters.

GAPS president Paul Corrin said the show would be another crowd-pleaser.

“The Spitfire is going to be a huge attraction. It has been at least 20 years since we have one of those here, and the pilot on that occasion only dropped in to refuel.

“It’s great we are going to have both aircraft and 23 Rolls Royce and Bentley vintage cars here.

“We are excited about the day and everyone is very much looking forward to it.”

The show will run from 9am-4pm that day and the vintage cars will be involved in a parade through the central city.

Timeframe for the day:

• 9am: Gates open at Gisborne Airport and the aircraft arrive.

• 9am–9.30am: Rolls Royce and Bentley Car parade along Gladstone Road to the airport.

• 10am: - Powhiri.

• 11.30-12 noon: Rolls Royce and Bentley Cars depart.

• 1pm–4pm: air handling displays by the visiting aircraft.

• Admission charges: $10 adults, $5 children, kids under 5 free and that includes entry to the Gisborne Aviation Museum.

• Snacks and refreshments available to buy throughout the day and there will be a live band playing.

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