A little over six years ago a meeting was held in Auckland to discuss what had to be considered an outrageous proposal.
On the agenda was the formation of a group created to source, acquire and return to New Zealand, a World War II Catalina flying boat.
It may have seemed unrealistic at the time, but as the group sat in silence listening to the speaker, a common image was forming in all those gathered minds - that of a restored Catalina, airborne over New Zealand, wearing the original colours carried by the RNZAF PBY fleet.
Issue 19 ( 1998 #4 August - September )
Flying The Waco
The Barnstorming Beauty
Reno - 1971
Moths to Mustang! Raglan 98
'The Southern Knights'
A Rich Man's Toy
Fifteen Hundred Miles at Fifteen Hundred Feet!
Hawker's Kestrel Biplanes
A Different Kind of Polikarpov
A landing at "The Old Station" Raglan is quite a toe tapping experience for most warbird pilots.
Imagine piloting a heavy chunk of metal with several hundred horsepower propelling you towards a runway strip that is only 70 feet wide and at some stage very soon you have to lift the nose and lose all forward vision.
And if that isn't interesting enough, you also have the effect of flying close over the heads of spectators who are standing in a cutaway at the very edge of the runway threshold.
Issue 18 ( 1998 #3 June - July )
Warbirds Over Wanaka
Fairey Firefly - Survivors
A Taste for Chinese
Lang Kidby's Avro Avian
John Rayner's RAAF Harvard
Norwegian Air Force Museum
With the exciting news that Australia is to once again have an operational Firefly in the Country, we thought it a good opportunity to take a look at the surviving population around the world, just what is left, how they came to survive and what the future holds.
The Firefly would have to be considered one of the most attractive and successful aircraft to come out of the design office of Fairey Aviation Co. Ltd.
This British firm boasted a long history of creating aircraft to meet maritime demands, and as early as 1914 produced the successful Fairey Hamble Baby for the Royal Naval Air Service.
Issue 17 ( 1998 #2 April - May )
Tiger Moth Revisited
The Forgotten Campaign
Since the earliest issue of Classic Wings Downunder,we have been providing progress reports on the Polikarpov I-16s and I-153s being restored by the Alpine Fighter Collection.
It gives us great pleasure then, to finally be able to print this three part feature on the stubby Russian fighters.
Graham Orphan provides an introductory history of the type, Ray Mulqueen discusses the history of the restorations, while Mark Hanna tells us what these machines are like to fly. Aerial photography is by Ian Brodie.
Issue 16 ( 1998 #1 January - March )
Flying The Beech 18
For the last two years we have followed the progress of a rare and historic Ryan STA monoplane from its liberation from its farm shed home of a quarter of a century, to its restoration to airworthy condition.
This process has at last been completed and the results are outstanding.
Owner Murry Griffiths and restorers MothCair Aviation have produced a stunning STA!