Short Flying Boats in New Zealand

This is the place to discuss particular Shorts Flying Boat types and post documents, photographs and other relevant information appertaining to these craft.

Re: Short Flying Boats in New Zealand

Postby sunderlandmr5 » Tue May 31, 2011 8:20 am

Peter

Those photos of our Sunderland MR 5 fleet (thus far) are absolutely awesome!!! :D :D :D

I have a broken down Airfix Sunderland kit, that will eventually built as a diorama
"waiting the scrapman". Problem is there are so many one different scenes
to choose from (and more to come) that I can't make up my mind :lol: :lol:

I am really enjoying these, though I was quite young at the time, I do remember
seeing theose beautiful aircraft waiting their fate near the married quarters at
Hobsonville. Certainly brings back some fond memories of my life at Hobby

Thanks again for posting and look forward to more

Regards

Alan
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Re: Short Flying Boats in New Zealand

Postby flyernzl » Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:07 pm

Sunderland VB880 was built by Blackburn at Dumbarton as Mk.V and served with the RAF from September 1945. It was returned to Shorts at Belfast to be rebuilt for the RNZAF as NZ4111.

NZ4111 arrived at Lauthala Bay at the conclusion of its delivery flight on 6Sep953, and its first local flight there was on the 14th with 5Sdn as KN-D.

NZ4111 operating in the Pacific as KN-D

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and back at Auckland for servicing

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On 24Aug1955 NZ4111 was visiting the Nukunono Lagoon, Tokelau Islands, when it struck a coral reef and punctured the hull. The crew managed to stabilize the situation, and Sunderland NZ4109 was dispatched from Fiji to assist in the rescue.

NZ4111 on the reef (photos courtesy Whatakraka)

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Rescue in progress

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The damage

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Temporary repairs were made, and NZ4111 was able to return to Lauthala Bay on the 12th September.
After this event, NZ4111 carried the name 'Nukunono Baby'

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NZ4111 returned to service, and later operated from Hobsonville with 6 Sdn as XX-B, XX-K and later with the MOCU as K

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Close up of the RNZAF 'white feather' roundel on NZ4111, later replaced with the kiwi
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With the MOCU as K, moored at Evans Bay

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Following the withdrawal of the TEAL flying boat service, the RNZAF had been maintaining an infrequent Sunderland service between Wellington and the Chatham Islands. NZ4111 operated this service on 4Nov1959, and, after offloading passengers and freight, was taxiing to the takeoff position on the Te Whanga Lagoon when it struck an uncharted underwater rock. This badly holed the fuselage, and the aircraft was stranded. Sunderland NZ4113 was dispatched from Hobsonville to assess the situation.

NZ4111 partially flooded on the Te Whanga Lagoon, Chatham Islands, NZ4113 M in the background.

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This time, the damage was deemed to be terminal. Operational equipment was removed from NZ4111, and the airframe was dragged ashore by the locals.

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The wreckage remains on the island. The team from the RNZAF Museum at Wigram visited in early 1994 and removed some parts. There are now moves afoot to reassemble what remains into something of a coherent whole.

"Chatham Islands' historic lifeline comes together

By KIRAN CHUG - The Dominion Post

More than 50 years after the Chatham Islands' lifeline to New Zealand crashed, an ambitious restoration project to preserve history has begun.

A Short Sunderland – one of only five remaining flying boats of its kind left in the world – is being pieced back together after the dramatic crash that ended its flying years in 1959.

Air Chathams pilot Gary Downs, who lives on Chatham Island with his wife and four children, embarked on the project six months ago, enlisting the help of friends and spending every spare moment on what has become a labour of love.

At first he knew little about the plane and its crash, until learning of the wreckage, which was on farmland on the island's northeastern tip.

The passengers and crew were rescued, and the air force immediately salvaged the removable parts and returned them to New Zealand. The following year the rest of the wreckage, which was 70cm deep in mud, was removed from the water and a farming family moved it on to their land.

When Mr Downs found the wreckage, "strewn all over the farm", including the cockpit being used as a greenhouse, he enlisted the help of friends with cranes and the farm machinery to shift the pieces to a central field.

"All of the parts were numbered, so I've been putting the jigsaw puzzle back together," he said.

Once the plane is reassembled, people will be able to walk through its fuselage and into the two-storey cockpit.

He plans to line the walls with reports and anecdotes from those who remembered the flying boat when it was in use – or when it crashed.

The attraction is being rebuilt at the farm of Jim and Sally Muirson, who, along with neighbour Colin Barr, also have plans to restore a historic church and a whaling station on the land.

The more he learnt about the plane, the NZ4111, the more he realised it was an important part of the islands' history. "It was a big deal for people living here when it was used."

Operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force, the plane was used to carry supplies to the islands about three times a year after World War II.

On November 4, 1959, it was carrying three passengers when it crashed on takeoff in Te Whanga Lagoon, which makes up about a third of Chatham Island.

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ROSS GIBLIN/The Dominion Post
JIGSAW PUZZLE: Gary Downs is recovering parts of the flying boat and reassembling them to put on display. The task is helped by each piece being individually numbered.

Mr Downs said the projects would help preserve the islands' history and he was undeterred by those who believed reassembling the plane's remaining parts would be impossible: "The more people say it can't be done, there is more motivation to do it."

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/na ... s-together

There has also been interest in the project from other media.
This link will take you to a radio interview with Gary Downs:

http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/national ... ne_rebuild

Next: NZ4112
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Re: Short Flying Boats in New Zealand

Postby flyernzl » Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:55 am

Sunderland VB881 was built by Blackburn at Dumbarton as Mk.V and served with the RAF from August 1945. It was returned to Shorts at Belfast to be rebuilt for the RNZAF as NZ4112.

NZ4112 arrived at Hobsonville at the conclusion of its delivery flight on 2Nov1953. Transferred to 5Sdn at Lauthala Bay, NZ4112 served initially as KN-A and later as KN-L.

NZ4112 with 5Sdn, mid-1950s

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When the fleet merged in the late-1950s, NZ4112 became L

Moored at Lauthala Bay

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NZ 4112 L in her element

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Moored at Hobsonville 8Oct1961

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On the hard at Mechanics Bay 3Oct1962, Widgeon ZK-BGQ in the background

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NZ4112 was withdrawn from use in mid-1966 and put up for sale by tender 2Aug1966.
Sold to Australian Aircraft Sales, they removed equipment from the Sunderland while it was on the hard at at Hobsonville.

Hobsonville, August 1966

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They stripped airframe was then donated to the Hobsonville Yacht Club, and placed beside the No.5 hangar (where the Sunderland NZ4110/INST183 had previously resided).

Hobsonville, 1Jul1967

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The Yacht Club apparently did not get a lot of use out of it, apart from using the Sunderland as the venue for a few boozy parties, and the airframe deteriorated over the next few years. Eventually, the OC of the base decreed it had to go, and go quickly.
Calls were made to MoTAT in Auckland and the Ferrymead Museum in Christchurch. However, given the short time available for disposal, a decision was made that only the cockpit section could be saved. The Sunderland was hauled out of its corner, turned around on the hard, and the wrecking commenced.

CAUTION: Those of tender years or sensitive disposition should not progress past this point!

Richard Cornwall was a MoTAT member at that time, and was present with his camera at the execution at Hobsonville, November 1973

The outer wings were cut off, and the aircraft was then hauled up to the hard outside the No.4 hangar and chopped into pieces for scrapping.

The tail section was removed

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the nose section was removed

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and placed to one side

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This was the last Sunderland to leave Hobsonville, and the end of 40 years of maritime aircraft history at the base.

The nose section was transferred to Ferrymead in Christchurch, and stored outside there for some years

Ferrymead, 25Jun1976

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Recently, the item has been shifted into a workshop and work has been started to restore and refit this cockpit section with the eventual goal of public display when indoor space becomes available. Right now, the section is under a protective dustcover at the Ferrymead works.

Ferrymead, 30Dec2010

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Next: NZ4113
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Re: Short Flying Boats in New Zealand

Postby flyernzl » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:57 pm

Sunderland PP124 was built by Shorts at Rochester as Mk.V. and served with the RAF from May 1945. After active service with the RAF it was returned to Belfast to be rebuilt for the RNZAF as NZ4113.

NZ4113 arrived at Hobsonville at the conclusion of its delivery flight on 7Aug1954. It served with 6Sdn as XX-D, and was later transferred to 5Sdn at Lauthala Bay initially as KN-D, later KN-M.

NZ4113 with 6Sdn as XX-D

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In service with 5Sdn

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The aircraft then returned to Hobsonville in May 1956 to serve with the Maritime Operational Conversion Unit. With the amalgamation of the Sunderland fleet later that year, NZ4113 became M.

NZ4113 will always be remembered as the Sunderland that scraped its keel on the brand new runway at Rongotai, Wellington's new airport, during the opening day display on 25Oct1959.
The aircraft was meant to do a low fly-by, but things got a little too low.

NZ4113 about to touch at Rongotai, 25Oct1959

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Robin Klitscher, co-pilot of the aircraft at that incident, recollects:

"Go back in time to Sunday 25 October 1959. Go back in space to Wellington's new pride and joy, the virgin runway fortified at each end against the sea at Rongotai. Go back in events to the air show staged to mark the opening thereof.

The show was supposed to have been on the Saturday, but Wellington's weather was in one of its more sullen tempers on that day. The Sunday dawned better, but not much. No rain or significant cloud, but a very strong, very gusty nor'westerly gale swinging twenty degrees misaligned with the runway.

Sunderland flying-boat NZ4113 was charged with a flypast along the runway to open the show, thence to patrol Cook Strait as
search-and-rescue picket for the rest of the afternoon (inelegantly, the callsign assigned for the latter purpose was Duckbutt).

My log book reads copilot and, with tactful understatement, records the manoeuvre as "Touch and Go, Rongotai". The planing hull was breached in the process. Having become a casualty itself, the aircraft was obliged to abandon the duckbutt duty in favour of a duckscuttle back home to Hobsonville.

But before turning to the detail, let me mention the aircraft immediately following us in the programme, a Royal Air Force Vulcan, tail number XH498. On approach from the south in the tumultuous wind this aircraft hit the lip of the runway where it falls away into the sea. One undercarriage leg broke at its root. Though it remained attached to the aircraft it was free to flap in the breeze - and did.
Fuel lines were ruptured, releasing turbine kerosene to spray everywhere as the aircraft climbed away. The hapless machine landed at Ohakea. As expected the damaged leg collapsed during the runout. The aircraft slewed off the runway on one wheel and the other wingtip, ploughing up the turf before coming safely to rest. It was repaired at Ohakea over the next several months, and eventually was flown back to Britain.

Some show. Some opening. Double whammy.

As the Sunderland sullied the spotless new seal, the sensation from the cockpit was just a brief couple of mild bumps - rather like a car negotiating a double speed hump. From the lower deck, however, the sandpapering noises were louder, more prolonged, and much more alarming.

The hole was a couple of feet long or thereabouts and about half that in width. It was big enough to be a worry, shaped like an isosceles triangle with the pointy end forward. Trapped bilge water sprayed out.
The lowest point of the keel, right at the "step" in the planing surface, had been ground away. The void was at a junction of several compound curves in the frames and aircraft skin, and was both too large and too irregular to plug satisfactorily in the air. (It was also a bitch to repair later.)

As it happened, the aircraft was rigged for a return passenger run to the Chathams. At the time, these flights plied about once a month between Evans Bay and the Te Whanga Lagoon by direction of the Government; the Member for Lyttelton (which included the Chathams) was the burly, bluff and highly engaging Norman Kirk. For students of the history of the New Zealand coastal shipping trade, these flights were conducted under charter to the then famed Holm Shipping Company.

The substantial land airfield that's now near Waitangi came later. Meantime the Sunderlands provided an air bridge. (As an aside, a couple of weeks or so after the events related here we lost a Sunderland in the lagoon. Whilst taxying where it was thought to be safe on the line of the lead-in markers, there was an argument with a submerged and uncharted rock. The rock won. There were no casualties but the aircraft was kaput; sunk; gone to Davy Jones.)

The significance of the Chathams rig in the context of the runway touchdown was that the wardroom and another compartment further aft were converted for passengers. Ordinary airliner seats were installed. Needs must; their squabs were put to a use their designer could never have intended nor even envisaged. They were stuffed into the hole and shored into place from the inside. The array of rubber leak stoppers, coir mats and Plasticene (yes) that the Sunderland carried for such eventualities was unequal to the occasion.

The flight engineer who accomplished this work during the flight back to Hobsonville was later decorated for his troubles. To do it he had hung precariously for hours by his heels - literally - from the decking support cross-members, upside down in the bilges, packing whatever was to hand into the hole and surrounds. It wasn't sufficient only to try to reduce the inflow of water that was inevitable when the aircraft touched down on the seaway at Hobsonville. What could not be assessed with confidence was the possibility that the hydraulic force of the water on touchdown at 80 knots might rip the weakened structure wide open. Thus the engineer had to do whatever he could to shore it all up.

The duty crew at Hobsonville and anyone else who happened to be standing around on that Sunday were called out. Several seaplane tenders - flat-bottomed barges with lowish freeboard - were prepared. Aboard was the beaching gear and high-capacity powered Climax water pumps. The beaching gear was a pair of wheeled bogies mounted on substantial girders that fitted onto a hard point in the armpit of each wing and were then snibbed to the respective side of the fuselage. There were no modern labour-saving devices or other niceties to this. Heavy pushme-pullyou functionality was the watchword.

When fitted the wheels projected below the lowest point of the hull so the aircraft could be winched up the slipway. They were hauled up the ramp backwards by a wire hawser bolted through a ring under the tail. As they rose out of the water onto land in such an undignified manner the persona of these great things, whose elegance in either of the two elements for which they were designed was unsurpassed, seemed invariably to shrink into embarrassment.

The Sunderland carried two water pumps as part of its standard internal kit. One was powered by the auxiliary power unit (APU), a small petrol engine that lived in the starboard leading-edge wing root. The other was a hand pump stowed in the bow compartment. The latter looked like a vehicle tyre pump, except that the working stroke was the pull not the push. It was exceedingly hard work. For other than the most trivial of tasks, using it called for approximately the same optimism as baling out Lake Taupo with a bucket.

The APU pump was scarcely any better. The APU could not be started until the aircraft came to rest because its housing in the wing root had to be opened from the outside to allow the engine to breathe and the exhaust to escape overboard. To accomplish that task one had to climb out of a hatch in the fuselage roof, step from the curved top surface of the fuselage onto the wing, undo the Dzus fasteners that held everything closed, and open the hatch in the leading edge; all of this proximate to the inboard engine nacelle and propeller. It was not a manoeuvre to be recommended if the aircraft was in significant motion including lumpiness in the seaway - unless of course one wished to go swimming involutarily (having taken one's chances through the propeller arc).

The capacity of the APU pump was greater than the hand pump of course, but its reliability was awful. Bilge water generally is not pretty stuff. Not only does it smell bad, but to varying degrees it accumulates oil and other contaminants, both fluid and solid. To protect the pump mechanism (and the APU itself from overload, for it had other uses) the associated plumbing was filtered. The filters choked quickly on a diet of bilge soup. Memory dims a little, but recollection is that two or three minutes was a respectable run; five minutes or ten was exceptional.

Out of these considerations, prudence called for the supplementary barge-mounted Climax pumps to be available. This was high-capacity equipment, in the class of the average fire hose. The units had been started and tested ashore before the aircraft alighted. All was as ready as it was likely to be.

The aircraft touched down in the channel. The hull was not further breached. But the water did come in - and fast.

Then intervened Sod's Law. Not Murphy's; Sod's. The two are different, though often they are confused with each other. In aviation at least, Murphy states that if any important component is designed with the potential to be assembled wrongly, someone some day will manage to gratify the potential. Sod is simpler; if something can go wrong, it will.

The plan was that the supplementary pumps would at least hold the flow while the beaching gear was strapped on. It should have worked. What went wrong, however, was that the Climax pumps so recently tested would not start. The onboard APU pump quickly expired, as expected - it could not cope with the flow anyway. The hand pump was useless. The aircraft started to sink.

The space beneath the lower deck of a Sunderland - the bilge - was compartmentalised into watertight sections. The deck itself, however, was close to or below the static waterline. Above the deck in the doorways between compartments, therefore, and aligned with the lateral bulkheads beneath the decking, there were low doors that could be dogged shut. Called swash doors, they stood three feet or so high, and they carried the watertight compartmentalisation on up to the level of their tops.

On this occasion the waters rose inside and began to lap over the swash doors. Re-starting the main engines and simply running the aircraft onto the mud flats under power started to become a serious option.

Then one of the Climaxes cleared its throat and decided to behave; then another. With the whole interior now awash to well above the tops of the swash doors, these pumps were able to stabilise the water level.

Now came a final difficulty. The aircraft of course had settled well down. Both wing floats were in the water. Indeed their buoyancy was helping prevent matters getting worse. The hull was now so low, however, that the very high buoyancy of the big pneumatic tyres made it impossible to force the beaching gear far enough under the surface to engage the tops of the legs into the sockets under the wings.

So, further delay ensued while air was let out of the tyres. Eventually the aircraft was inched up the slipway on the rims of the wheels, which became easier and easier as the goodly part of the inner harbour then inside the aircraft spilled out of the hole through which it had entered. No fish, though.

Some air show indeed .......

Most tales have a moral, and this one is no exception. It is not a tale cautionary about Tail Number 13, however. Nor is it that landing a seaplane on a runway is a bad idea - which is not a moral but a self-evident truth.

The real moral is about plans. The train of events after the touchdown suggests there is another rule that ranks alongside Murphy and Sod. No matter how well-conceived a plan may be to take us from the known to the unknown, expecting its execution from start to finish to follow the pattern prescribed for it is the really bad idea. The best any plan can do is provide a point for considered departure when the unexpected happens, as happen it will. A larger Lesson for Life, perhaps?"

There is a YouTube video of the event at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu2qxgtFvW8

In any event, NZ4113 must have been rapidly repaired, as it flew to the Chatham Islands with men and materials after Sunderland NZ4111 hit the rocks in the Te Whanga Lagoon on 4Nov59.

As M, this Sunderland continued to serve during the early 1960s

At Mechanics Bay 15Mar1961

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At Lauthala Bay

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In the air

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NZ4113 with friends

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Moored at Evans Bay, Wellington, 1Dec1966

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The RNZAF Sunderland flights to the Chatham Islands ceased after nine years when the NZ4113 took off from the Te Whanga Lagoon at 12.45pm on 22Mar1967 on the final flight to Wellington. A few days later, on 30th March, NZ4113 made its final flight and was withdrawn at Hobsonville.

The aircraft included in the final batch of Sunderlands sold by tender to Australian Aircraft Sales, Sydney and was scrapped at Hobsonville after the removal of saleable components.

NZ4113 moored at Hobsonville 30Apr1967

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About to be scrapped, Hobsonville July 1967

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Next: NZ4114 - the Northland relic
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Re: Short Flying Boats in New Zealand

Postby sunderlandmr5 » Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:39 am

Hi Peter

Thanks again for those awesome photos.

One thing I have yet to work out is, I have noticed
that some of 5 Squadron Sunderlands have interesting
taping/shrouding on the engines/cowling gills and
intakes for the oil filters (Usually when on the water, so must be
some type of water proofing perhaps) .

I don't have much in the way of Sunderland photo collections (that are mine)
but this is one I do have. The new boy on the block with
5 Squadron and his predecessor, the Sunderland is NZ 4113
M-Mike
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This photo is special to me as my father worked on both with 5 Squadron

Regards

Alan
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Re: Short Flying Boats in New Zealand

Postby flyernzl » Sun Jun 12, 2011 10:28 am

Hi Alan,

The shot of Orion NZ4203 (which arrived in NZ 11Dec66) with NZ4113 seems to be one of a series that was taken at that time. The timescale must have been Dec66 - Mar67. Location was around the Hauraki Gulf.

How about your diorama of a wrecked Sunderland being the 'one on the beach' at the Chathams?

Peter
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Re: Short Flying Boats in New Zealand

Postby flyernzl » Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:26 am

Additional photos of NZ4101 '02 '03 and '04 ex-Don Noble added.
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Re: Short Flying Boats in New Zealand

Postby flyernzl » Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:22 am

Sunderland SZ561 was built by Shorts at Belfast as Mk.V. and served with the RAF from August 1945. After active service with the RAF it was returned to Belfast to be rebuilt for the RNZAF as NZ4114.

NZ4114 arrived at Hobsonville at the conclusion of its delivery flight on 2Aug1954. It served with 6Sdn there as XX-C

NZ4114 airborne with 6Sdn

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The 6Sdn codes were later changed to XX-A

NZ4114 over central Auckland City, the viaduct basin can be seen below the rear fuselage

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Moored, unknown location

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NZ4114 went to the MOCU in 1955, and upon amalgamation of the Sunderland fleet it became coded P

NZ4114 P in formation with NZ4115 Q

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Overhead Auckland harbour

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At the TEAL base, Mechanics Bay, during maintenance work January 1961


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Probably at Lauthala Bay, Fiji, while serving with 5Sdn 1961


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Moored out at Hobsonville

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NZ4114 was one of the last operational Sunderlands with the RNZAF, being withdrawn from use in January 1967.
One of the batch sold to Australian Aircraft Sales, Sydney. it was stripped of operational equipment at Hobsonville

NZ4114 'the wrong way around' in the Hobsonville braby during the equipment removal process, 1July1967

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The hulk was then given to the Northland Coastguard, and was to be located at their base on the Onerahi foreshore at Whangarei.
Towed to Whangarei harbour, it was then dragged up onto the beach

At Onerahi, 2Dec1967

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By 27Oct1968 the Holden had been replaced by an Austin Cambridge

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Regrettably, the airframe saw little use, fell into disrepair and became a hazard. Fenced off by 1971

Onerahi 11Oct1971

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By 1972 it had been removed to the local Council dump at Pohe Island where it was soon sold for scrap.

Next: NZ4115, the survivor
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Re: Short Flying Boats in New Zealand

Postby flyernzl » Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:04 am

Sunderland SZ584 was built by Shorts at Belfast as Mk.V. and after being taken on charge with the RAF on May 1946 was transferred to The British Overseas Airways Corporation as G-AHJR on 27Jul1946. This Sunderland did not enter airline service with BOAC, but was used as a crew training aircraft at their Poole base replacing an earlier Sunderland SZ573 in this role. Piloted by Captain Lewis Carey, Captain Taffy Barrow and others through the two year period up to 16Apr1948, it eventually became one of the last flying boats moored up at Poole until being returned to the Short factory at Belfast in October 1952 to be renovated for the RNZAF as NZ4115.

Arriving at Hobsonville on 17Nov1953, NZ4115 seems to have served as a 5Sdn aircraft from that date carrying the codes KN-A KN-B and KN-Q

NZ4115 low-flying as KN-B

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When the Sunderland fleet merging in the mid-1950s, NZ4115 became Q, serving apparently without incident at both Lauthala Bay and Hobsonville.

In August 1961, NZ4115 was at Hobsonville being prepared for a flight on the Chatham Island service. This entailed fitting carpet and chairs into the main hold area of the aircraft. As this work was deemed to be a modification, a test flight needed to be carried out following this work before fare-paying passengers would be allowed to risk their necks on the flight. Coincidentally, a small group of ATC Cadets who were a Hobsonville for a school holiday course were kicking around the wharf area. One of the aircrew offered some members of this group the chance to go for a short flight in the Sunderland (presumably their necks were considered expendable) and of course the invitation was instantly accepted. Just a take-off to the east, a climb out over the North Shore area, and than back down to alight from the western end of the seaway.
Not a long flight, but I consider myself so lucky to have been one of that group, and to be one of the relatively few people to have experienced a flight in a four-engined flying boat.

NZ4115 at Hobsonville August 1961

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Hobsonville 8Oct1961

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Maintenance at Mechanics Bay 15Apr1962

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NZ4115 making a low pass over Wellington Airport (scene of NZ4113's mishap) October 1965

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A rare colour shot of NZ4115 airborne as Q

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Video of NZ4115 performing 'touch-and-goes'. No sound of course, that would have needed to be dubbed in.
Without an ounce of proof, I think this was shot in the Hauraki Gulf (outer Auckland harbour) in 1966.

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NZ4115 remained in service until December 1966, and then remarkably became the Sunderland earmarked for preservation in a museum. There appears to have been no special reason why this particular aircraft was chosen, presumably someone just pointed out the window at the nearest Sunderland and said 'take that one'. Struck off charge on 9Dec1966, MoTAT took ownership on 22Dec1966.

In any event, NZ4115 was totally restored prior to being towed to Meola Road i.e. stripped completely and rebuilt as new and airworthy. It is reputed that it was swapped for a horse gig from MoTAT by the then OC at Hobsonville (who later became an M.P.).
Unlike ZK-AMO which spent some years in storage at Hobsonville before the move, NZ4115 went to MoTAT very quickly, being delivered on 22Feb1967.
Neville Mines took photos of the transfer as it progressed. Not an easy shift by the look of it.

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Moved in and reassembled, Meola Road 20Aug1967


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Unfortunately at that time MoTAT lacked funding to erect buildings to protect their larger aircraft. From its outdoor position however, the Sunderland did have an eagles-eye view of Meola Creek and the harbour beyond

Meola Road 30Apr1968

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The exposed position did lead to some security problems at the time. One of the MoTAT members recollects:
"The Sunderland was delivered and ultimately re-assembled fully complete right down to the operational Aldus lamp in the cockpit, fully operational radio equipment aboard, there was even a reasonable quantity of fuel left in the tanks, the APU was working beautifully able to recharge the heavy duty batteries aboard, even the meths burners worked in the cooker in the galley and a collection of utensils were also still on board. Certainly regrettably very different to the condition she is in today. If the engines had not been inhibited I would imagine they could have been fired up also, everything else was certainly working in her including all of the electrics throughout.

Because the aircraft was starting to attract vandals where attempts were being made to smash the perspex windows next to the beaching gear to get inside, I spent six of the most hilarious evenings I have ever had in my life, aboard overnight from late Saturday afternoon through to Sunday morning on guard duties with five others. Unfortunately I cannot remember if you were one of the team on board Shorty or not. I know PD was the nominated leader of our team on duty. We all manned the cockpit, the front and rear turrets and the bomb room behind the galley from dark until mid-night then we rotated two teams of two every two hours while two could get some sleep on the bunks below unless called upon from midnight through to daylight in the morning which inevitably they were awoken from the laughter in the cockpit when things started happening outside.

We used to cook dinner in the evening and breakfast in the morning in the galley for the six of us taking turns to do the cooking. We ensured that we did not starve I can assure you loading the aircraft up with provisions early Saturday mornings. With the original heavy duty batteries aboard and the radios fully working we had a radio communication link with the Pt Chev Fire Station and Musick Point for emergencies. On the Sunday mornings we used to start up the APU using fuel still in the fuel tanks and recharge the batteries ready for the next week's activities.

We were also had aboard an Electra main Landing Light from the Electra that crashed at Whenuapai which could beam a strong light right across the harbour to Kauri Point. With no framing, just the bare sealed beam unit it soon got very hot to hold, which would successfully burn your hands if you held onto it for too long. It would literally blind anyone looking at the beam from Meola Road which we did on a couple of occasions around 2am in the morning which is another story where people would park their cars and illegally dump rubbish off the path leading down to the creek.

You would be absolutely amazed what went on at the Meola tip on a Saturday night, including one couples very amorous activities in the back seat of a car during the early hours of one of the evenings. When the Aldus and the Electra light beam was lined up to shine through the back window of the car and the car suddenly lit up as if it was daylight, you can picture what happened soon after, when the guy rapidly tumbled out of the back seat of the car through one of the back doors with trousers around his ankles trying to clamber into the drivers seat, spinning the car around on the metal dump on the tip just below the Sunderland and ultimately managing to drive his car up over the bank and back down on to Meola Road with the beams of light held on to his car as he shot up Meola Road with the car back door still open waving in the breeze as he zig zagged his way back up the road towards the city. Spoil sports you may say.....well you could be right!!!
"

The exterior finish and glazing on NZ4115 has suffered from weather exposure from 45 years in outside storage, However a large new extension to the hangarage is due for completion in mid-2011 and plans are to have both Short boats securely inside within a few months. Hopefully we can then expect to see NZ4115 restored to its original pristine condition once that move takes place.

NZ4115 1May2010

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Next: NZ4116
Last edited by flyernzl on Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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flyernzl
 
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Re: Short Flying Boats in New Zealand

Postby sunderlandmr5 » Sun Jun 19, 2011 6:55 am

Hi Peter

Thanks again for the commentary on NZ4115

I am so extremly grateful that someone back in the 1960's
had the foresight to preserve at least one of our Sunderlands!
I am also grateful that MOTAT have now a building to house
NZ4115 in and finally protect her from the elements. It will ensure
that future generations of young Kiwi's will get to see her.

My young Daughter, already knows NZ 4115 as her "Grandpa's"
plane and that he worked on her. I wish he were still here to
see her finally get the proper attention she deserves, in 2001
before he went back over seas and seeing NZ4115 for the last time,
he was extremly upset at how run down she had become.

Here is a photo Neville Mines posted on the RNZAF Proboards,
and has given kind permission to post

NZ4115 in her natural element at Hobsonville near where the Greenhithe
Bridge now passes over
Image

Regards

Alan
sunderlandmr5
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:25 am
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

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