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Kiwi Corsair Flies Once More

And will continue to be based in New Zealand...

New Zealand warbird enthusiasts will be delighted to learn that the Goodyear-built FG-1D Corsair NZ5648 previously operated by The Old Stick And Rudder Company has apparently been purchased by a Kiwi who intends to continue to base the historic ex-RNZAF aircraft in this country.

NZ5648 was saved from the infamous Rukuhia military scrapyard in the late 1950's and was restored to a taxiable condition. After 16 years at the Museum Of Transport And Technology (MOTAT) in Auckland it was sold to a US owner and was finally restored to airworthy condition in 1982.  Photo: Alex Mitchell, Historical Aviation Film Unit

The aircraft has today flown from Hood Aerodrome in Masterton to Omaka Aerodrome near Blenheim where it is now under the care of JEM Aviation, and HAFU understands that over the next few weeks it will be going thorough a schedule of maintenance to ensure it's ready for the upcoming New Zealand airshow display season.

The aircraft has not been seen in the air for a number of years and Kiwi fans of the aircraft feared it may never see the wind beneath its wings again. It appears that Auckland businessman Mike Jones has purchased the aircraft, and that he has every intention of keeping the aircraft flying in New Zealand.

FG-1D Corsair NZ5648 arrives at Omaka Aerodrome in Blenheim (New Zealand) after a short ferry flight -- the aircraft's first flight in several years.

Originally owned by warbird pilot and legend Ray Hanna, the Goodyear-built Corsair was operated by Ray's Old Flying Machine Company and displayed throughout the UK and Europe as part of the Breitling fighters display team during the early 2000's. Ray returned the aircraft to New Zealand in 2004 and had planned to operate it from a base in Wanaka, but following his death in 2005 the aircraft was purchased by The Old Stick And Rudder Company and moved to Masterton.

The RNZAF started to re-equip with Corsairs in 1944, and these replaced the air force's Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawks which had been operational in the Pacific Theatre during 1942-1943. Between 1944 and 1947 over 420 Corsairs equipped thirteen RNZAF squadrons in the Pacific. As there were few Japanese aircraft in the area by the time the Corsairs came on line, the RNZAF used these awesome fighters primarily as low-level aircraft to support troops on the ground.

World renown warbird pilot Keith Skilling puts the Kiwi Corsair through its paces in this compilation of airshow clips and onboard footage.

NZ5648 never saw active service, and spent most of its life with the RNZAF in storage in New Zealand, which explains why it was a relatively straight forward task to rescue it from the scrapyard and to eventually return it to an airworthy state.

More details on this story and Mr Jones' intentions for the aircraft will be added here as they come to hand...

This view of the Corsair will be seen in New Zealand skies again in the very near future. Something which many local warbird enthusiasts feared would never happen.   Photo: Alex Mitchell, Historical Aviation Film Unit

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