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This Week


This Week: Consolidated Catalina PBY-5a

During the Second World War, the RNZAF operated a total of 56 Catalina flying boats. None of these aircraft were of the amphibious type as seen here, but this Canadian-built example (Canso) is painted to represent one of the flying boats operated in the Pacific Theatre.  

Noteworthy for its extremely long range, the Catalina crews often spent up to 12 hours in the air at a time, covering hundreds of miles of open sea.  During the campaign in the Solomons, RNZAF Cats were stationed at strategic sites throughout the islands, ready to take off whenever they were needed.

Not only did they rescue many allied airmen from the sea, but their mere presence helped to keep up the morale of other aircrew, who knew they had a good chance of being rescued if they had to 'ditch' into the sea.

Photograph Copyright © Historical Aviation Film Unit


Last Week


Last Week: Great Northern Railway (GNR) Class N2

The Great Northern Railway (GNR) Class N2 is an 0-6-2T side tank steam locomotive designed by Sir Nigel Gresley and introduced in 1920. Further batches were built by the London and North Eastern Railway from 1925.

The N2s were designed for suburban passenger operations, and worked most of the duties out of King’s Cross and Moorgate, often hauling one or two quad-art sets of articulated suburban coaches. These ran to places such as New Barnet and Gordon Hill on the Hertford loop and hauled some empty coaching stock trains between King’s Cross and Ferme Park carriage sidings.

They were also a common sight in and around Glasgow and Edinburgh operating suburban services, mainly on what is today known as the North Clyde Line.

Photograph Copyright © Historical Aviation Film Unit

The text of this caption is from the North Norfolk Railway website, for more information see:



Previous: Bristol Boxkite

The Boxkite (officially the Bristol Biplane) was the first aircraft produced by the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company (later known as the Bristol Aeroplane Company). A pusher biplane based on the successful Farman III, it was one of the first aircraft types to be built in quantity. As the type was used by Bristol for instruction purposes at their flying schools at Larkhill and Brooklands many early British aviators learned to fly in a Boxkite. Four were purchased in 1911 by the British War Office and examples were sold to Russia and Australia. It continued to be used for training purposes until after the outbreak of the First World War.

No original Bristol Boxkites aeroplanes have survived, but three authentic flyable reproductions were built by the F. G. Miles group for the film Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. One of these aircraft is now owned by the Shuttleworth Collection in Bedfordshire, where it is still flown during flying displays, when the weather permits.

Photograph Copyright © Historical Aviation Film Unit

The text of this caption is courtesy of Wikipedia and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0 :

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Previous: Panzer Mark IV Tank

The Panzerkampfwagen IV (Pz.Kpfw. IV), commonly known as the Panzer IV, was a German medium tank developed in the late 1930s and used extensively during the Second World War.

The Mark IV was the most numerous German tank and the second-most numerous German fully tracked armoured fighting vehicle of WW2 with 8,553 Panzer IVs of all versions were built during the war -- this was only exceeded by the StuG III assault gun with 10,086 vehicles. Its chassis was also used as the base for many other fighting vehicles, including the Sturmgeschütz IV assault gun, the Jagdpanzer IV self-propelled anti-tank gun, the Wirbelwind self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, and the Brummbär self-propelled gun. The type saw service in all combat theatres involving Germany and was the only German tank to remain in continuous production throughout the war.

This example of the Mark IV is a full size, moving replica built in New Zealand.

Photograph Copyright © Historical Aviation Film Unit

The text of this caption is courtesy of Wikipedia and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0 :



Previous: de Havilland Fox Moth

The DH.83 Fox Moth was a successful small biplane passenger aircraft from the 1930s powered by a single de Havilland Gipsy Major I inline inverted engine, manufactured by the de Havilland Aircraft Company.

The aircraft was designed late in 1931 as a low cost and economical light passenger aircraft. Many components including the engine, tailplane, fin, rudder and wings were identical to those being used for the de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth then being built in large quantities as a military trainer. These were fitted to the purpose-built wooden, plywood-covered fuselage. The pilot sat in a raised cockpit behind the small enclosed passenger cabin, which was usually fitted with three seats for short-range hops. The "Speed Model" was fitted with a canopy and fairing. The wings folded for space saving storage.

ADI arrived in New Zealand in 1934 and was first used by Bert Mercer's Air Travel (NZ) Ltd in the West Coast region, mainly on the Hokitika to Haast route. As much it was the first aircraft in New Zealand to be registered to carry passengers commercially.

Photograph Copyright © Historical Aviation Film Unit

Some of text of this caption is courtesy of Wikipedia and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0 :



Previous: Two Newly Restored Historic Aircraft

Harvard NZ1044: Operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force during the Second World War, North American Harvard NZ1044 is one of 202 Harvards ordered by the RNZAF as an advanced pilot trainer in June 1943 -- the aircraft was operated by No 2 Fighter Operational Training Unit (FOTU) at RNZAF Base Ohakea.

The aircraft has recently emerged from a full restoration, performed by owner Bevan Dewes and Wanaka based Twenty24 Ltd, and the aircraft once again wears the colours that it wore while operational with the RNZAF.

Tiger Moth ZK-BFS: Another recent addition to New Zealand flock of airworthy de Havilland Tiger Moths is ZK-BFS, now owned and operated by Lucy Newell. The aircraft was recently given a serious working over after having been out of the air for a number of years, and was then given a new lick of paint, courtesy of Lucy's design skills. Most who see the aircraft in the flesh agree that she now looks fabulous in her new colour scheme, and it's great to see the aircraft back in the air once again.

Photograph Copyright (c) 2023 Ross Brodie