Update on the arrival on the Skyhawk at Classic Flyers NZ
The arrival of Skyhawk 01 at Classic Flyers is a keenly awaited event. The Management Board at Classic Flyers is really heartened not only by the expressions of interest generated by the event but also by the very substantial contributions that the people of Tauranga and beyond are making to the cost of delivery. As Chairman of the Board I feel extraordinarily heartened by the response we have had to date and wish to share with you the information we have about the arrival of the aircraft and our intentions for display.
As most of you will know, the Government disposed of the Skyhawk fleet when it became obvious that the sale of the aircraft was not viable. The Government recognises the importance of the historical aviation value to New Zealand of the fleet and wishes each aircraft to be properly and appropriately displayed. Accordingly the disposal of the fleet was decided at the highest level which for us culminated in a personal visit to Classic Flyers by the Defence Minister, Dr Wayne Mapp, who approved our location for the receipt and long term display of one aircraft. Whilst we do have the facility here to rebuild the aircraft on arrival, this may not be the case at other designated locations. Accordingly, the Government has decided to retain the dismantling, the transportation and the reassembly to pristine display standard. The cost of this process has been averaged out across the various specified locations in New Zealand and hence the charge of $30,000 per aircraft. Given our location in the North Island, the cost for the move to us is likely to be exceeded for which we will not be charged. Whilst we would have preferred not to pay this amount as a charitable institution, as a tax payer I can see the case for requiring the cost to be met from outside the exchequer. We are really heartened with the level of contribution so far made but still have some way to go. Whatever, we are determined to find the money to complete the transaction.
Initially we were hoping for delivery of the aircraft in late August. We were then going to clear our main hangar floor where the aircraft would be rebuilt during which visitors to the hangar could watch the process. The rebuild would also be displayed on our website using time lapsed photography. The intention was then to have a grand ‘unveiling’ on Saturday the 3 September. Our request for this time scale was deliberately to avoid the Rugby World Cup which starts on 9 September given we still need the publicity to complete the fund raising. Unfortunately, for logistics reasons the Army who are transporting the airframe can not now meet this timescale. Our belief was that the RWC could ‘drown out’ the publicity we need. Accordingly our intention is for the arrival of the aircraft in late October, (the RWC Final is on 23 October) and then to have the same process for the rebuild as previously intended culminating in an unveiling in early November. We will keep you updated one we have solid news of the dates for the move.
In the meantime, we do thank you for your support and continued interest. We will update you on progress whenever we have anything new to report.
Chairman of the Management Board