avatar_KiwiZac

Mustang NZ2423 restoration visit

Started by KiwiZac, January 13, 2022, 04:55:17 PM

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KiwiZac

Hi all,
Yesterday Brendon Deere was kind enough to host me at his Biggin Hill Historic Aircraft Centre, located at RNZAF Base Ohakea and allowed me to see his P-51D project up close (as well as put up with a lot of questions!).

This aircraft, 45-11513/NZ2423 is one of several RNZAF surplus aircraft that were bought and preserved by the late John Smith of Mapua in the 1950s-60s, among their number being a DH Tiger Moth, two P-40 Kittyhawks (one now being restored to fly), a DH Mosquito FB.VI which has been conserved in running condition, and several literal tons of parts for many other aircraft. This was widely publicised as a "barn find" following John's death in August 2019 but had been an open secret worldwide among warbird enthusiasts for many years. John was very reclusive and publicity shy but many people were fortunate to be allowed into The Shed to take a look at this truly remarkable collection. Here's a look:
https://youtu.be/Uhr__ZBYuT4

Brendon Deere is well-known in New Zealand for restoring and operating Spitfire Mk.IXc PV270, painted in the markings of his uncle the Battle of Britain pilot Al Deere, as well as an ex-RNZAF Harvard and a Grumman Avenger wearing wartime RNZAF markings. I was very pleased to hear that Brendon had been entrusted with Mustang NZ2423 by the Smith family, not just because I've known him since 2004 but also because Ohakea is less than an hour's drive from my home! The aircraft was also based at Ohakea for almost all its RNZAF service between 1952 and 1957.

When I visited work was underway: Pete Burgess was focused on pipes for the recently-installed oil radiator and Joe Deere was working on the windscreen side glazing. Brendon and Pete said that as a restoration project the Mustang is a lot more straightforward than the Spitfire was. John Smith saved as much as he could from the scrappers over the years and as such they've had to source very few parts from outside what came from Mapua - they have multiples of many parts, such as six canopies and eleven undercarriage legs! Besides what you see in the photos below there's also a shipping container with countless spares yet to be inventoried.

Brendon said the fuselage is structurally complete and the systems/plumbing work is now underway. The wing, being restored by Odegaard Wings at Kindred, ND, is about 2-3mth from completion and the engine (restored by Vintage V-12s at Tehachapi, CA) was recently run for the first time in almost 64yr. As of her final flight on May 30 1957 airframe and engine total time was 260hr 55min.

She's being restored in her original single seat condition - the fuselage fuel tank is fitted, the radio rack is awaiting refurbished sets to be installed, and she will fly in 2023 with bomb racks and rocket rails, painted in Number 2 (Wellington) Territorial Air Force markings. All of the pipework you see in the photos is original, as is much of the hardware. It will be one of the most original Mustangs flying anywhere when complete.

NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr

It's all rather exciting!

NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates by Zac Yates, on Flickr

If you're keen to see more I have all the photos I took (including the other aircraft in the hangars) on my Flickr account (link).

Nick

That must be such an amazing project. I can't believe that so many old parts and spares have survived all these decades.  :wub:
I will have to save up more pennies so I can get down to NZ and see all these old warbirds flying.

zenrat

Fascinating.

Many different shades of (what I assume is) zinc chromate there.
Fred

- Can't be bothered to do the proper research and get it right.

Another ill conceived, lazily thought out, crudely executed and badly painted piece of half arsed what-if modelling muppetry from zenrat industries.

zenrat industries:  We're everywhere...for your convenience..

NARSES2

Quote from: zenrat on January 14, 2022, 02:53:18 AM
Fascinating.

Many different shades of (what I assume is) zinc chromate there.

Absolutely

Why is New Zealand such an apparent hot bed for this type of activity Zac ?
Decals my @r$e!

KiwiZac

It truly is a remarkable project. The NZ warbird scene - indeed the worldwide community - owes a lot to John Smith for preserving not just the aircraft but the tons of parts. He was basically our version of Walter Soplata, albeit on a smaller scale. He build his shed specifically for the Mosquito and literally squeezed everything else in. Up until (we think) the early 1980s he would run the port engine on the Mosquito, and designed the shed (he was a carpenter by trade) to be self-supporting despite the massive doors so the Mosquito could be removed.

Here are a couple of videos I made, one a tour of the two hangars and the second of the Mustang area:
https://youtu.be/UfvCccoozl4
https://youtu.be/FQ4adGAhMnI

Quote from: NARSES2 on January 14, 2022, 06:28:37 AM
Why is New Zealand such an apparent hot bed for this type of activity Zac ?
People often ask and I'm not sure. Although we had a privately-operated Mustang (the "Mobil Mustang") in the 1960s, the warbird movement was kickstarted by the retirement and sale of the RNZAF's Harvards in 1977/78. Not wanting to see our history lost overseas (although a few escaped) a bunch of former RNZAF pilots formed syndicates to buy several examples and maintain them in flying trim, founding the New Zealand Warbirds Association in the process. Then in 1984 Tim Wallis imported another P-51D, on-sold that to a Kiwi group to buy Spitfire TB863 and form his Alpine Fighter Collection and start the Warbirds Over Wanaka biennial airshow. That's it in a nutshell I think.

NARSES2

Decals my @r$e!

JayBee

Quote from: NARSES2 on January 14, 2022, 06:28:37 AM

Why is New Zealand such an apparent hot bed for this type of activity Zac ?

I think it has to do something with the Hobbits !  :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
Alle kunst ist umsunst wenn ein engel auf das zundloch brunzt!!

Sic biscuitus disintegratum!

Cats are not real. 
They are just physical manifestations of collisions between enigma & conundrum particles.

Any aircraft can be improved by giving it a SHARKMOUTH!

KiwiZac

And in case you wanted to see work underway on the wing, there was an update from North Dakota overnight (from Brendon's FB post):
QuoteBrent and his team at Odegaard Wings have been busy putting lots of rivets into our wings over the last couple of weeks with the lower wing skins largely finished apart from the lower gear well skins and effort then moving to the last of the upper wing skin riveting. Focus will then move to new outer skins for the gear doors, the stainless section of the "0" station rib between the two wing panels, and repair of the outer wing panels.
NZ2423 Odegaard Wings via Brendon Deere 230122 01 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Odegaard Wings via Brendon Deere 230122 02 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Odegaard Wings via Brendon Deere 230122 03 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
NZ2423 Odegaard Wings via Brendon Deere 230122 04 by Zac Yates, on Flickr

When I visited Brendon said the wings are about two-three months from completion. Don't they look stunning?

Quote from: JayBee on January 15, 2022, 08:05:26 AM
Quote from: NARSES2 on January 14, 2022, 06:28:37 AM
Why is New Zealand such an apparent hot bed for this type of activity Zac ?
I think it has to do something with the Hobbits !  :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
;D ;D

KiwiZac

I took my friend Nick along in early June for a catch-up with Brendon and the Mustang:
DSC_5642 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
DSC_5620 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
DSC_5621 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
DSC_5622 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
DSC_5633 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
DSC_5627 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
DSC_5636 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
DSC_5647 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
DSC_5648 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
DSC_5623 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
DSC_5624 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
DSC_5626 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
DSC_5628 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
DSC_5655 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
DSC_5657 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
DSC_5660 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
DSC_5665 by Zac Yates, on Flickr
DSC_5658 by Zac Yates, on Flickr

As I type this the wings (and propeller and replica guns) are finally on the water after many shipping delays. Exciting times!

NARSES2

Decals my @r$e!

KiwiZac

My pleasure! This beauty deserves to be seen by as many people as possible - the team are doing incredible work.