Mandeville Fly-in 2015
For two days each year, Mandeville Aerodrome near Gore reverberates to the distinctive smooth sound of De Havilland aero engines, clattering steam traction engines, classic motorcycles and cars.
It’s a chance for vintage aircraft and car enthusiasts from around the country to gather and celebrate early transport from an era when flying was just out of its infancy.
One of the main attractions on this site is Colin and Maeva Smith’s Croydon Aircraft Company, specializing in woodenframed and fabric-covered aircraft from around the world, restored in-house.
A recently completed museum — Croydon Aviation Trust — is starting to fill with all sorts of vintage aircraft and memorabilia, and there is also the Croydon Aircraft Company for joyrides, and keeping those great old aircraft flying in New Zealand.
Held in conjunction with Heritage Month in Eastern Southland, this year’s Fly-in date enabled the event to be held at the same time as the RSA commemorations of The Great War. Following Saturday’s RSA Open Day WWI Celebrations, a number of military vehicles travelled out to Mandeville for the Fly-in.
Saturday’s weather was damp, and when Sunday cleared up, aircraft at the airfield were kept busy. Late into the afternoon they were still taking passengers aloft in some of New Zealand’s earliest commercial aircraft, such as the Dominie in former National Airways Corporation colours accompanied by Tiger Moths.
The Southland Jaguar Club attended in numbers too, a regular yearly outing for the club, and it was a great chance for young and old to walk through the factory and see how vintage aircraft are rebuilt.
For those with a hunger for some good food, the nearby Moth Restaurant — in what was formerly the Railway Hotel — was kept busy.
If you are travelling South, it’s a 10-minute detour from Gore for a great treat of nostalgia. It’s well worth a visit, and Colin and Maeva welcome visitors to the factory.
More information at croydonaircraft.com Ready to embark: Tiger Moths (at rear) and a De Havilland Dominie / Rapide in former National Airways Corporation (New Zealand) colours await their passengers in front of the new Croydon Aviation Trust Museum Conversation piece: open the bonnet of any E-type, and a crowd will gather for sure Magnet: part of the RSA Great War re-enactment made its way out from Gore to the Fly-in with their vehicles Purring Gypsy sixes: these graceful De Havilland Dominie short-haul aircraft were a regular sight and distinctive sound in New Zealand skies until the late ’50s David meets the Goliaths: working steam traction engines of all sizes were on hand
Things were looking good for the Nostalgia Fair on the Sunday morning, with big crowds and more stalls than ever selling a bewildering range of crafts, trade goods and memorabilia, until a brief but nasty storm sent people scattering. Those who stayed and got wet were facing sunburn by the time the top car was announced. Decided by popular vote, this was deservedly won by a highly modified 1952 Chevrolet sedan delivery from Australia. The owner had done most of the work himself, and the car made its public debut at the Beach Hop. That wound up another very successful event, despite the weather, and Beach Hop number 16 will be happening at the end of March 2016. It is a must-do event on any car enthusiast’s calendar.