Man­dev­ille Fly-in 2015

New Zealand Classic Car - - Nationwide News - Words and Pho­tos Quin­ton Tay­lor

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 croy­don­air­ 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.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Clas­sic combo Buick cruiser Clas­sic ‘woodie’ all fit­ted out for surf­ing Waihi street scene Judged as the best car at this year’s Beach Hop The lo­cal ‘po­lice’ kept a close eye on pro­ceed­ings Cars line up in Waihi on day one T

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