Bris­tol Freighter sold to the UK

Papakura Courier - - FRONT PAGE - NIGEL MOFFIET

One of the last Bris­tol 170 Freighters, with a spe­cial place in New Zealand avi­a­tion his­tory, is reach­ing its fi­nal rest­ing place.

The plane, which sits at Ard­more Air­port, has been sold to United King­dom in­dus­trial her­itage mu­seum Aero­space Bris­tol.

It is one of only 11 com­plete ex­am­ples that re­main through­out the world and will be put on pub­lic dis­play there.

The freighter is no longer air­wor­thy and is be­ing stripped down to its fuse­lage. It will be shipped on a roll-on-roll-off Wal­le­nius Wil­helm­sen ves­sel.

The jour­ney will take around 80 days from Auck­land to Portsmouth, Eng­land. From there, it will be trucked to Bris­tol.

The wings, en­gines and pro­pel­lers have been re­moved for stor­age to meet UK road load-size lim­i­ta­tions.

Dwen Air­mo­tive man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Mark Dwen, the plane’s for­mer owner, says it’s been a ‘‘huge lo­gis­ti­cal chal­lenge’’.

His fa­ther Ron bought the freighter, along with seven oth­ers, from the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) in 1978 after the planes were put out of com­mis­sion.

They were flown from the air force base at When­u­a­pai to Ard­more Air­port where Ron’s busi­ness was based, sup­ply­ing avi­a­tion spare parts and en­gines around the world.

Over the years, some of the freighters went to Canada and were used in the Arc­tic Cir­cle for gold min­ing and oil ex­plo­ration op­er­a­tions. Some went to the UK for trans­port­ing thor­ough­breds around Europe. Other freighters were used to trans­port bloodstock around New Zealand.

The last re­main­ing freighter now needs a new home as Dwen Air­mo­tive’s lease at Ard­more is up.

‘‘The freighter was one of the last items to be sold. This is not ev­ery­one’s idea of a nice plane.

‘‘It is a func­tional freight air- craft which, frankly, does not have much sex ap­peal, un­like say a Spit­fire or even the DC3.

‘‘We had sev­eral of­fers to take it away and a few of­fers to buy it, but none of these met our re­quire­ments of find­ing a dig­ni­fied end to this piece of New Zealand avi­a­tion his­tory.’’

Go­ing on dis­play in a her­itage mu­seum was an ap­pro­pri­ate choice, Dwen says.

A Bris­tol Freighter is used for un­load­ing cars and pas­sen­gers from France, Chan­nel Air Ferry at Lympne, Kent, Jan 1954.

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