Rare old bird snared to bring home
Deep in the Amazonian jungle, an ambitious Kiwi airline recovery programme looks set to score a major coup.
Bring Our Birds Home (BOBH), which was formed to recover several rare ex-New Zealand airliners, is on the verge of securing a derelict Douglas DC-8 from Manaus, Brazil.
Paul Brennan, of Wellington, said the group had been in extensive discussions with the plane’s owner, and was about to make an offer on the ex-Air New Zealand and Tasman Empire Airlines Ltd (TEAL) airliner.
‘‘We don’t quite have enough to buy it outright, but we do have enough pledged support to put money down on it.
‘‘The first priority is to own the airplane, because if you don’t own that you don’t own anything,’’ Brennan said.
The organisation is trying to raise $50,000 in four weeks, which will secure the plane and pay for its inspection.
An associate of the organisation has already been to Manaus to see the plane and organise meetings with its owners.
Brennan knew the financial target was ambitious, but said it was within the organisation’s grasp. It had made a strong start, raising $1000 a day over four working days.
‘‘We’re doing bites,’’ he said.
‘‘The money won’t all come from crowdfunding, although that will be a key part of it. If our followers all gave $20 or $30 . . . that would take care of it pretty easily.’’
There will still be hurdles to face if the plane is secured, not least of which is transporting it out of the Amazon, but there are plans in place for every stage of the plane’s journey.
BOBH has been in touch with an American aircraft dismantling company that has extensive the funding in experience taking airliners apart, including a DC-8.
Beyond that, the problem of where to store the planes – which initially, for want of a better option, was set to be the Arizona desert – has also been solved, with Wanaka’s National Transport and Toy Museum agreeing to house them.
‘‘It’s a great location ... there’s no need for the desert now,’’ Brennan said.
The organisation is also looking into securing the other planes on its list, which include a Boeing 737 and Boeing 747, Douglas DC-10 and a Lockheed Electra.
‘‘With the DC-8, if we don’t buy it it’ll be scrapped,’’ he said.
‘‘We really want to rescue these planes. They’re the only ones left, and we want to see them come home.’’
A former Air New Zealand DC-8 which has been found in the Amazon. It will be brought back to New Zealand if sufficient funds can be found.