The Dominion Post
Mystery aviator identity’s revealed
A YouTube mythbuster has helped Sir Peter Jackson track down a mystery airman whose portrait was found inside the wing of a vintage fighter plane.
American presenter Adam Savage put out a plea to viewers of his Tested YouTube series to help find the man pictured in a drawing found during a World War I aircraft restoration.
Jackson, a well-known aviation collector as well as a filmmaker, appeared in an episode telling Savage how his team found the portrait.
It wasn’t long before commenters narrowed the search down to WWI flying ace Edward Corringham ‘‘Mick’’ Mannock.
Savage agreed with his viewers that they had probably found the right guy.
‘‘We think you guys have cracked the code and have sent your comments on to our contact at The Vintage Aviator Limited,’’ Savage posted on his channel’s YouTube page.
Jude Rushmere, the chief executive of Wellington-based firm The Vintage Aviator, said it was a mystery that Jackson had been keen to solve for sometime.
‘‘To get that answer so quickly was definitely a good result.’’
Savage gained international fame as one half of the Mythbusters duo who hosted thepopular TV show of the same name. His YouTube series Tested has 4.4 million subscribers.
Rushmere said bringing The Vintage Aviator’s work to such a big audience can only be good for the organisation’s international exposure. ‘‘It shows exactly what we do in a very good light. We are very pleased to have had Adam come over and work with us.’’
Now that the pilot has been identified, it was likely there would be another Tested video involving Vintage Aviator and its WWI mystery.
The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 aircraft at the centre of the puzzle had been sitting in a barn for 100 years before being bought by Jackson and The Vintage Aviator to restore.
When the restoration team peeled back the fabric on its wings, they discovered the portrait rolled up in the wing’s leading edge.
Mannock, who was awarded the Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order and the Military Cross twice, flew with the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force.
He was a pioneer of fighter plane tactics, and notched-up 61 aerial victories before his death in 1918, which made him the fifth highest scoring pilot of the war.