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Skyhawks bound for aviation museums

Hon Dr Wayne Mapp
Minister of Defence
6 April 2011

Skyhawks bound for aviation museums

The long-running saga of the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s 17 mothballed Skyhawks has come to an end, with nine of the jets being earmarked for museums, Defence Minister Wayne Mapp announced today.

“The Government has made every effort to sell the Skyhawk fleet but no acceptable offers have been received. We will therefore offer eight of them to qualifying public museums in New Zealand and one to Australia, for heritage and display purposes,” he said.

“We have decided to secure this piece of our aviation history for future generations of New Zealanders to enjoy. This draws a line under an important era in New Zealand’s military aviation history.

“Homes for four of the aircraft are already determined. Two aircraft (one single-seat and one two-seat) will go to the Air Force Museum of New Zealand at Wigram. Another will go to the Museum of Transport and Technology in Auckland. A fourth will go to the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Arm Museum at Nowra, Australia. This fulfils a longstanding agreement that we would give one of the ex-Australian Skyhawks back to them.

“Five more aircraft will be allocated on long-term loan to other qualifying aviation museums in New Zealand. This will ensure that New Zealanders across the country will be able to see the aircraft. Negotiations are under way with qualifying museums that have expressed interest.

“We are also in negotiations with Safe Air in Blenheim to sell them tooling and equipment that will allow them to continue with commercial contracts for refurbishing J-52 engines for international customers.

“This will ensure that we keep this small but specialised business here in New Zealand,” Dr Mapp said.

“The remaining airframes, engines, spares, ground support equipment, role- specific equipment, and documentation and publications will be sold separately through a request for proposals process. It is quite likely that the remaining aircraft will be reduced to spares. There has already been interest in this prospect, which is more in line with the realities of today’s marketplace.

“The first four aircraft will be prepared for display immediately. All the aircraft and associated equipment, even those bound for museums, are still subject to consents that go back to the time when New Zealand acquired the jets from the United States. We will work to expedite that process.

“For years there were unrealistic expectations about the value of these aircraft. As a result, they have languished at Woodbourne for a decade. Today’s announcement marks an end to uncertainty and is welcome news for aviation enthusiasts throughout New Zealand,” he said.

ENDS

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