One-of-a-kind World War II bomber on show

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 07:21 14/12/2012
Scott Tudor
Emma Allen

War veteran: NMIT aircraft maintenance and engineering graduate Scott Tudor cut his teeth helping to re-condition this World War II Anson Mk1 twin-engined bomber, which they say is the only one in flying condition in the world. It will be on show at the Omaka Aviation Centre tomorrow

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Two classic planes will fly in formation above Blenheim at 9.45am tomorrow.

The planes will remind aviation enthusiasts they have a chance to view a beautifully reconditioned Anson Mk1 twin-engined bomber at the bombers and biplanes fundraiser at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre from 10am to 2pm.

The entertainment will include aerial displays by veteran aircraft, including a World War II Tiger Moth, a Boeing Stearman and a Fleet 16, plus a World War I Sopwith Pup and a Nieuport 11.

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre trustee Graham Orphan said the Anson will be the star of the show.

"Every aviation enthusiast on the planet would be interested in seeing it," he said.

"It hasn't just been restored, it's like a time capsule; every little detail has been fitted out true to the original plane."

The owners of the Anson, Robyn and Bill Reid of Nelson, have spent the past 10 years re-fitting the aircraft, which was one of thousands built during World War II.

The bombers were used as intermediate training planes and offensive coastal patrol during the war.

Mrs Reid said their 10-year mission to return the aircraft to its original condition has taken them on a journey across the world.

"We could have done a quick fix-it job but it's the only Anson left in the world flying, and we wanted to make it authentic."

They spent months digging around in old sheds in Britain to find the vintage pieces including a machinegun turret, bombardier station and radio operator and navigation table.

The cost to complete the project had been "somewhere in the seven figures", she said.

She could not guess how many hours the project had taken, but many people had helped, including former Waimea College student Scott Tudor, who approached the couple to help them, as part of the gateway student programme.

Mr Tudor, 21, has gone on to complete a certificate in aircraft maintenance and engineering through the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology in Woodbourne, and works fulltime for Omaka-based JEM Aviation.

Entry to the event costs $10 for adults and is free for children.

Each ticket goes in the draw to win a joyride in a vintage Stearman biplane.

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- The Marlborough Express

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