Replica German glider nearly complete

JOHN BISSET
Last updated 05:00 09/11/2013
ray niles
JOHN BISSET/ Fairfax NZ

LABOUR OF LOVE: Ray Niles of the South Canterbury Aviation Heritage museum prepares to cover the winds of the replica Zogling glider.

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It's been a long time coming but the South Canterbury Aviation Heritage centre's Zogling glider is nearly complete.

Ray Niles and Tim McLeod have spent 15 to 20 hours most weeks over the last few years in a push to get the project finished.

Building on the replica began nearly 16 years ago, and the centre's aviation enthusiasts have built the aircraft with a mixture of spruce and oregon timber along with some birch plywood.

The Zogling was designed and built in Germany after World War I and was used by Luftwaffe pilots for training. They were catapulted into the air with a huge bungee cord - which was often the pilots' first experience of flight.

The original covering on the aircraft wings would have been a mix of silk and glue, but a modern equivalent, ceconite, is being glued on to the framework, before being ironed to heat and tighten the material over the wing ribs.

Club member Hamish Cameron hopes the glider will be airworthy by March next year when the club plans to officially open the museum and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first flight from Timaru to Christchurch.

The pilot, James William Scotland, was the second aviator to gain his pilot's certificate and made the first cross-country flight in New Zealand. That first flight was between Invercargill and Gore; and later the Timaru to Christchurch flight on March 6, 1914.

Although the project is coming to a close, Mr Cameron needs aviation enthusiasts interested in aircraft restoration to volunteer for the next project, which he describes as very exciting but is keeping under wraps at present. Anyone interested can contact him on 021 160 2920.

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- The Timaru Herald

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