Vintage Motorcycles descend upon Omaka!
18 Feb 2019
It's been a summer of record-like numbers attending the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre every day over the last couple of months but today was an exception as vintage motorcycle owners and enthusiasts from all over New Zealand converged on the AHC for a public display and gymkhana right alongside the museum. In fact an area of airfield taxiway was set aside for those interested to display motorcycles all ages around a course of cones (and a DC-3!), all carefully cordoned off from aircraft movements of course.
Close to 200 motorcycles participated with all of the famous names like Norton, Indian, Harley Davidson, Ariel, Triumph and Henderson represented. It has been a day of great excitement and enthusiasm for this gathering of a century's worth of two-wheeled masterpieces!
During the course of the day there was plenty of flying going on as well but a special bonus for guests was the display by Graeme Frew of his resident Yakovlev Yak-3 Russian WW-II fighter, and also another aerobatic display by Noel Kruse in his awesome Pitts S-2S aerobatic biplane 'Pig'! (That may sound an unkind name for such an attractive little aircraft but it has an unusually large and capable engine so compared with most Pitts biplanes, Noel's example has, "More grunt......hence 'Pig'!") Both display flights gave visitors a taste of what is in store for them here over the Easter weekend this year when the Yealands Classic Fighters Airshow launches!
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre looks to the next stage in its expansion. Provincial Growth Fund awards grant for Feasibility Study
18 Dec 2018
The New Zealand Aviation Museum Trust (NZAMT) is delighted the Provincial Growth Fund is investing $60,000 in a Feasibility Study exploring the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre (Omaka AHC), in Marlborough.
A northern gallery is planned, where the stories of aviation between the wars will literally and chronologically link the existing exhibitions, while a further enhancement to the WW2 space will enable a richer coverage of aviation during that crucible of world conflict. To better service the growing number of visitors, a double story reception building will be built, containing a restaurant, flexible function space, theatrette, retail, archive and administrative rooms.
The Omaka AHC has a has a twelve-year history of successful operation and is Marlborough’s single most visited attraction, rated #1 on TripAdvisor.
Jane Orphan, Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre Director said “From day one, we always intended to cover a broad spectrum of aviation history, so in 2013 the Trust commissioned a Masterplan to guide Omaka’s future expansion through progressive stages. We achieved the first of these additions in 2016, with the opening of Dangerous Skies, covering some of the captivating stories from the Second World War. With the help of the Provincial Growth Fund, we have an opportunity to work towards completing the remaining major gaps in that Masterplan. “
Omaka AHC has been the catalyst for a surge in aviation activity based around Omaka Airfield. Alongside the museum, NZAMT has created an Airpark to encourage heritage aircraft ownership, restoration and flying activity. It’s biennial Classic Fighters Airshow has both helped to fund the museum and act as a magnet for aviation enthusiasts worldwide.
Jane Orphan said “NZAMT wishes to express its thanks to the Provincial Growth Fund and looks forward to working towards greater growth in the visitor economy and the aviation industry.”
Photo: Omaka AHC concept design image (larger resolution available on request)
Credit: Jerram Tocker Barron Architects
AMELIA EARHART'S PACKARD ON DISPLAY AT OMAKA
27 Nov 2018
We're delighted to be hosting a truly unique motor vehicle presently here in the "Dangerous Skies' hall. Thanks to the generous and enthusiastic support of owners Ross and Robyn Marshall of Queensland's Gold Coast, the museum has been able to display the last motor car owned by Amelia Earhart.
The car, a 1935 Packard Super 8, was built specifically for the pioneering aviatrix by the Packard Motor Corporation and this included custom ergonomics to accommodate her small frame. If you look closely at the 'overriders', those vertically oriented pieces that sit on either side of the bumper bars, you'll see that they carry the letters 'A' and 'E' as an additional touch created by the people at Packard. Sadly the last time Amelia Earhart was in this car was when she drove it to Oakland Airport and put in in the hangar to await her return from her 1937 around the world flight, a flight from which she famously and tragically did not return.
The Packard changed hands several times but ended up spending decades as a restoration project with a retired judge in Tennessee. He never completed the car and Ross acquired it as a project which he commenced work on in the USA before returning to Queensland where the car was completed last year. It was not long completed before it was shipped to New Zealand in time for the 2018 Art Deco Festival in Napier and has been in the country ever since, so New Zealanders are very fortunate to have had numerous opportunities to view a car which has not really been seen anywhere in the world for the last 40 or so years.
This photo was taken when the house lights were on, rather than the usual exhibition lights, and is pictured with Noel Kruse's exquisite Ryan STM - two stunning examples of American mid-'30s art-deco styling!