A World War Two-era aircraft which suffered significant damage after crashing during landing at Wanaka Airport last year is finally back in the sky, after being grounded for 18 months.
The Harvard suffered significant damage when it ground looped while landing at airport on the Monday after the Warbirds over Wanaka International Air Show in 2016.
A ground loop is a violent and uncontrolled horizontal rotation of an aircraft while landing, taking off, or taxiing.
The pilot and his passenger were uninjured, but the undercarriage of the aircraft was badly damaged.
Based at the Ardmore Airport in Auckland, the vintage aircraft is part of the Roaring 40s Harvard aerobatic display team.
Aircraft repair, maintenance and restoration company Twenty Twenty Four Ltd, based at the Wanaka Airport, was given the task of getting the 74-year-old plane airworthy again.
Parts of one wing, the engine and undercarriage all needed to be repaired.
Twenty Twenty Four Ltd director Callum Smith said one or two parts needed for the repair proved hard to find, which caused a delay.
“We were able to source most of the replacement parts relatively easily but there were one of two pieces which proved a bit harder to locate and that’s what has caused the delay in getting the aircraft flying again,”
Mr Smith said.
It has been taken on a test flight by Warbirds over Wanaka pilot and display planner John Lamont.
Shipped to New Zealand in 1943, Harvard 57 was assembled at the Hobsonville air base and served with the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s No 4 Squadron until it was put into storage at Woodbourne Airport, near Blenheim, in 1972.
After release from the RNZAF in 1977 it passed through several owners, some of whom were offshore, before being purchased and restored to flying condition at Ardmore during the early 1990s.
The ownership syndicate included a number of Warbirds Over Wanaka regulars Frank Parker, Keith Skilling, Dave Lumsden and Chris Lee.
It is expected the aircraft will return to Wanaka for next year’s 30th anniversary airshow as part of the New Zealand Warbirds Association Harvard team. Its current owner is Warbirds over Wanaka pilot Liz Needham, who bought the plane in 2010. Otago Daily Times