Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Things are not always as they seem at MOTAT

Alan loves museums. He loves the stories behind the objects. Which sometimes can have a few surprises in them. Last week we had a meeting at the Aviation display hall at MOTAT Auckland. On leaving the meeting Alan spotted a Lockheed 10-A Electra plane. This plane brought back memories of the shiny silver version that hung up at the Science Museum in London were Emily and Alan used to work.

These planes were developed in America in the mid 1930. They were were the first small planes made using the stretched steel  process compared to wood frame and canvas. They were also made to see if there was a need for regular scheduled flight across America. In two years of them begin in service not only was there a need for more planes, but as a need for bigger planes than these 10 seater planes.

This one at MOTAT ZK-BUT, made in 1939, came to New Zealand to serve as part of the Trans Island Airway fleet in 1958.  But in 1959 the plane was grounded and did not fly again till 1965 as a training craft. It was in 1968 that MOTAT received this plane.

But as the title says things are not what they seem. This plane is actually painted to look like another plane - the ZK-AFD of Union Airways. ZK-AFD last flew in 1950 and was sold off for parts. Somehow the fuselage of made its way to MOTAT in 1961 and is currently being prepared to go on display as a cross section.

Science in a Van do encourage you to visit the great museums around you and learn the stories behind these great objects and New Zealand's rich history.


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