Short S25 Sunderland V

One of the 'big three' aircraft in the MOTAT collection, the Sunderland is a huge white flying boat once operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force. Operated like a home away from home, the aircraft is complete with crew bunks, a galley and the ability to service many parts of the engines and airframe while at anchor.

One famous New Zealand incident occured at a public flying display when an aircraft misjudged its height and scrapped the runway.

Donated to the museum when retired in the 1960's the aircraft was towed from its old home base at Hobsonville to the Keith Park Memorial Airfield site via the Waitamata Harbour. It was then dragged up onto hard ground on its beaching gear, and onto its new home. The aircraft was displaying outside along with the Solent and Lancaster and came under increasing critisium in the 1980's for its condition and lack of care. After the current main hanger was completed for the other two large exhibits the Sunderland was towed by tractor around to its current display and restoration location.

This great video was put together and shared by Dave Homeward who runs the Wings Over New Zealand forum.

Sitting outside on display in the humid marine environment has been hard on the airframe, but being a complete aircraft to start with certainly makes restoration a lot easier than for some other examples such as the Avenger or Mosquito. It is understood that the aircraft will be moved onto the out hard stand surface of the Belfast Hanger so that further restoration work can take place. The current medium term plan is to have the aircraft displayed undercover as part of the new avaiation hanger development.

For more pictures of both exterior and interior see Kiwi Aircraft Images:


There are only five complete examples of the Short Sunderland (and civil version Sandringham) flying boats left in the world.
Mk V - RAF Museum, Hendon, UK
Mk V - Imperial War Museum, Cosford, UK
Mk V / Sandringham - Airworthy with Kermit Week's Fantasy of Flight Museum
Sandringham - Southampton Hall of Aviation in the UK

- Sunderland with restoration work underway outside the main hanger (Richard Wesley)
- Wing bomb rack covers under restoration in the Belfast Hanger 2009 (Richard Wesley)


Anonymous said...

There is another Sandringham, F-OBIP, at the Musee de l'Air, Paris.

Richard said...

Thanks, will have to check that one out when I am in Paris this April.