Friday, May 24, 2013


Today, as the door slid open, our mouths watered.  Vampires!!!!  The secrets of a hanger.

Two 1940s/50s Vampires with kiwis on the roundels, three Yaks, an Albatros and the floats of a Catalina flying boat.

Our host pulled his Yak out the door by hand and took off into the sky, leaving we sketchers.  This included me on the top of a ladder peering into the Vampire cockpit. 

As a boy I still remember the vampires roaring overhead down the length of New Zealand performing their swansong retirement flight from the Air Force.  De Havilland built 4000 of these, 1000 under licence in places like Switzerland and Australia.  They were all dressed up with nowhere to go at the end of WWII.  These two still reach speeds of 800km/hr buzzing the skies.  The body was built of moulded plywood, following the Mosquitos. It has a distinctive twin boom tail.

This Czech Albatros L39 stood beside the Vampires.  A high performance trainer built during the 1970s-90s and capable of 750km/hr.  Also owned by a local enthusiast.  Wonderful to have these at our doorstep.  We'll be back to draw the flying boat.

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