De Havilland Mosquito FB.VI TE910 (NZ2336), part of the collection assembled by the late John Smith in New Zealand, fired up its two engines for the first time in 52 years on November 8.
Built by Standard Motors as an FB.VI for the RNZAF, it was delivered in April 1947, before being sold on to John several years later. The aircraft remained in storage for more than 60 years until, along with several other exhibits, it was transferred to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, near Blenheim, for restoration in September 2020.
“We ran the engines one at a time and then did two double engine runs,” reports photographer Gavin Conroy, who has been assisting with the project. “Al Marshall ran the engines, and in the right seat was Chris Checketts, son of the late Johnny Checketts, World War Two Spitfire ace and commander of No.485 (New Zealand) Squadron. Johnny actually flew and landed this very aircraft at RNZAF Woodbourne for the last time, before it was put into storage.”
He added: “It has been an amazing project to have been involved with, and I have been able to put in over 1,400 hours into helping restore this amazing machine.”
With thanks to Gavin Conroy and Rachel Brown