View Full Version : NELSON - Nelson Airport

26-01-2012, 03:21
Hello Everyone, as a newbie I thought I would post some images from my (adopted) town and its aviation heritage. These images have been taken over a period of time and show some aviation related monuments and odds and ends around the town. most of these I have come across purely by accident whilst out and about, but all tell their own unique story. The following is not exhaustive of every aspect of aviation in the region, just what I have found to date. All of the images were taken by me except where indicated.

Firstly, sites for landing aeroplanes:

This simple concrete plinth marks the site where the first aeroplane landed in Nelson; on 11 November 1921 an Avro 504K landed on property belonging to the Marsden family. According to local legend, the man of the house demanded the airmen get their contraption off his lawn! Located across the road from the Stoke shopping centre on Main Road Stoke, today the land is used as a sports ground, although the Marsden family home, Isel House still exists a short way from the monument.



Established in 1933, Nelson's first aerodrome was at Saxton Field to the south of Stoke. The first image below looks in the direction of the row of hangars, which sat in line with the farther row of trees. Note the de Havilland badge at the top of the plaque, which acknowledges the use of the D.H.89a Dragon Rapide airliner by Cook Strait Airways from the site. After the airport was moved to its current location at Quarantine Road, a few of the hangars from the Stoke site were relocated there. Saxton Field now houses a large sports complex.



Below is the image originally posted here; a photograph of a photograph inside the Nelson Airport terminal showing the RNZAF base at Quarantine Road, which now serves as Nelson Airport. The two large hangars still exist, the top one, Hangar 1 is currently occupied by Helicopters New Zealand (HNZ) and Hangar 2, the lower one serves as Air New Zealand subsidiary Air Nelson's heavy maintenance hangar. The assault course built for RNZAF personnel at the far right of the picture under the peeling label is still in situ, although it is unused and over grown. The aircraft are Hudsons and Kittyhawks.


Nelson Airport from the air today. Dominating the buildings at the centre of the airport complex is the new Air Nelson maintenance hangar, with Hangar 2 adjoining it. The old Hangar 1 is visible with the red roof to the left of the Air Nelson complex.


Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 W/Nr 1653 suspended from the rafters of the RNZAF's Technical Training School, which occupied Hangar 2. This aircraft was shot down over Kent in November 1940 and arrived in New Zealand in 1942, where it was allocated to the RNZAF Technical Traning School at Rongotai, Wellington. In 1943 the TTS moved to Nelson. The aircraft was eventually scrapped in Christchurch at Wigram after the war had ended as the only example of war bounty to arrive in New Zealand during the war.

RNZAF Official

The same hangar today from a slightly elevated position shows the A frame structure in front of which the Bf 109 was suspended. This hangar is now used for heavy maintenance of regional airliners by Air Nelson Base Maintenance. Note the ATR composite tool board at lower left. Because the building was constructed with its doors facing south, the hangar gets extremely cold in winter time, despite ceiling mounted heaters. Since ground level is so close to sea level, during high tide the hangar doors often get stuck in their rails because the rising waters shift the concrete pad the hangar sits on.


Part Two coming up...

27-01-2012, 12:13
Part Two of Nelson's Aviation Heritage

Aircraft hardware around the town:


One of the main undercarriage legs of Lockheed Hudson NZ2029 sits airside beside the fire station next to Air Nelson's Hangar 2 at the airport. It snagged the net of a fishing boat in 1982 and was subsequently recovered, along with an engine and a propeller, which are held by a local diving club. ADF Serials records the fate of NZ2029:

Hudson Mk.III NZ2029 S/n 3852, previously AE497 from British Purchasing Mission contracts. Shipped to New Zealand on Donerail, BOC Unit 1 Hobsonville on 20 October 1941 and assembled at No.1 Aircraft Depot Hobsonville. To No.2 GR Squadron Nelson. Crashed after hitting sea while low flying [during air gunnery exercise] over Tasman Bay 30 September 1942. The propellers struck the water before the aircraft climbed to about 200 feet and then crashed into the sea. Flying Officer Dean Horrocks, Sergeant Vincent Hill, Sergeant Jack Bryson, Sergeant Victor Chapple, Sergeant Gordon Stevens and AC1 John Davis killed. Warrant Officer J. Colway injured. Written off books at Nelson 16 October 1942. Although ADF Serials records the date in which NZ2029 struck the water as 30 September 1942, Errol Martyn in his excellent book For Your Tomorrow Volume One; Fates 1915 - 1942 records the incident occuring the day before, "...at about 1555 some 5 miles off Motueka".


Of slightly more recent vintage, slowly corroding away at the northern end of the general aviation hangars are these two Jetstreams that formerly flew with failed domestic carrier Origin Pacific.


Also without a roof over its head is former Safe Air (formerly Straits Air Freight Express) Bristol Freighter ZK-CLU Merchant Buccaneer. The aircraft landed at the Whakapuaka sand flats on the Nelson foreshore on 20 November 1986 and was dismantled and taken by road to its current location at the Founders Historic Park on Atawhai Drive. It serves as a walk through museum, with displays inside it detailing the use of the type by Safe Air.

Two very different memorials to RNZAF personnel:

The decorative stone commemmorating Nelson's most famous aviator son, Grp Capt Leonard Trent VC, DFC. This is located on Trent Road opposite the Air Nelson Technical complex on the way to the airport terminal.



A virtually unknown soul lost on a routine training flight on 15 June 1940. Francis M. (Peter) McFarlane's headstone is at Stoke Cemetery on Seaview Road. This from For Your Tomorrow Volume One: Fates 1915 - 1942:

Air to ground live firing exercise; 1 Service Flying Training School (ATS), RNZAF (Wigram) Oxford I NZ279 - stalled during a steep left hand turn while low flying over Akaroa township at 11:30. NZ279 spun into buildings in the main street and burst into flames, causing extensive property damage, in addition to injuring two civilians.

Pilot: A391840 LAC Francis Maurice McFarlane, RNZAF age 24. 182 hrs (115 solo - 38 on Oxford), 2nd Pilot: A391839 LAC John Lindsay McFadyen, RNZAF - age 22.


Finally for tonight, these were taken on New Years Eve this year.



My work environment. All the fun stuff happens after dark!


I hope you've enjoyed this aviation tour of my local city.

28-01-2012, 09:29
Most interesting report, thanks nuuumannn

Another Number
28-01-2012, 11:29
Very interesting report nuummaann, keep the reports coming,! Also, a couple of photos there for the sunset thread!

28-01-2012, 13:14
Thanks guys. There's a sunset thread? My images are not so high quality since I only have a small pocket camera; good for concealing in jacket pocket on the tarmac.

Richard Flagg
28-01-2012, 15:30
Thanks guys. There's a sunset thread?

Sure is:
It is several pages long with some great photos on it.

Thats a very interesting read on Nelson Airport and the other bits around town, really enjoyed it.

18-02-2014, 06:10
Last November, Nelson Airport had its 75th Anniversary and the Southern DC-3, operated by a trust flew in the night before for the event. This was the last time the DC-3 appeared here since ithas been permanently grounded owing to the high cost of operating it. The owners just can't afford to do it any more, so it's being placed in the excellent Ashburton Aviation museum.

http://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i423/nuuumannn/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson001BWs_zps5e41417e.jpg (http://s1093.photobucket.com/user/nuuumannn/media/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson001BWs_zps5e41417e.jpg.html)

http://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i423/nuuumannn/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson002s_zps36fd076a.jpg (http://s1093.photobucket.com/user/nuuumannn/media/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson002s_zps36fd076a.jpg.html)

http://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i423/nuuumannn/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson004s_zpsa9e8d5da.jpg (http://s1093.photobucket.com/user/nuuumannn/media/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson004s_zpsa9e8d5da.jpg.html)

http://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i423/nuuumannn/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson003s_zps603927e2.jpg (http://s1093.photobucket.com/user/nuuumannn/media/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson003s_zps603927e2.jpg.html)

http://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i423/nuuumannn/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson005s_zpsfe4eb793.jpg (http://s1093.photobucket.com/user/nuuumannn/media/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson005s_zpsfe4eb793.jpg.html)

http://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i423/nuuumannn/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson006s_zps04177039.jpg (http://s1093.photobucket.com/user/nuuumannn/media/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson006s_zps04177039.jpg.html)

The big hangar in the background is our line maintenance hangar. If you look closely you can see a Dash Eight in the far corner.

http://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i423/nuuumannn/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson007s_zpse10e99ca.jpg (http://s1093.photobucket.com/user/nuuumannn/media/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson007s_zpse10e99ca.jpg.html)

18-02-2014, 06:11
The hangar behind was built in 1940 and used to house Lockheed Hudsons and Vickers Vildebeests and Vincents. It's the one where the interior shots showing the Bf 109 were taken in the above posts.

http://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i423/nuuumannn/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson008s_zps14ab5b70.jpg (http://s1093.photobucket.com/user/nuuumannn/media/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson008s_zps14ab5b70.jpg.html)

http://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i423/nuuumannn/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson009s_zps1b1bc6aa.jpg (http://s1093.photobucket.com/user/nuuumannn/media/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson009s_zps1b1bc6aa.jpg.html)

http://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i423/nuuumannn/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson012s_zps012d0a80.jpg (http://s1093.photobucket.com/user/nuuumannn/media/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson012s_zps012d0a80.jpg.html)

http://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i423/nuuumannn/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson013s_zps20d5fe9c.jpg (http://s1093.photobucket.com/user/nuuumannn/media/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson013s_zps20d5fe9c.jpg.html)

http://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i423/nuuumannn/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson010s_zps6949acb3.jpg (http://s1093.photobucket.com/user/nuuumannn/media/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson010s_zps6949acb3.jpg.html)

http://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i423/nuuumannn/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson011s_zps6ab21a54.jpg (http://s1093.photobucket.com/user/nuuumannn/media/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson011s_zps6ab21a54.jpg.html)

http://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i423/nuuumannn/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson014BWs_zpsc2f41600.jpg (http://s1093.photobucket.com/user/nuuumannn/media/Nelson%20Aviation%20Heritage/DC-3atNelson014BWs_zpsc2f41600.jpg.html)

Thanks for looking. :)

Richard Flagg
03-03-2014, 13:12
Thanks for the update nuuumannn, really good to see.