Jump to content

Mustang NZ2423 restoration visit


KiwiZac
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi all,
Yesterday Brendon Deere was kind enough to host me at his Biggin Hill Historic Aircraft Centre, located at RNZAF Base Ohakea and allowed me to see his P-51D project up close (as well as put up with a lot of questions!). 

 

This aircraft, 45-11513/NZ2423 is one of several RNZAF surplus aircraft that were bought and preserved by the late John Smith of Mapua] in the 1950s-60s, among their number being a DH Tiger Moth, two P-40 Kittyhawks (one now being restored to fly), a DH Mosquito FB.VI which has been conserved in running condition, and several literal tons of parts for many other aircraft. This was widely publicised] as a "barn find" following John's death in August 2019 but had been an open secret worldwide among warbird enthusiasts for many years. John was very reclusive and publicity shy but many people were fortunate to be allowed into The Shed to take a look at this truly remarkable collection. Here's a look: 

 

Brendon Deere is well-known in New Zealand for restoring and operating Spitfire Mk.IXc PV270, painted in the markings of his uncle the Battle of Britain pilot Al Deere, as well as an ex-RNZAF Harvard and a Grumman Avenger wearing wartime RNZAF markings. I was very pleased to hear that Brendon had been entrusted with Mustang NZ2423 by the Smith family, not just because I've known him since 2004 but also because Ohakea is less than an hour's drive from my home! The aircraft was also based at Ohakea for almost all its RNZAF service between 1952 and 1957.

 

When I visited work was underway: Pete Burgess was focused on pipes for the recently-installed oil radiator and Joe Deere was working on the windscreen side glazing. Brendon and Pete said that as a restoration project the Mustang is a lot more straightforward than the Spitfire was. John Smith saved as much as he could from the scrappers over the years and as such they've had to source very few parts from outside what came from Mapua - they have multiples of many parts, such as six canopies and eleven undercarriage legs! Besides what you see in the photos below there's also a shipping container with countless spares yet to be inventoried.

 

Brendon said the fuselage is structurally complete and the systems/plumbing work is now underway. The wing, being restored by Odegaard Wings at Kindred, ND, is about 2-3mth from completion and the engine (restored by Vintage V-12s at Tehachapi, CA) was recently run for the first time since 1957. As of her final flight on May 30 1957 airframe and engine total time was 260hr 55min.

 

She's being restored in her original single seat condition - the fuselage fuel tank is fitted, the radio rack is awaiting refurbished sets to be installed, and she will fly in 2023 with bomb racks and rocket rails, painted in Number 2 (Wellington) Territorial Air Force markings. All of the pipework you see in the photos is original, as is the radiator and much of the hardware. It will be one of the most original Mustangs flying anywhere when complete.

 

NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates

 

It's all rather exciting!

 

NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates NZ2423 Ohakea 130122 Zac Yates

 

If you're keen to see more I have all the photos I took (including the other aircraft in the two hangars) on my Flickr account.

Edited by KiwiZac
fixed photo links
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is so awesome !!! Thank you for sharing this restoration update Zac... I really like the paint scheme it's going to wear when it's done... Do you know if it will be painted silver, polished aluminum or the natural metal patina that Mustang restorations are starting to wear... Thanks again, Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, mkd1966 said:

I really like the paint scheme it's going to wear when it's done... Do you know if it will be painted silver, polished aluminum or the natural metal patina that Mustang restorations are starting to wear...

She's going to be painted for maintenance purposes, whether it's High Speed Silver or another colour I'm afraid I can't recall. Regarding the colour scheme, the roundel bars are taken from the regional rugby team uniform! Each of the four TAF squadrons had them, different colours for each squadron.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Zac,

Ooh Thank you for sharing not only the pictures but the background to this Amazing  restoration project.

I wish I was able  to see it being restored  as the Mustang  has to be MY all time Favorite warbird. You are lucky to see it.

 

Please keep us updated with progress and photographs  when you can. those  photos  are awesome!!

 

I bet she will look stunning when completed.

2023 cannot come  too soon!

:thumbsup:

:bow:

 

MARU 5137.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm just happy to share the good word on this remarkable project!

 

And in case you wanted to see work underway on the wing, there was an update from North Dakota overnight (from Brendon's Facebook post):
[quote]Brent and his team at Odegaard Wings have been busy putting lots of rivets into our wings over the last couple of weeks with the lower wing skins largely finished apart from the lower gear well skins and effort then moving to the last of the upper wing skin riveting. Focus will then move to new outer skins for the gear doors, the stainless section of the "0" station rib between the two wing panels, and repair of the outer wing panels.[/quote]

NZ2423 Odegaard Wings via Brendon Deere 230122 01 NZ2423 Odegaard Wings via Brendon Deere 230122 02 NZ2423 Odegaard Wings via Brendon Deere 230122 03 NZ2423 Odegaard Wings via Brendon Deere 230122 04

 

When I visited Brendon said the wings are about two-three months from completion. Don't they look stunning? You can see all the previous update photos on Brendon's Facebook page and my own NZ2423 Flickr album (which also features historic photos of the airframe).

Edited by KiwiZac
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting Zac!

 

I too have been following this restoration since it's arrival at OH. I'm fortunate to be working across the road so I can pop in and see the progress regularly and hoping to get involved with this in some way this year if my day job doesn't get in the way too much! :) 

 

Brendan is an absolute legend!

 

Cheers,

 

Craig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

35 minutes ago, brahman104 said:

hoping to get involved with this in some way this year if my day job doesn't get in the way too much! :) 

I'm sure you're aware there's some precedence for that! Good luck Craig! And I'm very envious - a great place to work, and a cool place nearby to visit!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...