Around 50 veterans and members of RSAs on the North Shore and Warkworth, who were special guests at North Shore Aero Club in Dairy Flat, appeared to relish the opportunity to see vintage aircraft up close.
Details such as the engine types, the rivets and the beautiful condition of the nine planes were a cause for much discussion during the inspection.
The RSA visitors were then flown to Ardmore in private planes owned by club members. At Ardmore they toured the Warbirds Museum and then flew back to the Dairy Flat airport for lunch.
This is the second time that the club has invited veterans for an RSA Day.
Event organiser Anton Ramenskiy says the original numbers of veterans halved because of the Covid-19 outbreak but the aero club was pleased to still be able to put on its event, on Saturday, February 26.
He says many commented that the flight was a highlight, along with being able to see the planes up close and talk with their owners about each aircraft’s unique history and stories.
Among those owners are Gilly and Stan Smith of Stanmore Bay who own and care for several rare aircraft.
Stan uses his skills as an engineer to spend thousands of hours restoring and rebuilding the planes, including making any parts needed. The former TEAL pilot also teaches flying at the aero club – the couple has been members since 1970. Gilly, too, has her pilot’s licence.
Anton says the club will make the RSA Day a regular event – “we want to bring as many veterans here as possible,” he says.