A Hawker Tempest aircraft, II MW376, is under restoration in New Zealand by Pioneer Aero for a New Zealand based owner and will make a very exciting addition to the NZ Warbird movement.
This Warbird served with the RAF and then the Indian Air Force and was retired in 1953 and then served as a decoy target at various IAF bases before being sold in 1979 to a UK collector with six other Hawker Tempest’s and passed through a few more owners in the UK before migrating to France in 1996. Some previous work was done on its restoration however Pioneer are going through the airframe in a very meticulous fashion to ensure its integrity. Upon arrival in June 2012 the aircraft was trial assembled however now work has commenced on dismantling the fuselage prior to reassembly and one wing is in the jig and has commenced restoration.
It is anticipated the restoration will take several years to complete. The plan is to have the aircraft powered by an original early series Bristol Centaurus with correct four blade prop. However, consideration is being given to initially flying the machine with an American R2800 engine pending the completion of the Centaurus. The big Bristol engine is notorious for being difficult to source and rebuild so may take longer to get done than the rest of the aircraft.
A Hawker Tempest Warbird in the air again is a tempting prospect and another Kiwi triumph in the making!
© John Parker 2013