Peter Jackson's collection of WWI Fighter Aircraft

Pick up a rental car from Wellington Airport, then drive just 1 1/2 hrs NE on SH2 to Masterton.  Here you'll find Hood Aerodrome, the home of the Vintage Aviator - where Peter Jackson has assembled New Zealand's finest and most valuable collection of flying WWI and WWII Fighter Aircraft.

The Vintage Aviator is a New Zealand Civil Aviation approved aircraft restoration and manufacturing company whose primary aim is to build WW1 aircraft, engines and propellers to the same exacting standards they were originally made over 90 years ago. They make both airworthy and static aircraft for museum display and private collections and their engineers look after, and operate, the WW1 aircraft owned by the 1914 -18 Aviation Heritage Trust.

At the Hood Aerodrome, alongside their resoration and manufacturing facility, the Fighter Collection can be viewed inside the showcase Hangar of The OId Stick & Rudder Company.  As if the rotating collection of approximately 12 WWI aircraft of various countries isn’t enough viewing pleasure, The Old Stick & Rudder Company displays its impressive collection of WWII Fighters and Trainer Aircraft. The Collection is open Weekends throughout November to April; 10.00am – 4.00pm and at other times by appointment for groups in excess of 10 people.

Friends of ours visited with a group during the recent pre-49 Street Rod Nationals (Masterton, Feb 2014), and spent a good 3 hours absolutely fascinated.

As of Feb 2014, adult admission is $15.00 with a guided tour, $12.00 without the tour, Children under 10 years $5.00, Infants and toddlers are free.

The Vintage Aviator website reports that on any weekend throughout the summer season, aircraft of both collections can be seen flying.  Flying displays or practice are not guaranteed on any given day and is particularly weather dependant. As such, Collection aircraft seen flying, are not inclusive in the ticket price and considered an added bonus! Guided Tours operate at; 11.00am and 2.00pm, Saturdays and Sundays, November – April and our friends advised that this is well worth it.  Although there are information boards next to each aircraft outlining relevant statistics, the tour gave them so much more information and a real insight into the workings of these incredible planes.  Most have viewing platforms, too, so you can see inside the cockpits and imagine what it must have been like to fly one.

Some of the Vintage Aviators newest Collection features:

  • The British SE5a (Scout Experimental) and the recently test flown and beautifully built Sopwith Triplane.
  • The original and still airworthy WWI Bristol F2.B Fighter, alongside German Fokker Dr.1 Triplanes, Fokker D.IV and Pfalz D.III adversaries.
  • Original 1917 and 1916 Rotary engines power the air show crowd favourite Sopwith F.1 Camel and the little French Nieuport XI respectively.
  • Assisted by one of our many volunteers, visitors may have their photographs taken inside the cockpit of the Curtiss Helldiver, built specifically for and used in the 2005 movie ‘King Kong.’

Breathe deeply, the smell  of castor oil and old leather will transport you back in time...

The Vintage Aviator