Author Topic: "Knights of the Sky" - My visit to Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre  (Read 472 times)

Offline Brad Cancian

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Hi all,

I recently spent six weeks in New Zealand, and one of my 'must do' adventures was to visit the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, located in Blenheim in the South Island (only a short drive from Picton, which is where the ferry from the North Island to the South Island docks).

There are WW1 and WW2 exhibitions located in the exhibition, both of which are amazing, but I will focus on the WW1 exhibition, titled "Knights of the Sky". This is (apparently) predominantly the personal collection of Peter Jackson of "Lord of the Rings" fame.

There are only four original aircraft located in the centre; the very rare Caproni (the story of it being smuggled out of Italy is amazing, and it reads like a thriller of a movie), the Curtis Flying Boat, the DH4, and the Thomas Morse Scout. All other aircraft are more modern replicas / creations. I was reliably informed that anything with an oil drip tray under it was still flyable (and apparently they do take them flying!). They also have one of the two original Pfalz D.III replicas from "The Blue Max" movie (which I was way too excited about seeing ;D). What really sets this place apart is the amazing way in which they represent the subjects; often in full size vignettes, which really adds a dynamic and human feel to what otherwise might have been a sterile museum or display.

In any case, i'll let the pictures of the aircraft do the talking:

My favourite of them all:  ;D

I will also say that they have some amazing original WW1 memorabilia within the museum as well, with some rather historically significant items (here is a VERY small sample of what they have):

Fonck's tunic!

Rickenbacker's flying suit!

Goering's original WW2 uniform:

And... an original Richthofen cross from his famous downed triplane, Dr.1 425/17:

Oh, and lots of Eduard 1/48 Fokker DVIIs (modelling link  ;) ):

And lastly, a picture of yours truly, to prove it was me that was actually there! I do have a fellow moderator who can I also prove that I was there ;D

In short, this is an amazing aviation centre, with unique pieces of history. It is certainly well worth a visit if you are travelling through the South Island of New Zealand.

I took LOTS more photos, including of the WW2 exhibition (which was also just as great), so if anyone wants to see anything extra, let me know.


Brad C
« Last Edit: April 19, 2024, 08:02:10 PM by Brad Cancian »

Offline KiwiZac

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Re: "Knights of the Sky" - My visit to Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2024, 10:17:58 AM »
Great photos Brad! I've struggled to shoot in there in the past so I'm so pleased to see you've done it so well. I'm so very glad you enjoyed the experience.

I do have a fellow moderator who can I also prove that I was there ;D
He truly was here, I saw him with my own eyes!  ;D
Zac in NZ