WONZ 236 – Frank Parker

Guest: NZ Warbirds President Frank Parker

Host: Dave Homewood

Recorded: 25th of April 2021

Released: 11th of May 2021

Duration:  43 minutes 04 seconds

On the 25th of April 1941, the very first North American Harvard to fly in New Zealand, NZ901, took off on its initial test flight following assembly at RNZAF Station Hobsonville. The Harvard would become the main advanced trainer for the Royal New Zealand Air Force from then on, until retirement in 1977. And following retirement several Harvards became warbirds in private hands from 1978, and this continues till the present day.

On Sunday the 25th of April 2021 the momentous first flight in New Zealand of a type that has become a firm favourite on the airshow circuit and holds many memories for generations of Kiwis in both RNZAF and NZ Warbirds service was marked by a special event at Ardmore.

The Wings Over New Zealand Forum and NZ Warbirds Association hosted an event at Ardmore to celebrate the Harvard. This included guest speakers who talked about Harvards, and also about other specialist topics.

In this episode we hear the final talk given at the event, by New Zealand Warbirds President Frank Parker. Frank learned to fly in the RNZAF in the Harvard during the 1970’s. He would later join and lead the New Zealand Warbirds Association’s Roaring Forties Harvard display team. He reminisces about some of his Harvard experiences over the years.

Then Frank turns his attention to the NZ Warbirds’ collection of WWI replica aeroplanes. These aircraft were all in the hangar where the event was held and Frank tells the story of each of them, and gives insights into their characteristics. He also talks a little about some of the WWII warbirds that he also flies, and about the future project to restore Harvard NZ909 back to flight.

Frank Parker

This talk was also videoed by Stu Russell, so you can also watch it here.

Quick Links:

 New Zealand Warbirds Association Website

 New Zealand Warbirds Association Facebook page

NB: The music at the end of this episode is Wild Flower by Joakim Karud

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