April 2014 update...
As always, alot going on at Omaka. It is with great pride we can announce the first flight of Nanchang CJ-6a ZK-MUD on the 16th of April. This has been a 'back of the shed' at JEM Aviation since about 2008 and has slowly come together since then. Last year, as the aircraft was at the 'almost done' stage a decision was taken to focus on the project and finish it. Painting was completed in November 2013 and final assembly in February 2014. Check out the results on the ZK-MUD page under 'Past Projects'.
July 2012 update....
Lots going on at JEM Aviation as always! Since March we attended Warbirds Over Wanaka with the Yak where it performed superbly. Absolutely no problems at all and a big grin on the owners smile. Since then we have done a few minor rectification jobs to correct the odd issue and to date the aircraft has 20 hours on it.
The FW190 has been undergoing a prolonged annual inspection as time allows and is in the process of having its 'Special - Exhibition' Certificate of Airworthiness issued. We are hoping to have her flying again in time for the AHC's open day on 25 August. This should be a great day as I am hoping to have both the Yak and 190 airborne together for the first time.
We are currently working on returning an ex-RNZAF dH-104 Devon to flying condition, changing the P&W R-985 in the Classic Aircraft Sales Stearman, assisting with various projects around the airfield and carrying out the usual annual inspections and so forth. Not to mention having some fun along the way including flying alongside Bill and Robyn Reid's fantastic Avro Anson. Unfortunately the winter has been long and wet and we are all sick of it!
Our major announcement is that work is to begine on 1 August 2012 on the conversion of an ex-Eygption Yak-11 to a fully dual control Yak-9V. This will draw on the experience gained rebuilding the Yak-3. although the two projects are much like comparing apples and oranges!
Love it or hate it, we are now on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jemaviation
From now on our day to day photos, reports and announcements will occur here and the website will be revamped as the flagship portal to our business.
Thanks for your ongoing support, entusiasm and interest!
March 2012 update....
Once again it has been a long time between updates! Since January we have been hard at it getting the Yak-3M ZK-VVS ready to fly and on Monday 26th of March she took to the air for a pretty much flawless test flight with Frank Parker at the controls. Other than a minor oil leak and a similarly minor air leak she flew beautifully with Frank remarking, "don't change a thing"!
This was a huge relief as the installation of the second seat which resulted in the relocation of many items of equipment had meant that we were somewhat unsure of where the resultant Centre of Gravity would end up. The weight and balance checks had shown that we were OK, but of course we could not be entirely sure until she was flown.
Graeme Frew and I flew chase in the Nanchang and were only able to catch glimpses of the Yak as Frank glided by effortlessly - she sure looked just right up there. On the ground the rest of the crew watched on and basked in the marvellous Marlborough sun. Funnily enough, even the unpainted cowlings did not detract from the overall look of the aircraft.
The first test flight was about 45 minutes long and included some upper air handling and a first landing at Woodbourne with it's much longer runways. We had been concerned that the hydraulic brakes would not be up to the job but these concerns proved to be unfounded.
The second flight took place later that day and apart from a small tweak on the aileron trim tab the only other job was to add a couple of litres of oil. Frank completed another hour of flying and was happy enough to form up for Gavin Conroy's camera during this flight.
The race is now on to have the aircraft flying at Wanaka. The remaining part of this week has been spent refining the cowls and getting them painted, plus a couple of other minor rectification jobs. Test flying is scheduled to resume on April Fools Day and this will continue throughout the week. If all goes well and a full C of A can be issued this will be the only debut aircraft at Wanaka this year.
Well done to all the team - from left to right: Dick Veale, Jay McIntyre, Graeme Frew (owner), Chris O'Connor, Marty Nicoll, Daniel Frew and Frank Parker (Test Pilot).
In other news, we have flown the FW190 a number of times since the beginning of the year and it continues to make real progress with the brake performance problem seemingly overcome. We managed to get some awesome photos at the beginning of March and these will be shortly released in the upcoming edition of Classic Wings magazine. Gavin and I had an amazing flight shooting these.... one of those days we won't forget soon!
Plenty of other things going on in the workshop with a two new and exciting projects due to kick-off after Easter... watch these pages and our new Facebook page (coming soon) for more details.
January 2012 update....
It has been sometime since our last update and I can assure you that it has not been for trying! The last few months have been quite hectic and unfortunately website updates continually got pushed back.
Many of you who follow this website and New Zealand aviation will have no doubt seen or heard that we flew the Focke Wulf 190 ZK-RFR again during the week before Christmas. This was the first time the aircraft had flown since Easter and all went reasonably well. Frank Parker completed another 4 hours of flying over 3 days culminating in a very sucessful air to air sortie with Gavin Conroy for which I was privileged to fly the Nanchang camera ship. Although I did not really get to see the '190 I did catch the occasional glimpse and it was pretty awesome I must say. These air to air photos will be released for general viewing once the latest issue of Classic Wings is released in early February.
This period of test flying identified a couple of minor issues, mainly with the radio, exhaust system and wheel brakes, but otherwise she behaved herself and we are hoping to complete some more testing in early February. Please see the Fw190 project page for more details and photos.
The Yak-3, ZK-VVS should appear on the ZK register in lte January with all the certification paperwork completed and submitted. We have CAA pencilled into carry out the certification inspection at the end of February meaning that we will have all of March to complete flight testing in time for Warbirds over Wanaka. Visual progress has been slow as the cowlings and spinner come together. See the Yak project page for more photos and details.
Elsewhere, the team have finished the restoration of the fuselage tubework for Anthony Galbraith's ex Hong Kong Auster - a long and frustrating job for both restorer and owner! Photos of this fuselage (and other previous Auster work) will be shortly posted on a new Auster project page and I am sure you agree it looks great!
Given the amount of Nanchang work we carry out, a Nanchang page will also appear soon. We are currently installing long range bladder tanks in the Omaka Real Flying Club's machine which wll give her 4 hours endurance - more than enough for anyone's bladder! One machine that has been quietly lurking in the JEM Aviation hangar is Grant Murdoch's CJ-6, a machine which he and Richard Gordon spent many years quietly rebuilding. After Grant's move to Christchurch he commissioned us to quietly finish the aircraft. It is now getting closer to completion with only canopies, some minor repairs to the wings, paint and final system checks and rigging to be completed. Look out for photos of this machine in the coming months. It really has been a ground up restoration.
why we keep coming to work... not hard to with these sort of toys!