JEM aviation

What's happening at JEM aviation and Omaka aerodrome?

  • Jem Aviation
  • Jem Aviation
  • Jem Aviation
  • Jem Aviation
  • Jem Aviation
  • Jem Aviation
  • Jem Aviation
  • Jem Aviation
  • Jem Aviation
  • Jem Aviation
  • Jem Aviation
  • Jem Aviation
  • Jem Aviation
  • Jem Aviation


The latest news & the
view from Jay's office:

Read More»


Phone 03 578 3063
Mobile: 021 504 048
Fax: 03 578 3067

Drop us a line


Hangars 22B and 23A
Aviation Heritage Centre
Omaka Aerodrome
79 Aerodrome Road
R.D 2. Blenheim 7201

See Map>>


links page

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

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.

October update....

why we keep coming to work... not hard to with these sort of toys!

September / October 2011 updates

Regular visitors and fans of New Zealand aviation will be glad to know that the Focke Wulf 190 is rapidly coming back to life... we intend to have her back in the air by the end of November. With any luck this will mean she can attend some of the many airshows throughout New Zealand in 2012. However,  this will natuarally be dictated by the successful completion of the remainder of the test flying. Make sure you check out the 190's project page for more information.

September was a very busy month, the highlights being the first engine runs of the Yak-3 (see the Yak page for more details)  and the early morning delivery to the  Aviation Heritage Centre  of its ex RNZAF  A-4K Skyhawk, NZ6216.
JEM Aviation is assisting with this aircraft by providing interim storage and upkeep of the airframe until a permanent display position within the AHC can be finalised.
There is considerable work to be done in removing the remnants of the protective latex applied whilst the aicraft were in storage. Unfortunately on this particular airframe it is not budging as easily as the Wigram, Ashburton and MOTAT examples.... she will require some real elbow grease from the AHC's long suffering volunteers over the coming months.

Late September and early October also saw two extremely successful open days held at the Aviation Heritage Centre. These were designed to cater for the large numbers of tourists transiting New Zealand throughout the early part of the Rugby World Cup. Although the weather did not quite play the game, (high winds hampered flying operations during the first weekend and bitterly cold southerlies kept people away the second) both days were worth the effort. A line up of some of the aircraft involved can be seen below during one of the better weather moments!
Interestingly, with the exception of the single seat Yak-3 (visiting from Wanaka for the occasion) nearly all of these aircraft are maintained by JEM Aviation...


Hangar update         August 2011

Since Classic Fighters 2011 the crew at JEM aviation has been hard at work on a variety of interesting projects, not to mention the usual run of the mill annual inspections and routine maintenance. Some of these are new projects and we will endeavour to bring you more information on these over the coming months. Many of you will be wondering about the status of the Yak-3 and the Focke Wulf 190. Rest assured, we have not been resting on our laurels or hiding these beauties away, but good things take time and great things even longer!

The Yak-3 is making good progress but it must be said that we have suffered a couple of unforseen setbacks. These are being remedied as we speak, but we will refrain from putting a date on when she will fly! Check out the Yak-3 project page for a series of photos throughout the gestation of this magnificant aircraft.

The Fw-190 has had its propeller blades repaired in Germany and we are currently awaiting their return. In the meantime we have carried out a vast number of small jobs and improvements that were identified during assembly. Prime amongst these was incorporation of the tailwheel retraction mechanism. Most jobs have been completed and with the exception of the propeller, the largest job remaining is the manufacture and installation of the lower main gear doors. With any luck, test flying will resume well before the end of the year.

The view from Jay's office!         May 2011

Not quite the view from my office this time... During "Classic Fighters" many of you will have visited the Aviation Heritage Centre and seen a small crew fitting the empennage, engine and centre section to the recently arrived Curtiss MF Seagull flying boat. Over the last month Marty has spent some time repairing the numerous holes and tears in the fabric and at the end of May, JEM aviation and a team of volunteers gathered to fit the wings - a not-so-easy task given the large wingspan and height of the top wing from the ground. All went smoothly and since this photo was taken the aircraft has been rigged and looks truely magnificent! 
Photo courtesy of Tim Sullivan.

The view from Jay's office!         April 2011

Immediately following the 2011 'Classic Fighters Airshow' the hangar was the coolest fighter restoration shop. The resident Yak 3 and FW190 was joined by the magnificent P-40C for some minor repairs prior to its ferry flight back to Ardmore. Lurking in the background is Al Marshall's Bristol Hercules engine fresh from its first engine runs in many years.

The view from my office

2011 Classic Fighters Airshow

Story courtesy of the Marlborough Express

Working warbirds

Read story