Sold at auction in Perth along with a number of other airframes in need of some love, S/N 1832041 was imported in the late 1990's and has been domiciled at Omaka ever since.
Grant Murdoch proceeded to dismantle the airframe and ultimately ended up with a completely gutted airframe. Unfortunately the storage conditions in Perth had not been kind to '41 and the degree of work required mounted considerably. Additionally, extensive and unnecessary damage had been done to the wing skins sometime in between leaving China and arriving in New Zealand.
Over the next decade and with the capable help of a number of local aircraft engineers keen to help, Grant proceeded to make good progress on all areas of the rebuild. A young family and work commitments meant that progress was not always startling, but as is key to all these projects there was always something happening.
The engine from '41 was given a test run in 2000 when the local Nanchang syndicate was in need of a replacement engine. Grant thought that he would like to know that his engine was in fact serviceable. This proved the case and 50 hours were completed while the Syndicate sourced a replacement.
10 years later the engine was stripped down for replacement of the supercharger bearing and a general birthday.
In 2008 a change of work circumstances for both Grant and his right hand man Richard 'Rag' Gordon meant that progress was halted for a lengthy period and it was after this that JEM Aviation was asked to complete the rebuild.
Most of the hard work had been completed although perhaps inconveniently, the airframe was in the middle of having its badly corroded lower centre-section spar cap replaced. After fitting the newly manufactured item the JEM team were able to commence the reassembly of the airframe. Although there were many finished components and so forth sitting on the shelves there were a myriad of small and seemingly inconsequential jobs to be done.
Progress was slow but steady as the job was always on the basis of 'work on it when you can' and at times there was no time to work on it!
Following partial re-skinning of the wings and reinstallation of the wiring looms, pneumatic system and cockpit components and systems in early 2013 there was no real reason not to get in and get the aircraft finished.
Final finishing and painting commenced in September 2013 and in January 2014 final assembly was completed. Initial engine runs were carried out in February and the paperwork completed for C of A inspection at the end of March. First flight occurred on 16 April 2014 with all systems working as advertised.
Congratulations to Grant and his family on seeing this project through to a successful culmination!Return to Past Projects