Skyhawk quickly into place

One of the finest aircraft to join Tauranga's Classic Flyers Museum is now standing proudly in one piece.

The Skyhawk fighter jet was assembled a day faster than expected after arriving at the museum on Monday evening from the RNZAF's Woodbourne Air Base.

It was trucked up in pieces, with air force engineers reassembling it in two days instead of three.

Classic Flyers chief executive Andrew Gormlie said the McDonnell Douglas A4K Skyhawk was one of the best exhibits the museum was likely to have.

He said the aircraft was still looking a bit scruffy and it would take another week or so to bring it up to display condition.

By the time the official Skyhawk launch took place on June 10, the display around the aircraft would be well on the way to being constructed, including a backdrop mural, cabinets full of gear and some bigger hardware associated with the ground-attack jet.

"It has a whole lot of provenance as well as being a really neat aircraft."

The museum was still a few thousand dollars short of the $34,500 cost to transport the Skyhawk from Blenheim and have it assembled. Mr Gormlie said it was remarkable that they had nearly reached the target, with the fundraising adding hundreds of new members to the museum.

In September the Skyhawk will be joined by an RNZAF Aermacchi jet trainer from Ohakea. "They will make a nice pair in the hangar," he said. John Cousins

- Bay of Plenty Times

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