A couple of very special aircraft will be major attractions when the Wanganui Aero Club holds its public open day at Wanganui Airport on Saturday, September 19.

The World War II Grumman Avenger owned by Brendon Deere will fly in for the day, along with John Luff's 1956 De Havilland Venom.

The Avenger is based at Mr Deere's hangar at Ohakea air base and he believed it would be the first time an Avenger has landed in Wanganui since an RNZAF model touched down here briefly at least 60 years ago.

He said he was keen to have the plane as part of the open day because he learned to fly with the local aero club.


The Grumman is the largest single-engine aircraft that flew in the war.

Weather permitting, Mr Deere's plane will arrive at 10am and do a handling display for 30 minutes from midday before heading back to Ohakea at 2pm.

It will be flown by RNZAF Squadron Leader Jim Rankin.

This Avenger was built towards the end of the war in 1945 and, after 10 years with the US Navy, was sold as surplus and used for many years as an agricultural spraying aircraft.

"In 1988, it was converted back to its military configuration and operated out of Duxford airfield in the United Kingdom," Mr Deere said.

"It came to New Zealand in 1992 as part of Sir Tim Wallis's Wanaka collection before being sold to an Australian owner in 1999. We brought it back to New Zealand in 2012. It's based at RNZAF Ohakea as part of the Biggin Hill collection and has been returned to a full RNZAF wartime paint scheme."

Aero club spokesman David Walsh said the Venom would put on its aerial display from 10.30-11am.

He said the open day would run from 9am until 2pm and there would be at least eight local planes on display.