The Hawker Hurricane P3351, previously owned by Wanaka's
Alpine Fighter Collection, takes its first flight, over
Christchurch, in 2000, after eight years' restoration.
Keith Skilling is at the controls. The Hurricane is on its
way to a new owner in France.
Wanaka's World War 2 Hawker Hurricane P3351 fighter plane
has been dismantled and shipped to a new owner in France.
The plane, a feature of the Warbirds Over Wanaka
International Airshow since 2000, was the last airworthy
asset of the Alpine Fighter Collection established by Sir Tim
Alpine Group chief executive Jonathan Wallis this week
confirmed the plane's sale but declined to say who had bought
''It is very sad to see it go. However, it is great the
aircraft will fly again. That is what it was built and
designed to do.''
Mr Wallis would not say how much it sold for.
The Otago Daily Times reported in 2009 the Hurricane was
being offered for sale by auction and was expected to fetch
The Hurricane was built in 1940 and is one of just 11 still
airworthy. It is believed to have been the only one in the
The wreckage of the plane was recovered from Siberia, where
it was believed to have been shot down in 1943. Sir Tim
acquired it in 1993 and had it restored.
Most of the restoration, aside from the engine and wings, was
carried out in an Air New Zealand hangar in Christchurch.
Retired Air New Zealand engineer Mike Davies said while he
did not work on it directly himself, he knew it had been a
''labour of love'' for those engineers who had.
Mr Davies said one of the problems of owning vintage aircraft
was the cost of keeping them airworthy.
Parts were difficult to obtain and were expensive, and
inspections were required at short intervals. He was
personally sad to hear the plane would no longer be seen in
The Hurricane was the major drawcard for the 2000 Warbirds
Over Wanaka airshow which was attended by 110,000 people over
Over the years, the Wanaka-based fighter collection restored
and flew an array of vintage aircraft, including five
Polikarpov fighters, a Mark XVI Spitfire, a P-51D Mustang, a
Kittyhawk, a Russian Yak 3, an American Corsair, and two
The decision to sell the collection followed Sir Tim's
serious Spitfire accident in 1996.
The Hurricane had been on the market for eight years, which
Jonathan Wallis said was a reflection of the group's desire
for the Hurricane to stay in New Zealand.
''Having exhausted all avenues for keeping P3351 in New
Zealand, the aircraft has now been exported,'' he said.