With a little imagination, the sky's the limit

Paul Jeffery has some further ideas about the future of Carisbrook.

It was good to read of the ideas of Chris Skellet (ODT 24.11.10) on the future of Carisbrook.

You could easily put more than one thing in the 'Brook.

It could be the house of helis, among other things.

A theme park is lacking in Dunedin, too, and a great idea for part of the space.

And we do not have a museum of transport and technology in this supposedly heritage capital.

How about some wow-factor exhibits, such as New Zealand's first jetliner - a classic DC-8.

One ex Air New Zealand example has miraculously escaped the scrappers and is now 45 years old, having flown a staggering 80 million kilometres. It lives on borrowed time, parked at the back of a Brazilian airport.

This is not just a part of New Zealand aviation history (and aviation, surely, has left a most profound mark in our time-line), but a real part of a revolution for this, the most isolated of nations. The DC-8 shrank the distances between us and the rest of the world.

Before that, most people had to travel to the United States and Europe by ship, which took weeks.

The same goes for the only surviving early ex-NAC Boeing 737 from 1968 that, like the DC-8, lives on borrowed time, and is a super machine that revolutionised domestic air travel.

One plane could be turned into a '60s theme cafe, the other maybe a theatrette (I've seen this done with a 737 cabin in a museum in the United States).

Beyond the planes, there could be other things too, limited only by imagination.

The sight of the DC-8 sitting in Carisbrook, resplendent in its original classy Air New Zealand Five Star livery (Southern Cross in gold on the dark blue tail, a great advocate of the South, surely!) would be a sight to behold.

Visitors seeing the prominent tail from the motorway would be sure to seek the nearest turn-off to backtrack and visit.

These planes are for sale at scrap value, which is not as high as imagined.

Anyway, what price a true icon of our heritage and technological prowess?For helicopters, maybe a restored Bell Iroquois and Bell Sioux (MASH-type), icons of Vietnam and Korean wars respectively.

One chopper could be put in a rotating pylon, electrically driven, and would allow Joe Blogs to sort of "fly" helicopter in complete safety. (They used to have one of these at Queenstown, near the gondola terminal, years ago.)And since they are giving away the mothballed Skyhawks to museums, one of those as well.

But, aside from that, we could have all sorts of local transport, such as an HQ Holden taxi, a trolley-bus, and some of the classic diesel buses we've had over the years, like the ones with slope-forward windows and bodies built locally by Emslie.

It would be fun, creative, educational (school groups), bring many more people into the city, and a much needed catering for other interests about the city.

And last but not least, it would be good for South Dunedin.

Even today, many people have never been on board a jetliner or looked around one: this creates that opportunity.

Let's apply some imagination, think outside the conservative square for a change.

To use a quote by DC-8 designer Donald Douglas: "Dream no small dream, for it lacks magic. Dream large. Then make the dream real."

So, how about Carisbrook becoming "The House of Planes" (and other things).

I'm sure even Richie McCaw, aircraft enthusiast, would approve.

Paul Jeffery is a locomotive crewman and shunter for Taieri Gorge Railway.

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