No 737 for museum – yet

Plans to put a Boeing 737-200 passenger jet aircraft on display inside a new Wanaka museum development have been thwarted - for the moment.

The National Transport and Toy Museum, at Wanaka Airport, already has in its collection of 50,000 items a Fokker Friendship and a Russian Mig-21 fighter.

But curator Jason Rhodes has his heart set on adding a 737.

He told the Otago Daily Times this week Air New Zealand had recently taken out of service two 737-200s - a model that first entered service in 1968.

However, his attempt to secure one was not successful.

Mr Rhodes said one was being retained by Air New Zealand for training but would be ''cut up'' and the other would be scrapped by an overseas company.

''They just want the components out of it. The components are worth more than the aircraft.''

Mr Rhodes' hopes now hang on securing one of the 737-300s Air New Zealand is disposing of later this year. He expects most 737s taken out of service would end up being scrapped.

''I'm just trying to see what we can save, because once they're gone, we'll never see them again in this country.

''We've just got to keep trying.''

He said the biggest cost in obtaining a 737 would not be the plane itself but the cost of flying it to Wanaka.

Mr Rhodes wants to house a 737 inside a building extension at the museum due to be constructed later this year.

One of the issues he has is keeping the height of the new building within the limits set by the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

It can be only 9m above ground level - exactly the height of a 737 tail section.

So, Mr Rhodes has dug a large hole to reduce the new building's height above the ground.

He hoped to have building consent by the end of next month and to begin pouring concrete over the winter or spring.



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