Big aircraft visiting Classic Flyers

Brendon Deare's operational Grumman Avenger which is making a special trip to Classic Flyers in Mount Maunganui this Saturday. Photos: Classic Flyers

If the weather allows, then this Saturday you can get up close and personal with some big classic aircraft at Classic Flyers.

The Mount Maunganui attraction is hosting a visit from Brendon Deare's operational Grumman Avenger, and the New Zealand Catalina Preservation Society's PBY-5A Catalina flying boat ZH-PBY.

This visiting Avenger (NZ2518)is to help the aviation museum celebrate a milestone achieved by their volunteer crew in restoring the Gisborne Aviation Preservation Society's Grumman Avenger NZ2505 to static-running standard.

NZ2518 will arrive on Saturday morning and will be on display alongside NZ2505 for the day, allowing visitors to get on board for a good look – but you’ll need to book an appointment. One lucky visitor will also be able to sit in Classic Flyers’ Avenger (NZ2505) while it does an engine run.

“Both Aircraft will be available for close up inspection when you can meet and talk to the pilots and also the volunteer crew who restored the GAPS aircraft NZ2505,” says a Classic Flyers spokesperson.

The Avenger will then depart to Gisborne on Sunday morning for a meet and demo at the Gisborne Aircraft Preservation Society (GAPS) hangar for lunch before returning to its base that evening. 

The Catalina arrived earlier this week and has been based at Classic Flyers while operating a number of local flights. It will also be on show this Saturday alongside the Avenger duo, and ‘The big CAT’ will also perform several local Child Cancer Society flights over the course of the day.

And as if the Avengers and Catalina were not enough action for one weekend, Fighter Jets NZ - which is based along the taxiway - will be operating their Aero L39 Albatross jet for scenic and aerobatic flights in the high adrenaline jet fighter during the weekend too.

To register your interest in going in the draw for a flight in NZ2518 and having a close up look inside the aircraft, email Garry or Sandra at

For more information about this Saturday’s event at Classic Flyers,

The New Zealand Catalina Preservation Society's PBY-5A Catalina flying boat ZH-PBY.

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