Our youngest had been badgering me to take him to MOTAT for ages. It's such a great place for sketching that I caved in easily – not that he had any plans for me to stop and sketch for more than about five minutes. Sketching with kids is more like a speed event where you dash the linework down and if you're lucky splash a bit of colour on the page.
In the end it was a toss-up between sketching the Short Solent and the
Lancaster bomber, both impressive beasts. It's bizarre to look into the
tiny tail turret of the Lancaster and imagine my old colleague Denis
freezing his proverbials off while being shot at over 3 tours of
Europe during the war. Those guys were seriously brave.
I decided on the Solent because I could include the Transavia Airtruck
(on the right), the Australian designed, kiwi built top dresser which is
shaped like a flying flea.
The Short Solent Aranui has an interesting and much more fun
history — run by TEAL (Tasman Empire Airways Limited) it originally flew
between Mechanics Bay, Auckland and Rose Bay, Sydney. We're talking
pre-harbour bridge days here — it would have used a LOT of the harbour
as it's runway!
Once land based planes took over the Sydney route Aranui flew the
'Coral Route' — that's Auckland to Fiji, onward to Samoa, then the Cook
Islands (landing at Aitutaki not Rarotonga), next stop would have been
Tonga and finally Tahiti — about 20 odd hours in total. Now that would
be a superb way to fly to the islands!