Today many people, interested in the early days of aviation in this country, tend to romanticise yesterday's golden age of flying. Both the veteran and the youthful aviator still dream of pushing a classic vintage aircraft from the hangar, carrying out a pre-flight check, calling the magic word "Contact" before the throaty roar of the engine shatters the early morning silence.

The Croydon Aviation Heritage Trust also recognises this dream and, with your willing support, intends to recreate, with the building of a display hangar and facilities, a living reminder of the golden years of flying in the 1920's and 1930's. This facility will have wonderful old aircraft on display for all to view and a library for research; also the opportunity will be available to savour the era completely by a flight in the aircraft of yesterday. That's right! Most aeroplanes on display will be maintained in an airworthy state and flown regularly.

This era of aviation is too important to lose, hence the formation of the Croydon Aviation Heritage Trust to enable aviation enthusiasts, the lovers of old aircraft, and those just interested, the opportunity to be part of New Zealand's unique aviation heritage.

Just think, you can enjoy the "wind in the wires" experience, with all the nostalgic sounds and smells so unique to early aviation by applying for membership of the Croydon Heritage Club.

Another advantage of membership is the opportunity to view the restoration work being carried out by the dedicated group of men and women of the nearby Croydon Aircraft Company.

A visit here will enable you to see what wonderful skills and loving work goes into every aircraft restored. You may well be to smell dope on fabric, a process not common in the aviation industry today.

We therefore invite you to join the Heritage Club and be associated with other concerned and enthusuastic people, sharing in the development of this exciting new concept to preserve a much neglected part of the New Zealand flying history.

Why Mandeville Airfield?

Mandeville has long played host to biplanes, going right back to the early barnstorming days after World War I. A local identity, John Crombie, learnt to fly in England during the war, and through his guiding on Mount Cook, came to know Rudolph Wigley. When the Timaru-based New Zealand Aero Transport Company took to the skies as a precursor to the present day Mount Cook group, the Crombie property at Mandeville became a popular stopping point for pilots of the Avro 504K's that toured Otago and Southland from 1921 onwards.

The old pre-World War II airfield and hangar, which housed two of John Crombie's aeroplanes, still stands and is in use today. The fact that Mandeville was a 'wet' area and Gore was 'dry' (prohibition) might also have had something to do with the airfield being established adjacent to the old Railway Hotel, now a licensed restaurant.


We believe that the Mandeville site offers the project the ideal surroundings with a large green flying field and good local flying conditions, giving a unique atmosphere of these early flying days. Also Mandeville is well placed on a fast growing tourist route.

The annual subscription to join the Croydon Aviation Heritage Trust is NZ$50.00. If you would like to join, to help us preserve New Zealand's civil aviation history, then please click here. Many thanks.

The Trustees | Letter of Support

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Croydon Aviation Heritage Trust | Croydon Air Services | Bert Pither


Last updated: January 11th, 1999