Airplanes never did it for me before I visited the Aviation Display Hall of Auckland’s Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) this week. What I found incredible about the aviation display is that it brought history alive with an element of reality found in the stories, often told by listening to recordings of actual pilots. The planes are the real thing, refurbished to the point that most can fly, yet they are displayed so we can see their inner workings as well as their exterior.
There are dioramas built to scale to get perspective, and most importantly, passionate volunteers to share stories and answer questions. There is an area where visitors can look up family members and learn more about how they served New Zealand.
Our tour started at the entrance. Looking up at a fully restored 1938-39 Tiger Moth biplane hanging just beyond the reception counter I was asked by our host Dave, “Do you know the significance of this plane being yellow?”
Dave continued with added details, telling us that the wire controls used for steering are the same method that was developed by the Wright Brothers.
Next we looked at one of the world’s few remaining Lancaster Bombers, a plane famous for “striking hard and fast.” A reliable machine known for achieving it’s target. It is bigger and faster than the comparable US B-17. The Lancaster was flown at night and had a groundbreaking radar system. Like many planes on display here it took 40-50,000 hours to restore.
Seen here are my highlights. There is plenty more to see at MOTAT’s Aviation Display Hall.
- MOTAT is open everyday from 10am – 5pm (excluding Christmas Day).
- The Aviation Display Hall is in a separate location about 2.5 km from the main museum and is located at 190/200-208 Meola Road, Pt Chevalier (The main MOTAT museum is 805 Great North Road, Western Springs.)
- The entry fee includes both museums and the Western Springs tram that travels between the two. More information on the official MOTAT website.
- On Wednesday mornings one can book to meet and chat with one of the veteran pilots or aviation engineers from actual missions.
- The third Sunday of each month is a Live Day with more hands on exhibits, steam train rides and even a horse and carriage at the main MOTAT location.
My favorite thing about writing the Auckland addition of the Choose-A-Way book series (target publish date in Dec or Jan) is that it takes me to places I don’t normally visit. It turns out I have been missing some of the best that Auckland has to offer. Being a separate location, the Aviation Display Hall is the part of MOTAT we often skipped, which is why I needed a special visit just to familiarize myself with it.
Brought alive by our host Dave Kannu, I will now add the MOTAT Aviation Display Hall to any must see list in Auckland. And send a big thank you to Dave for turning me into a true fan of this museum.
Have you been to MOTAT’s Aviation Display Hall? Have I inspired you to visit?
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Disclaimer: I was provided with a complementary tour of the Aviation Display Hall, however; the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.
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