2019 is shaping up to be a successful year for the Bring Our Birds Home (BOBH) campaign. The country’s greatest historic airliner artifact recovery effort, which will have a permanent place in Wanaka, has now secured a deal to save and recover a McDonnell Douglas DC-10, with ties to New Zealand, that is currently derelict in Havana, Cuba.
BOBH team member Steve Wilde travelled to Cuba last year to liaise with Cuban officials about the last remaining Air New Zealand DC-10.
“We have heard from the Cuban Government and we now understand what we need to do for them so they can donate the DC-10 to us; we think it is doable. This means we have the three derelict air frames [Boeing 737, DC-10 and Douglas DC-8] with pending deals.
“We are exploring restoring the DC-10 to operate one flight to NZ as a more cost-effective solution than dismantling it and putting it on a ship. We have been told the Brazilian courts will release the DC-8 for sale to us before the end of January so it’s really starting to get somewhere now,” said Paul Brennan, who leads the BOBH charge.
Brennan, a classic aircraft fan and Radio NZ national broadcaster with experience in aviation film production, started the project more than two years ago to bring five classic jet airliners back to NZ for preservation and display at Wanaka's National Transport & Toy Museum. Each aircraft has a particular importance to the country’s long aviation history and is one of the last remaining examples of the fleets originally delivered to TEAL, NAC and Air New Zealand that operated flight services between 1959 and 1998: a Lockheed Electra, Boeing 747 and 737, DC-10 and DC-8.
Brennan said the Electra and the 747 are still operating but are approaching retirement.
The BOBH Charitable Trust has raised more than $22,500 in Givealittle.com donations to help save all planes. The next phase will include securing final deals of purchase and funding to allow aircraft dismantling, shipping and restoring.
The Electra and 747 could each make their final flight to Christchurch Airport.