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Short Sunderland NZ4112

A dramatic shot of NZ4112 in service (Don Noble photo - supplied by Peter Lewis).

The Short S.25 Sunderland is a maritime patrol flying boat built by Short Brothers & Harland in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Sunderland was based on the pre-war Empire flying boat, and the first aircraft entered service with the RAF in 1938. The RNZAF operated 20 Sunderlands (4x Mk 3, 16x Mk 5) from 1944 until 1967.




NZ4112 in RNZAF service (Don Noble photo, supplied by Peter Lewis).

Sunderland Mk.5 NZ4112 (constructor's number 3858) originally served with the British Royal Air Force with the serial VB881. After World War II the aircraft was placed in storage. In 1952 the New Zealand government ordered 16 Sunderland Mk 5, and VB881 was among those removed from storage and overhauled at the Short Brothers & Harland works in Belfast. She was ferried to RNZAF Hobsonville in 1953, and went on to serve with No. 5 Squadron at Lauthala Bay in Fiji, and later at Hobsonville.

NZ4112 performs a low pass at Oamaru in 1964. (Ron Killick photo, obtained with permission via the Wings Over New Zealand Aviation forum)

NZ4112 at Oamaru in 1964. (Ron Killick photo, obtained with permission via the Wings Over New Zealand Aviation forum)

In 1966 NZ4112 was withdrawn from use and after being stripped of spare parts was used by the Hobsonville Yacht Club as a club house. This arrangement lasted until 1973, when the Yacht Club was ordered to remove the by-now rather weatherbeaten hulk. The aircraft was cut up for scrap, with the cockpit and nose turret offered to the Ferrymead Aeronautical Society for preservation. 

The cockpit and nose turret of NZ4112 after the aircraft had been cut up for scrap. (Richard Cornwall photo, supplied by Peter Lewis).

The cockpit and nose turret were delivered to Christchurch Airport by an RNZAF C130H Hercules, and spent many years in outside storage. The cockpit section is currently undergoing restoration in the Aeronautical Society  workshops. Any donations of money or parts to help complete this project  would be gratefully received. Contact the Society via the contact page if you can help.