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Help restore the Solent at MOTAT

  • Solent 70 Years on from her first flight

      3 December 2019

    With its short, bulky body, it's hard to imagine the Short Solent Aranui was once one of the most luxurious tickets in the sky. November 30 marks the 70th anniversary of the Solent flying boat Aranui. It has been undergoing extensive restoration and is now on display at MOTAT..

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  • Solent Update

      14 February 2019

    In the past few months the aviation team has been working to get the Short Solent Mk IV Flying Boat ready for its move into the Aviation Display Hall. We are grateful to the aviation team for all their continued hard work. The exterior painting has nearly been completed, ready for her move into the Aviation Display Hall in March 2019. The Solent will be moved into her proper place, on display alongside her cousin the Sunderland Flying Boat. Once the Solent is inside the Aviation Display Hall we will continue to restore the interior of the flying boat.

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  • Aquamax Hydroblasting will begin soon on the Solent

      28 March 2018

    Have you been to MOTAT 2 recently and seen the legendary Solent flying boat ‘Aranui’ protectively wrapped so further exterior restoration work can be undertaken.

    Aquamax Hydroblasting will begin soon. This is the removal of paint and corrosion from the aircraft to prepare it for painting.

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  • Progress: The Conservation of the Solent

      6 December 2016
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    It’s a pleasure to report that the Solent work programme involving a mix of MOTAT employees, volunteers and contractors is now well underway.

    Early investigations of the cabin seat fixtures uncovered widespread structural corrosion beneath the floorboards which needed to be resolved before the seats could be installed securely. Good progress has been made with ninety percent of the floorboards having been rebuilt, painted and trial seat fittings installed. The under-floor hull structure has been inspected, minor corrosion eradicated and the entire area treated. The removed seats are in the process of being reviewed, repaired/preserved and repainted.

    Work has begun in the Ladies Powder Room of the aircraft with the removal of the vanity, sink, toilet and floorboards for repair and reconditioning. Eradication of corrosion on the bulkhead structure, floor board supports and beams is also underway. On the Flight Deck the team is replacing electrical wiring and bulbs and the hull access door has been removed for corrosion repairs and adjustments. The replacement of the hull sheets is also proceeding smoothly as required.

    We will update you on further progress of this significant conservation project in 2017

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  • Conserving the Aranui - latest news

      9 August 2016

    As the last remaining Short Solent Mk IV Flying Boat in the world, ZK-AMO ‘Aranui’ is one of the most significant objects in the MOTAT collection. Earlier this year MOTAT undertook a detailed survey and assessment of the aircraft’s condition. This was an important step towards conserving the Aranui to ensure its long term survival. The survey enabled us to develop an extensive conservation plan and a work program involving a mix of staff, volunteers and contractors to implement it over the next two to three years.

    The work includes finishing the exterior hull; conservation and cleaning of the flight deck; fitting the lower decks with their seating and tables and finishes and refitting the original fixtures in the upper decks. The exterior of the aircraft will also be repainted at the end of the works program. Once completed, MOTAT will have a fully conserved Solent in the same configuration it sported in 1960 when it retired from servicing the “famous” Coral Route.

    This work is possible due to the generous support of Air New Zealand, Auckland International Airport and the individual donations made through this Give-A-Little campaign and the ‘Dining In The Skies’ fundraising event.

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  • Restoration

      23 March 2016
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    The Solent interior has now been restored thanks to a significant donation from Air New Zealand, who succeeded TEAL and celebrated their 75th Anniversary in 2015

    We are now moving to conserve the cockpit using a donation from Auckland Airport and their ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ charitable campaign

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  • Dining in the Skies - Fundraising Gala Dinner

      23 March 2016
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    Thanks to the incredible generosity of so many, our inaugural Annual Gala, Dining in the Skies, held on December 3rd at MOTAT’s Aviation Display Hall was a success. The money raised will be used to help us with the restoration of the Solent Mark IV Flying Boat ‘Aranui’. We were amazed and delighted by the crowd that turned out—to support MOTAT and this restoration project and the airline themed dinner was enjoyed by all – despite the reputation of airline food!

    Richard Foss shared some interesting details on the history of food and drink in the skies and how dining in the skies has changed since the “Aranui” was retired in 1960.

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