A fortunate relic from a bygone age, this propeller takes pride of place within the terminal because it is from one of the two De Havilland aircraft that flew the first commercial flights between Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne from 1935.
Commercial flights stopped when World War II started, and the two De Havillands were seconded to Fiji for the war effort. By the war’s end, only one aircraft remained and this fabric-clad plane was set alight, which was common practice at the time. Fortunately, a sentimental serviceman rescued one of the propellers before being consumed by the flames and brought it back to Hawke’s Bay on a returning service flight.
The story goes that the serviceman’s father pedaled to the airport, wrapped the propeller in a blanket, and cycled it home as a wartime souvenir. For many years the propeller was stored at the Hawke’s Bay Aero Club before it was offered to Hawke’s Bay Airport on a permanent loan for the terminal redevelopment.
The Tram Car Terminal
“Flying in the box like dragon was not unlike being in a tram car”
This quote is displayed in the terminal as a nod to the experience of flying within a De Havilland Dragon Mk II in the 1930s. In an amusing coincidence, an old tram car was being used as the passenger terminal and office at the time which can be seen in the background of the poster on the wall and more clearly in the images below.
Skysyx - The Cat On The Wall
Skezyx the cat was well documented as the mascot of East Coast Airways*. He was an inquisitive little guy who clearly loved to fly. He would go up on the occasional test flight in the bumpy De Havilland Dragon aircraft and at least once, he managed to get onto a passenger flight, amusing the customers on board.
*East Coast Airways Limited operated the first commercial services between Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne commencing on the 15th of April, 1935. This was the first multi-engine scheduled air service in New Zealand.