Thursday, 12 December 2019

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Good progress towards a permanent aviation programme at MBAS

Good progress towards a permanent aviation programme at MBAS

The restoration of ZK-ECL, the Taylor Coot amphibian plane donated to the Mercury Bay Student Aviation Trust, a new trust established between Mercury Bay Area School and the Mercury Bay Aero Club, is going well. It’s the second aviation project students from MBAS are involved in. The first was the building of a new VANS RV12 aeroplane, which was completed last year.

"We have eight students involved in the restoration of the Coot," said Jim Evans, the driving force behind the aviation activities at MBAS and one of six members of the Mercury Bay community who act as mentors in the Coot restoration. "Two of the students have been involved in the building of the RV12. They both told me they would like to pursue a career in the aviation industry.

"The Coot itself isn’t in too bad a shape. We’ve stripped out the fuselage and are busy repairing damaged bits and pieces. We’ve also identified places where we can strengthen the plane and are busy manufacturing the components we need to achieve that.

"We haven’t looked at the engine or the instruments yet, but suspect a really good clean-up will go a long way in getting it all working again. I hope that we’ll have the plane back in the air by the middle of next year."

The restoration is overseen by Karlos Bosson, a teacher at MBAS. Karlos was also the teacher responsible for the building of the RV12.

According to Jim, the plan is for the trust to apply for some grant funding and also to sell the Coot once it’s restored and to use the money to either purchase another RV12 MBAS students can build or subsidise MBAS students who would like to learn to fly.

Good news in this regard is that the RV12 the school built last year has now been leased by the Mercury Bay Aero Club and will be made available for flying lessons and general flying by members of the club.

"I’m really glad the RV12 is going to stay in Mercury Bay," said Jim. "All the students who are now working on the Coot have already had a bit of training in the RV12 and there are certainly a few pilots among them.

"Our aim is to get the trust to such a point where an aviation programme can permanently become part of what MBAS can offer its students. I’m pretty sure we’re going to be able to achieve that."

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