Aviation museum plans taking off

NEW BUILD: Ashburton Aviation Museum building committee chair Owen Moore is gearing up for the next stage of the museum’s new building project.
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Structural and fire safety plans for the new $2.5 million build at Ashburton Aviation Museum are nearing completion.

Members are seeking to build a new building between two existing display hangars at the Ashburton airfield.

Next steps will include project pricing and fundraising.

Museum building committee chair Owen Moore said the build could cost about $2.5m, but securing fundraising was the hard part. It may be built in stages.

‘‘We currently have around $400,000 raised, but we still have a long way to go,’’ he said.

‘‘We want this to be seen as a community building… it will turn it into a complex instead of being a big empty space between the round hangar and the big hangar. It will be one,’’ he said.

LARGE COMPLEX: Owen Moore in front of the two existing display hangars of the Ashburton Aviation Museum. A new build planned will join the two hangars together.

The community function room planned would be 15×18 square metres.

It would have kitchen and toilet facilities and be available for hire for meetings or large functions.

Large 10m roller doors would also allow additional space to be opened up, if needed.

There would also be a mezzanine floor for members only to house their offices, archives and aviation library.

‘‘It’s probably one of the best aviation libraries in New Zealand,’’ Moore said.

The museum gets on average 6000 visitors a year. It is open every day.

Moore said the new building would give members more display area, and make the complex more user friendly.

Plans were set for approval and would be lodged with the Ashburton District Council early next month.

Moore said it was an exciting project for members and one they looked forward to seeing completed, all going well by the end of 2025.

‘‘We would like to have it started in 2024, and finished in 2025.’’

The aviation museum, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is a registered charity and has about 400 members.

The museum is open to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10am to 3pm, and the rest of the week from 1pm to 3pm.

VAST COLLECTION: The Skyhawk among other former Royal New Zealand Air Force planes at Ashburton Aviation Museum.

Members have workshop days on Wednesdays and Saturdays, which can see on average up to 35 members on site.

They also have a simulator ATR-72 which is available for bookings.

Moore said there will be an area in the new building where members can display many of the small items not currently on display.

He said progress had been slower than anticipated, but there was light at the end of the horizon.

‘‘We can now see our way forward with the structural plans and fire safety plan almost signed off.

‘‘This will allow us to move forward with pricing of the project and then fundraising.’’

Anyone keen to help with the project can contact Moore via email at [email protected]