Current Aircraft at Old Mandeville Airfield :
Croydon Aircraft Company was established in 1986 by Colin and Maeva Smith, as a restoration facility for wood and fabric type 1920-30's aeroplanes based on the Old Mandeville Airfield, 10 minutes from Gore. The airfield was first used in 1971 - home to Avro 504K's and early DH Moths. It was part of Maeva's family farm and remains so today. The old original wooden T-hangar still stands on its original site and is still home to a de Havilland Moth. With orders to rebuild two DH Tiger Moth vintage aircraft, Colin - a stud sheep farmer with an engineering background - and one other employee - began to work.
Today there are 11 employees and the Company has a world-wide reputation for its restoration work.
Most of the work carried out is to original specfications and materials, as was used in the 1930's when these type of aircraft were built originally. The company has many of the original de Havilland drawings which is essential if the completed aircraft are to be granted a Certificate of Airworthiness by the NZ Aviation Authority.
The fabric covering used these days in the majority of restoration is Ceconite (an American polyester) fabric, as it is easier to apply, needed only heat and minimum stitching and will last longer when exposed to the UV rays - sunlight. Originally it would have been cotton or Irish linen.
The timber used for the major wooden components is Sitka Spruce from North America. The trees suitable for this work are in the main over 400 years old. They are very slow growing in that environment, therefore the wood is light yet strong and complies with the original specifications. This timber is personally selected for us before cutting, and is only used for musical instruments in Japan, boat masts and aircraft work.
The aircraft in the hanger that are being restored, this work has been commissioned, and is the main revenue for the Company., in addition to wooden component sales world wide.
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Last updated: October 21st 2008