Zac Yates – Contributor/Editor – New Zealand

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Born and raised in New Zealand, aviation has always been part of my life: when I was born my father was crewman for a local agricultural helicopter and he and my mother lived in a small house at Wanganui airport, where I spent the first four years of my life. Looking back I had no choice!

Growing up in the 1990s I was an avid builder of scale model kits and follower of the worldwide warbird scene thanks to magazines, not realizing exactly how much my own country was contributing with the likes of Sir Tim Wallis’ Alpine Fighter Collection and the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow, Peter Jackson’s embryonic collection of Great War airplanes and the increasing quality of fighter rebuilds emerging from restoration shops Avspecs and Pioneer at Auckland’s Ardmore Aerodrome.

A passionate writer in my spare time since childhood, I had work experience at my local newspaper during high school and later trained and qualified as a journalist, but had no interest in the day-to-day of mainstream media and went from job to job trying to find my niche.

Eventually a big change in my personal life gave me the chance to pursue a dream and train as an aircraft maintenance engineer. I live and study in Blenheim, a short drive from the historic all-grass Omaka Aerodrome where I spend my Sundays volunteering on an airworthy restoration of a Curtiss P-40E (coincidentally my favorite type) – so I spend my work week learning the ins and outs of being an A&P and then putting it all into action on a time capsule WWII fighter. I also hope to resume my on-again-off-again journey into becoming a private (and then warbird) pilot as time and funds allow. Thanks to online discussion forums and social media I’ve been able to make connections throughout New Zealand’s heritage aviation scene and what started as enthusiasm to “see all the cool stuff” has turned into a desire to share the cool stuff with those unable to experience it in person through photography and writing.

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