A motorbike of the sky has returned to Mandeville, where it was given a new lease of life about 25 years ago.
The 1940 Tiger Moth aeroplane was restored by the Croydon Aircraft Company, which is based at the Mandeville airfield.
It was sold to American Ted Millar, of Oregon, who saw the aircraft when he was travelling throughout New Zealand with his friends Alan Coubray, of Whitianga, and Martin Farrand, of Kaipara Flats.
Mr Millar kept the aircraft for 22 years and then sold it to Mr Coubray and Mr Farrand.
Last week, the Tiger Moth, piloted by Mr Coubray, was one of about 10 that stopped over at the Mandeville airfield.
The planes were heading to the Tiger Moth Club’s annual meeting in Balclutha at the weekend and were stopping at airfields on the way.
The group was then planning on flying to the Gore airport to overnight there but the windy conditions made taking off difficult.
When he and Mr Farrand heard the aircraft was for sale they decided to buy it, Mr Coubray said.
‘‘We had too many red wines that night.
‘‘We negotiated a deal and next thing we owned a Tiger Moth.’’
Tiger Moths were used during World War 2 as a training plane.
It was a ‘‘fun aeroplane’’, Mr Coubray said.
The aeroplane had no enclosed cockpit so the pilot and passenger were flying in the open air, he said.
‘‘The motorbike of the sky.’’
If the conditions were right the plane would travel at 150kmh and a tank of fuel would last about three hours.
Aircraft company director Colin Smith said the company had been involved with restoring aircraft since 1984.
It was a ‘‘special’’ experience being able to see the Tiger Moth again.
‘‘It’s nice to see it back on the home turf again.
‘‘It looks the exactly same as when it left here.’’