Cuffley Industrial Heritage Society

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The Sunderland pictured here was seen on a visit to London in the early 1980's, by which time the plane had already had a long and exciting life. Like other Sunderlands at the end of the War it was placed in storage at Wig Bay, Stranraer, Scotland, bearing its R.A.F serial ML814. in 1953 it was one of sixteen Sunderlands reconditioned for service with the Royal New Zealand Air Force to whom it was handed over in June 1953 and became NZ4108.

In new Zealand service it flew with No.5(M.R.) squadron, being involved in maritime patrol duties, as well as flying supplies to remote islands in the Pacific.

Ten months later the Sunderland emerged as a 43 seat airliner, fitted out to Sandringham standards, although still retaining the hallmarks of a Sunderland. It was now registered VH-BRF and named "Islander". It remained in service with Ansett until 1974 when it was sold to Antilles Air Boats based in the US Virgin Islands.

The airline did intend to overhaul it, however nothing came of that, and in 1979, the now deteriorating Sunderland was acquired by the millionaire Edward Hulton. After being returned to flying condition, and bearing the registration N158J it moved to the UK Virgin Islands, before making a leisurely flight to Europe, eventually arriving at Marignane, Marseille, France on 24 May 1981. Here it underwent further restoration work before it entered the world of display flying.

However the large cost of maintaining a flying boat, made it unable to pay its way, and despite sponsorship it was sold in the 90's to the American collector Kermit Weeks. It now resides in his museum in Florida, the only Sunderland in flying condition.

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