Air New Zealand - Boeing 767-200ER
After digging through many boxes, I found this gem which was one of my first models back, in fact I believe it was the second model in my collection, in the early 2000s and has remained part of my collection ever since. It is Air New Zealand's first Boeing 767, ZK-NBA.
The Real Deal
ZK-NBA was ordered brand new by Air New Zealand and had it's first flight on August 14, 1985 from Boeing's Everett plant in Washington State. Air New Zealand officially accepted the aircraft in early September 1985 and the aircraft was delivered via Nadi to Wellington, arriving in Wellington on September 10 ,1985 to commence life with Air New Zealand. ZK-NBA's first revenue service was on September 30, 1985 when it operated from Wellington to Sydney and served with New Zealand's national carrier until November 1996 when the aircraft was leased to TACA Airlines from El Salvador until April 1997.
Three months after returning to Air New Zealand, ZK-NBA was cancelled from the NZ Register and leased to Ansett Australia and became VH-RMC. According Aussieairliners.org the aircraft was very unreliable during it's time in Australia and was withdrawn from service in June 1998 and was eventually sub-leased by Ansett to Swiss World Airways later that month.
VH-RMC departed Australian shores and in July 1998 became HB-IIX for Swiss World Airways and entered service for it's new carrier in early September 1998 after being ferried to Shannon, Ireland for repainting. Unfortunately for Swiss World Airways, the honeymoon was over quickly with the airline entering receivership in December 1998 and the only aircraft in the fleet, HB-IIX, left Geneva to return to Melbourne, Australia.
HB-IIX, now painted all white and devoid of any logos, sat idle at Melbourne Airport from December 1999 until March 1999 when it was flown to Richmond, Australia and was repainted into Air New Zealand colours and returned to New Zealand in April 1999 with it's former registration, ZK-NBA.
ZK-NBA operated it's final service, which was also Air New Zealand's last 767-200 service, on March 6, 2005 from Sydney to Auckland.
ZK-NBA became N326MR and was now registered to GECAS and remained in storage at Auckland Airport until June 13, 2005 when N326MR was ferried via Tahiti to Porto Alegre, Brazil for conversion to a cargo aircraft. This process to around 3 months to complete and on October 29, 2005, N326MR rolled out of the hangar at Porto Alegre as OY-SRN in Star Air (Denmark) colours.
OY-SRN is still in service with Maersk Star Air today and is currently airborne at the time of writing this blog, operating S6-6316 from Cologne, Germany to Paris, France.
The Collectors Item
Dragon Wings first released this model in 2001 and my copy was obtained from Branchline Hobbies in Croydon, Victoria, Australia in late 2001 for around $25. Now, being a 2001 Dragon Wings release, this model is quite primitive with the mould and landing gear but it still, 18 years on, looks the goods.
There is hope that with Aeroclassics now having a very good 767-200 mould that we may get the 767-200 in the two schemes that ZK-NBA during it's time at Air New Zealand.
Now while this isn't one of the rarest models out there, it is one of my favourites and oldest in the collection. There is one on eBay at the moment for $48 Australian dollars, so it's not a price model either and I know that even if Aeroclassics produces a new version, I will still keep the original as it has a special place in my collection.