Last week I posted on Sir Peter Jackson’s amazing ‘Knights of the Sky’ exhibition at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, near Blenheim in New Zealand.
This is no ordinary museum. Jackson’s team have brought the world of First World War aviation to life with a succession of dioramas – interspersed with traditional museum displays that house diverse artefacts, including the cap Hermann Goering was wearing in 1945 when he was captured by the US 7th Army. It’s relevant. Goering, before turning into a narcissistic, drug-addled, and very fat Nazi, was a First World War fighter ace. His formal dress jacket, along with some of his log-books, are also on display.
One of the more spectacular dioramas portrays an incredible escape by Kiwi pilot Keith Caldwell over the Western Front. His SE5a was damaged by mid-air collision, leaving it uncontrollable. But he found that by standing out of the cockpit he could – just – balance his ‘kite’ enough to keep it flying, enough to bring it down to a crash landing anyway.
The exhibition itself is called ‘Knights of the Sky’ – and with good reason. Final part next week. Yeah, this series of posts is a trilogy. What else could it be?
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2016