Wigram Aerodrome

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Wigram Aerodrome
WigramAirfieldChristchurch.jpg
Summary
Airport type Public
Operator Wigram Aerodrome Ltd.
Serves Christchurch
Location Wigram
Elevation AMSL 74 ft / 23 m
Coordinates 43°33′04″S 172°33′10″E / 43.55111°S 172.55278°E / -43.55111; 172.55278Coordinates: 43°33′04″S 172°33′10″E / 43.55111°S 172.55278°E / -43.55111; 172.55278
Map
NZWG is located in New Zealand Christchurch
NZWG
NZWG
Location of Wigram Aerodrome
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
03R/21L (Closed) 5,184 1,580 Asphalt
03L/21R (Closed) 3,291 1,003 Grass
13/31 (Closed) 3,445 1,050 Grass
RNZAF Base Wigram
Active 1917–1995
Country  New Zealand
Branch Air Force Ensign of New Zealand.svg Royal New Zealand Air Force
Type Training Base
Motto(s) Latin: In Deo Et In Alis Salus
("Safety is in God and our wings")
Colors Red and Black

Wigram Aerodrome (ICAO: NZWG) is a former Royal New Zealand Air Force base located in the Christchurch suburb of Wigram. It is named after Sir Henry Wigram. Originally home to the RNZAF Central Flying School (CFS), it was closed in 1995 following the CFS' relocation to RNZAF Ohakea two years earlier. The closing parade was held on 14 September 1995.

Wigram Aerodrome maintained its aviation character, with several aviation businesses using its facilities. These included Pionair Private Aircharter, Christchurch Parachute School and Christchurch Flying School. Three Air Training Corps units, and a Cadet Corps unit also presently occupy buildings within the aerodrome.

Christchurch's Air Force Museum of New Zealand is located at the northern side of the aerodrome. It houses a large collection of aircraft and interactive displays, and is the only museum of the RNZAF in New Zealand.

Wigram Airfield Circuit was a temporary motor racing circuit at the Wigram Airfield. The temporary motor racing circuit was 3 km (1.9 mi) long [1] and considered as the oldest motor race circuit in New Zealand since it had been racing in 1949.[2]

Closure[edit]

On 9 July 2008 Television 3 News broadcast a news item (video) stating that Ngai Tahu, the owners of the aerodrome (acquired as part of a treaty settlement claim) are to close Wigram Aerodrome by February 2009. Wigram airfield officially ceased operation as an airfield at 00:00 Sunday 1 March 2009 NZ Local time.

After the Christchurch earthquakes of February 2011 which resulted in much of the Central Business District being off limits due to earthquake damage with office buildings largely damaged, destroyed, or inaccessible, Ngai Tahu moved its offices to the Wigram site using a mix of prefabricated relocatable buildings, and a refurbished Control Tower building to house most of its staff until a permanent long term solution could be found.

Housing development[edit]

In late 2009, Ngai Tahu Property began redeveloping the Wigram aerodrome site as a new housing development. Named Wigram Skies, the development proposes 1600 residential sections, a shopping centre, and an industrial area in the east adjoining the existing industrial area. The aerodrome's old sealed runway forms the development's main street, aptly named The Runway, with other street names having an aviation, flight or sky theme. The historic control tower and hangars remain as they are heritage protected buildings.

References[edit]

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