Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Kim Parker

(NZ Warbirds Association)

No pilot prefers flying a desk but knowing Kim Parker is at the controls on the ground is sure to set their minds at ease. We put some questions to Kim, who recently took ‘the stick’ at NZ Warbirds, based in Ardmore.

Why is NZ Warbirds so important?

NZ Warbirds is a large stakeholder in the preservation of historical aircraft. We have a wonderful flying collection, based at Ardmore, which we like to share with the public through our visitors’ centre. Visitors can have a walk through our hangars as well as attend our regular (and popular) airshows and open days. There is cafe onsite.

Why did you ‘take the stick’ at NZ Warbirds as general manager? Has the former GM, Mike Curwood, left big flying boots to fill?

The chair is definitely nicer! As the accounts administrator, I worked closely with the management team (almost like an apprenticeship) and, after four years, I was ready for more challenges and responsibility. Mike left to fly with Qantas – he was a great guy to work with and supported me going into my new role.

Do you fly a plane as well as a desk? Have you ever competed in air races? Can you and do you perform aerobatics?

Yes. My husband (Scott) and I enjoy flying together, we have a Cessna 177 Cardinal – we call it the ‘family wagon’. No to air races. I enjoyed aerobatics when I was younger but not so much these days.

What’s been the most amazing plane you’ve flown and why? Have you flown the Bristol F2B, Fokker DR1, Spitfire or any (or all) of Warbirds’ most notable warbirds?

The most amazing so far would be open-cockpit aircraft, such as the Tiger Moth or the Boeing Stearman. There’s something special about being out in the fresh air. I’ve been up [with others as pilots] in Warbirds’ Beaver, Tiger Moth, Stearman and Harvards, but the fighters are definitely on my wish list.

Where were you born and raised? Have you always lived in our area?

I was born in Auckland and spent my early years in Pakuranga before we moved to Conifer Grove, Papakura. As my mother worked for an aeroclub on the airfield at Ardmore in the ‘70s and ‘80s, my sister and I practically grew up out here.

Are other members of your family involved with Warbirds? Do they share your love of flying?

Scott is an airline pilot with Cathay Pacific Airways, a member of Warbirds and flies when he can. Our two children have both flown solo and enjoy recreational flying too.

What events can we look forward to at NZ Warbirds?

We should be flying on November 11 (Armistice Day). We keep information about our shows up to date on our website: www.nzwarbirds.org.nz.

If you could grow any plant or raise any animal (real or imagined), what would it be and why?

I have a Jack Russell terrier and I would love to have more but that would ensure absolute chaos around my home!

If you could be Prime Minister for a day, what would you do first and why?

I’d make sure that museums (not just our own), and anyone else who preserves our heritage, received all the funding they needed.

If you could invite any three people (living or dead) to dinner, who and why?

I could say I’d invite such great aviators as the Wright brothers, Jean Batten or Amelia Earhart, but I think I’d just prefer the company of friends and family.

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