Lat 40°12′22″S Long 175°23′16″E Ohakea Airfield is located 22km west of Palmerston North in the southern center of the North Island. Also known as Base Ohakea or RNZAF Airfield.
Funded by a 1935 expansion of the military air service plan to base thirty Wellington bombers at this location to defend New Zealand.
The airfield was to designed by the Department of Public Works chief design engineer Charles Turner. Due to steel shortages, the two hangers we constructed of concrete instead and completed during 1939 at a cost of about £76,750 each. Ohakea was officially opened during September 1939.
During World War II, Ohakea was Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) main training base for pilots and air crews operating fighters, navigators for medium bombers and aerial gunners.
Royal New Zealand Air Force units based at Ohakea
2 OTU (P-40 Kittyhawk)
Also known as Base Ohakea or RNZAF Ohakea. After World War II, 14 Squadron, 42 Squadron and 75 Squadron were reformed at Ohakea, and the Repair Depot relocated from Hamilton. Ohakea became the RNZAF's strike base basing 14 Squadron and 75 Squadron. 42 Squadron was relocated to Whenuapai Airfield in 1984 to allow the reformation of 2 Squadron at Nowra Airfield in New South Wales (NSW), Australia in 1991.
In 1993 RNZAF flying training previously carried out at Wigram by the Pilot Training Squadron and the RNZAF's Central Flying School was moved to Ohakea. 3 Squadron, which currently operates the Iroquois and Sioux helicopters, moved to Ohakea in January 2002. During 2001, the RNZAF strike force was disbanded.
Ohakea Airport is still used as a military airport by the RNZAF, also used as a diversion landing point for civilian aircraft if Auckland Airport and Christchurch Airport were to be closed.
Ohakea Airport has three runways. The first is oriented 09/27 measuring 8,021' x 148' surfaced with asphalt. The second oriented 09L/27R measuring 1,887' x 89' surfaced with grass. The third oriented 15/33 measuring 6,998' x 148' surfaced with asphalt.
Airport codes: IATA: OHA – ICAO: NZOH.
de Havilland Vampire NZ5772
Displayed as gate guard, removed for restoration and display at the aviation centre
RNZAF - Base Ohakea
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April 7, 2020