The Ventura was the penultimate aircraft in the family which stretched from the Electra to the Harpoon. In 1940 the RAF ordered a bomber version of the Model 18 Lodestar transport. The result was the Ventura which first flew at the end of July, 1941. A total of 1600 aircraft were built (known as PV-1 Ventura by the Navy and Commonwealth users, and B-34 by the USAAF)
The RNZAF operated 139 aircraft of this type - 82 PV-1 (NZ4501-82, NZ4606-39) and 57 B-34 (NZ4583-4605), although all were known as Venturas. The first aircraft arrived in 1943 as Hudson replacements. Initially there were problems resulting in a high accident rate, and the aircraft were grounded for investigation into flying characteristics and maintenance requirements. Eventually the aircraft were operated by No.s 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, & 9 BR Squadrons and No.1 (B) OTU. The bomber force was being wound down at the end of the war and at that time only three squadrons were operational. After WWII, No.2 SQN continued to operate 12 Venturas from Ohakea until June 1946 when they were withdrawn, ironically to be replaced by Hudsons.
Forty aircraft were lost in action or by accident during the war, with a further three losses before the aircraft was withdrawn from service. The remaining aircraft (74 PV-1 and 22 RB-34) were sold for scrap in 1947. Only one RB-34 (NZ4600) remains in New Zealand - currently in storage at MoTaT. One PV-1 (NZ4522) remains as a wreck on New Britain.
The survivors are:
Last Update:- 19 September, 1998
The aircraft is located in the Belfast hanger mounted on poles. Although at one time this was a display area, the hanger is currently used for storage and maintenance. This makes photography difficult - hence the images tend to be 'part' of the aircraft. However, the tidy condition of the aircraft can be seen.
© 1996-98 Phillip Treweek, all rights reserved