Bristol Freighter returns home after 40 years in New Zealand

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Picture credit Kings Heavy Haulage twitter

A historic Bristol Freighter has returned home to the UK for restoration following 40 years in storage in New Zealand.

The Type 170, known as the Freighter, was built by the Bristol Aerospace Company, was transported by sea from New Zealand to Bristol, before travelling by road on 4 January with the help of Kings Heavy Haulage to the Aerospace Bristol museum in Filton, where it will be stored in the Brabazon Hangar until it is restored.

The aircraft, one of only 11 complete survivors out of the 214 produced, is now the only one in Europe, and had flown to New Zealand in 1954 where it served in the air force until 1977 before being stored at Ardmore Field, near Auckland.

The body was transported on 4 January and the five-tonne wings will complete the same journey overnight on 5 January, taking up two lanes of the M5 as they go.

Avon and Somerset police have warned of delays due to their 33 metre wingspan and are carrying out the operation at night when there will be less traffic.

The aircraft will not be ready for public display until it has been reassembled and restored once funds have been raised for a new hangar.

The Bristol Freighter was produced between 1945 and 1958 and featured clamshell doors allowing cargo including vehicles and large animals to be loaded via its nose.

An enlarged version known as the Superfreighter was designed for Silver City Airways, entering service in 1953.

A passenger version of the Type 170 was also produced and was known as the Wayfarer.