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Free Admission
Open Daily 9.30am to 4.30pm

Johnny Checketts’ Spitfire Engine


“His first attack was miles out and I thought I would get a shot at him next time around, but we both missed. His third attack was terrific and I saw all his cannon firing, also his spinner and engine cowlings. There was a terrific explosion at my feet and my cockpit filled with flames.”

(Extract from The Road to Biggin Hill by Vincent Orange)

Johnny Checketts’ Spitfire Engine



This piece of aviation history not only tells the remarkable tale of how Kiwi fighter ace Johnny Checketts’ wartime crash site was rediscovered, but also the broader involvement of New Zealand fighter pilots in World War Two.

The Rolls-Royce Merlin engine from the Spitfire which Johnny bailed out of in 1943, was uncovered in France by French aviation enthusiast group ‘Somme Aviation 39-45 ’.

They restored the engine, and it was donated to the Museum by Johnny’s son Chris Checketts on behalf of Pierre Ben, the group’s president.

The engine is displayed in the Aircraft Hall next to the Spitfire. Here you will also find Johnny’s 80 Years in 80 Stories figure, which tells his story.

Open daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm (except Christmas Day)
Entry to the Museum is free, donations are appreciated.

45 Harvard Ave, Wigram, Christchurch | 03 343 9532

We welcome visitors of all abilities