The Biggin Hill facility at RNZAF Ohakea was designed to house airworthy examples of iconic World War 2 combat aircraft and other military aircraft on static display. The facility has two identical hangars each with a main floor area of 900m2 and attached facilities of 80m2. These facilities include an office, display room and storeroom. The open span design allows for aircraft up to 5m in height and has a clear access door system 26m wide. Display material highlights key aspects of the aircraft histories and the stories of prominent New Zealand airmen from WW2. Hangar 1 (Biggin Hill) is used for operational aircraft and Hangar 2 (Palikulo) currently houses static aircraft.
The name for Hangar 1 comes from the RAF station Biggin Hill, a well known Spitfire base during World War 2 and home of the Biggin Hill Wing. New Zealander Alan Deere commanded the Biggin Hill Wing in mid 1943 under Station Commander “Sailor” Malan when it consisted of one English (611 West Lancashire led by Jack Charles) and one Free French (341 Alsace led by Rene Mouchotte) along with the New Zealand Spitfire Squadron (485 led by Johnny Checketts). Today Biggin Hill is a busy corporate jet airport for London but once again is home to several privately owned Spitfires and a Hurricane.
The name for Hangar 2 comes from the RNZAF operational, servicing and HQ facility located at Palikulo airfield on Espiritu Santo in what is now Vanuatu. Major servicing for all RNZAF aircraft in the Pacific theatre was done at Palikulo and a number of RNZAF Squadrons were based there at different time. The RNZAF also operated Catalinas at nearby Segond Channel.
The aircraft at the Biggin Hill hangars are a mixture of airworthy and static aircraft and intended to serve as a living memorial to all who have served their country in the air. The aircraft are flown for special occasions such as ANZAC Day and also appear at airshows around New Zealand. The aircraft are maintained in an airworthy state (with the exception of the Iroqouis/Aermacchi/Devon) at all times and use the aerodrome facilities at Ohakea under an agreement with the NZDF and the RNZAF.