One of John Woodley's enduring passions is an interest in aircraft fostered by an eight year period as an engine fitter in the RNZAF ( Royal New Zealand Air Force). During this time he worked on a range of aircraft, specialising in the engine maintenance, recondition and repair. He is interested in the engineering and technological side of aircraft and is not a pilot. During his time with the RNZAF he learned to do ground running of Harvard, Devon, and Vampire aircraft.
He learned magneto timing on the Gipsy Major engine (Tiger Moth) and did major reconditioning strip and build on the Rolls Royce Goblin engine (Vampire), Gipsy Queen (Devon), and minor maintenance work on the Rolls Royce Avon (Canberra bomber), J52 (Skyhawk), and Pratt and Whitney radial engines (Harvard and DC3).
He maintains a great enthusiasm for aircraft today and often attends the Warbirds over Wanaka airshow in New Zealand. He has a fondness for relatively unknown Russian aircraft from the Second World War era specifically the Lavochkin LA-9, Polykarpov biplane, and the Yak 3 Spitfire lookalike. Like many aircraft enthusiasts he is seduced by the sound of the V-12 Rolls Royce Merlin that powers the Spitfire and other WW2 aircraft.
Among slightly more modern aircraft his favourites are the now retired Concord, the Vulcan bomber, the F/A-111 fighter bomber which is a serious favourite, and the RAAF F/A-18 fighter and it is a personal highlight to see the F/A-18 flying display at the World Championship Moto GP event at Philip Island each year.
de Havilland Vampire
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet
North American Harvard