1938-1939 was the age of the Government contacts preparing for war. The club member who was just in it for the sport was the forgotten man. The Auckland Aero Club had offered to train in both theory and flying, but this did not happen and when the war started in September 1939 the governemnt and RNZAF took over Mangere and Aero Club building was commandeered until 1945. After the war in May 1945, the Government gave Mangere back and with it a surplus Tiger moth. The Aero Club picked up what was left and started again with some subsidy for pilot training. It was during this time the Aero Club offered free membership to all ex-members. The club then started to receive up to 50 new memberships a day from many young men who had been too young to join the Air Force during the war and from men who had served in the Army and Navy. Some 600 members joined in three months with 100 perspective students. By December 1945 three Tiger Moths out of twelve that had been reconditioned were now ready in Wellington for the Aero Club but could not be delivered until authorization from the government was given. In addition to the three Tiger Moths the Aero Club also applied for permission to re-purchase its two Rearwin and one Beechcraft aircraft which had been bought by the Air Force early in the war along with an application for a further three Tiger Moths.
Limited flying was able to resume from Mangere on the weekend of the 18th January 1946. On the 17th Mr D.A. Greig, a former Air Force Pilot, Flew AIA up from Wellington. The second Moth AIF was ready and on 24th January the club captain Mr W.J. Sexton flew it up from Wellington. It left Wellington in a RNZAF Dakota but faced strong headwinds and only landed in New Plymouth the evening of the 25th. Mr Sexton then completed the trip from New Plymouth to Mangere. The third aircraft AIN was due to be ready the following week and the club hoped to have it online at the weekend.
An article on the 16th March 1946 stated the three of the former aircraft, two Rearwin Sportsters and the Beechcraft along with a 4th Tiger Moth will be returned to the club in the near future. One of the clubs Rearwin was in Wellington with the other at Woodbourne and both would require servicing at Mangere before they could be fit to fly. It was not until the following month the fourth Tiger Moth was flown to Mangere by Mr. K. Geddes, a club member. Mr. Geddes landed at Mangere at 18:15 on the 12th April 1946 in AIK. It was soon seen that four Tiger Moths could not keep up with the clubs members with plenty having to go home at the weekend without having flown.
More news of the clubs aircraft was in the NZ Herald on 2nd May 1946. It said that the Beechcraft which was badly damaged by the RNZAF was being overhauled at the De Havilland factory in Wellington and would be test flown this coming week before it was returned to Mangere. The first of the clubs two Rearwin’s arrived in Mangere on the 26th April and will be followed by the other in a few days time. The club also purchased two De Havilland Moth Minors which are to be flown up shortly also. Normally the Moth Minor is an open cockpit but one aircraft AJX will be closed with canopy tops. Two further Tiger Moths, the last of the clubs allocation, arrived at Mangere but have not been their granted certificate of airworthiness.
The Clubs Beechcraft was returned on the 27th May and was immediately able to be used as a passenger and ambulance aircraft. The Beechcraft was used a great deal fro ambulance flights even having to make a trip down to Dunedin. In some cases, a Rearwin was adopted when the Beechcraft was busy.
The first of the clubs Moth Minors arrived from Wellington on 3rd August 1946. This brought the clubs fleet up to 11 aircraft. The clubs membership also grew to 975 from 737 for the year and the flying hours greatly increased for the year.
The next aircraft to arrive to the club was a Whitney Straight in April 1947. The club eventually had two online ALE and AXN.
Two months later on 22nd July 1947 the club ordered a Fox Moth from Canada. It was expected to arrive at Mangere the middle of August. It only arrived at the end of October and flew two days after delivery.
The Fox Moth was registered AQB and had a slightly higher powerful engine that the Tiger Moth. It carried three passengers along with the pilot and had a cruising speed of 103mph. It was during this time the club were busy with competitions.
One air pageant in Hamilton by the Waikato aero club saw all aircraft flying down. A few weeks later, it was Waikato’s turn to head to the Aero Club for some local competitions.
By December 1947 the Aero Club had a fleet of 13 light aircraft, 6 Tiger Moths, 4 of which were AIA, AIF, AIN, AIK 2 Moth Minors 2 Rearwins , 1 Whitney Straight a Beechcraft and a Fox Moth AQB. All the aircraft were finished in the distinctive dark red except for the Fox Moth, which still had the original factory colors but was expected to be re-painted shortly. The clubs membership was up by 1000 in the last year and a half. The Committee thought those who flew Corsairs, Lancaster’s and Ventures in the war would not like to step back to fly light aircraft but they were proven wrong with a number of ex RNZAF pilots joining which considerably brought up the membership along with the clubs flying hours.
At the end of 1947 Harry Newton flew his Ercoupe from Belgium to New Zealand. The trip took 3 weeks and the Ercoupe was one of the smallest type of aircraft to cross the Tasman. The club bought this plane in 1948 when it was registered AQX.
For the next year the club did not order any new aircraft and at the end of 1949 the club consisted of a fleet of 6 Tiger Moths, 4 of which were AIA, AIF, AIN, AIK, one Moth Minor, 2 Rearwins , 1 Whitney Straight, one Beechcraft, one Fox Moth AQB and one Ercoupe AQX.