Wānaka: Rare aircraft, big aircraft, jet pack aircraft, floating aircraft, aircraft firing guns, aircraft dropping bombs and aircraft stopping in a matter of metres. These are just some of the acts which have been confirmed for next Easter’s Warbirds Over Wānaka International Airshow ever.
General Manager Ed Taylor says organisers have been overwhelmed with the amazing range of aircraft and displays that will feature in Wānaka in late March this year.
“We start planning for the next airshow the moment the previous one ends. We have a wish list for new acts and returning acts and send out many invitations. We have been blown away by the response” says Ed.
Among the headline acts will be the appearance of the Buchon Me-109 from the UK. The Me-109 was the main WWII fighter aircraft for the Germans going head to head with the Spitfire in the Battle of Britain.
“Having the 109 and Spitfire here to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain will be special for many of our Warbirds fans. They will also be excited to know that Liz Needham’s P40 Kittyhawk will be fitted with machine guns for a live firing run down the airfield, Wānaka is the only airshow where this is performed,” says Ed.
The WWII Avro Anson aircraft will be back with a bomb drop added to the display routine for 2016.
A record four regional airforces will be displaying this Easter. The RNZAF is being joined by crews from the United States, Australian and French airforces. “We are very excited about having secured the US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III demonstration team out of Hawaii. This is a very large transport aircraft which give a very impressive display.
“Two other airforce transport aircraft, the RNZAF Hercules and the French CASA, will also be performing as part of the airshow, while the Australians are planning to bring their Hawk Jets back to thrill the crowd with their fast and noisy display.”
Other large aircraft on display will include a couple of DC-3s and the return of the Catalina Flying Boat which will be making its first New Zealand public display since undergoing a major refurbishment. The Catalina will also be the star of our late Friday afternoon lakefront event.
Returning to Wānaka will be World Aerobatic Champion Jurgis Kairys from Lithuania. Jurgis has been a regular at Wānaka over the years with many visitors coming just to see him perform. This Easter Jurgis will be performing his Air Bandits routine with Auckland pilot Rob Fry.
A special 5-ship Jet formation flying display is being planned involving a pair of Strikemasters and a pair of Vampire jets joined by a newly arrived in New Zealand L29 Viper Jet.
The ever popular gliding displays at Wānaka are returning with the grace and agility of these aircraft enthralling the crowds. It’s hoped that All Black great Ritchie McCaw will be on hand again to take control of one of the gliders. The gliding display is put together by the team at Gliding Omarama.
The New Zealand sport aircraft sector will be celebrated with a Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) competition. This will see pilots compete to see who can use the least runway to bring these special aircraft to a complete stop.
Another first will be the opportunity for visitors to be part of an actual airshow display. A total of ten lucky visitors will get the chance to be part of a tandem skydive demonstration on both days of the airshow.
“Anyone who comes to the airshow can go in the draw to win one of these jumps. They can either enter the draw now by registering online www.skydivewanaka.com or at the Skydive Wanaka marquee at the airshow,” says Ed.