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USAF confirm first aircraft to be on show at Warbirds over Wanaka

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The United States Air Force has confirmed the first of its aircraft for next Easter’s Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow.

The USAF C-17 Globemaster III Demonstration team based in Hawaii will be making their third visit to the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest Warbirds airshow.

Warbirds Over Wanaka General Manager, Ed Taylor, says it’s fantastic news to have such an impressive aircraft back to wow the crowd once more. "The C-17 is one of the world’s most popular military transport aircraft and is big, around twice the size of a C-130 Hercules," says Ed.

Because of its size the C-17 will once again be hosted at Christchurch International Airport. "CIAL are terrific supporters of our event along with the RNZAF who also play a crucial role in supporting visiting aircraft and crews," says Ed.

Ed says being a member of military demonstration teams requires a high level of experience. Veteran pilots who have been instructors, evaluators or aircraft commanders are selected. "In terms of the C-17, displaying at an airshow takes flying these large aircraft to the next level, with precision and speed required to put on a proper demonstration for the public. Although the flying profile is not much different from an operational mission, it is very fast-paced so the pilots need to have additional training to ensure safety and precision flying," says Ed.

The C-17 Globemaster first flew at Wanaka in 2016 and returned for the 30th Anniversary Airshow last Easter along with the F-16 fighter jet demonstration team. Ed says they hope to be able to confirm a number of other military displays over the coming months.

Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow is being held at Wanaka Airport on April 10th, 11th and 12th next year. For more information and tickets go to

The C-17 Globemaster III has a 52m wingspan and is 53m in length. The aircraft weighs more than 128 tonnes, is powered by 4 x Pratt and Whitney PW2000 engines, has a range of just over 10,000kms and a cruising speed of 830kph.

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