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Airshow celebrates 75 years of warbirds

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Airshow celebrates 75 years of warbirds

Three-quarters of a century of New Zealand's hugely varied military aviation history will be celebrated in Wanaka next April when the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow hosts the Royal New Zealand Air Force's 75th Anniversary.

A large gathering of key personnel who have served over the decades will gather in Wanaka, along with a unique collection of the aircraft that served them in a wide range of operations.

In low powered early monoplanes, much-admired WW11-era fighters and later in modern jets and transporters, Kiwi pilots and their ground crews have historically played a myriad of defence and humanitarian roles internationally.

"Operations in a range of locations such as Vietnam, the Middle East, Antarctica, Africa, the South Pacific, Eastern Europe and beyond would be recalled at the Easter holiday event, as many of the aircraft involved in those operations flew overhead" Warbirds Over Wanaka event manager, Mandy Deans said.

A specialist military aviation commentator would interpret the flying displays to help visitors gain the most knowledge and enjoyment from the event.

"The RNZAF participation in WOW will be the culminating event in our calendar of events celebrating 75 years of serving New Zealand. It is a great opportunity for the Air Force to celebrate our last 75 years, but also to showcase our emerging capabilities with new and upgraded aircraft" Wing Commander Blaikie said.

"It will be hugely entertaining," Ms Deans said, "but it will also be a great opportunity to learn about our history for our young people. They will experience the might of the aircraft flown by their grandfathers and great-grandfathers in times and in places that are incredibly far removed from the world they now live in."

Airshow organisers hoped as many Kiwi families as possible would attend the show. "We are encouraging as many people as possible to attend, especially families and we will provide plenty of family-friendly facilities and entertainment, as well as a few incentives which will be announced at a later date".

Dozens of aircraft operated by the RNZAF would be flying, including Sioux, Seasprite and Iroquois helicopters, Corsair, Kittyhawk and Mustang fighters and Vampire and Strikemaster jets.

In addition the RNZAF would have a major ground display incorporating recruiting tents, Ms Deans said.

"While we do have a lot of other entertainment planned for the Airshow, the 75th anniversary will create a theme for Warbirds Over Wanaka 2012 and we are very pleased to be part of their celebrations."

As well, other big piston engine aircraft like the Spitfire and others yet to be announced will also be present.

The Wanaka Airshow will be part of a month-long RNZAF celebration that will see a variety of anniversary events take place throughout the country.

The show begins on Friday April 6 and concludes on Sunday, April 8 at Wanaka Airport.

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