The new Warbirds and Wheels visitor attraction announced this week that it will permanently showcase an Air Force Skyhawk fighter jet when opening late this year.
The Minister of Defence, Wayne Mapp, confirmed last week that a Royal NZ Airforce Skyhawk aircraft would be retired to the Warbirds over Wanaka Community Trust. Eight Skyhawks will be displayed in NZ museums, and all other remaining are on the market.
"These are aircraft with a proud service record", Dr Mapp said. "Now they are a central part of our aviation history".
The Chairman of Warbirds over Wanaka Community Trust, Murray Cleverley, says that after months of negotiations they are delighted.
"This is fantastic news for Wanaka and our new Warbirds and Wheels visitor attraction currently under construction".
"It will be a significant draw card for visitors to our region and enhance Wanaka's reputation as one of the country's aviation focal points", says Mr Cleverley. "It will also provide plenty of enjoyment and education for future generations".
The Skyhawk will be displayed at Warbirds & Wheels alongside more of NZ's finest Warbird aircraft. The tourist attraction will also exhibit a world class selection of privately owned classic cars, exhibition on local icon Sir Tim Wallis, a visual arts gallery, retail shop & cafe. The attraction aims to offer a more interactive and family friendly experience.
Approval is needed from the US Department of State before the Skyhawk can be moved to Wanaka from Woodbourne Air Force base.
Located at the Wanaka Airport, the Warbirds and Wheels attraction replaces the NZ Fighter Pilots Museum and is scheduled to open in November 2011.
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