Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Warbirds- Part 2

This is one very brave man; Jurgis Kairys, a Lithuania national is one of the most experienced aerobatic pilots in the world. Jurgis is an aeronautical engineer and he helped develop the Sukhoi aerobatic aircraft, one of which he borrowed to fly for the airshow. The commentators told the story many times about Jurgis. He speaks a little English and when he was telling his hosts about himself he said "I am sixty years but very powerful"- they said it with a forced accent which made it sound all the more funny.

After completing an amazing range of death-defying extreme aerobatics Jurgis took it one stage further, here he is flying his plane along underneath the DC3 (Douglas C-47 Dakota- DC3) & then he did tail loops around the DC3. This photo reminds me of those sucker fish that attach themselves under sharks & whales.

Grumman Avenger- one of the largest single engine fighters of its time. Used by the RNZAF in the Pacific campaigns of WWII. Once the plane had finished it's air display the pilot showed the crowd how the wings fold.

Corsair FG-1D- The Corsair is nearly my most favourite plane, I fell in love with it at the Tauranga Air Show a few years ago. I love the wing shape, how it dips down near the plane body. And although rather quiet I love the deep throaty grumble of the 2000hp Pratt & Whitney radial engine (I looked that up :) The Corsair was nicknamed "Whistling Death" by the Japanese because of it's stealthy approach. And not to be outdone by the Avenger, pilot (Keith Skilling) also demonstrated the wing folding capabilities of the Corsair.

The Royal Australian Airforce paid us a fast & fleeting visit; all eyes stage right as two Hawk 127 fighter-trainer jets roared past us. These two seater jets are around 12m long & can reach speeds of over 1200km/h. One of the jets returned to do a few aerobatic manoeuvres for us & then they were gone.

Our own Royal New Zealand Airforce was in attendance with a selection of craft that they put through their paces.

 NH90 Helicopter-

Seasprite Helicopter- the helicopter that will eventually replace the Iroquois.

C-130 Hercules- Everybody's favourite, the Hercules performed an impressive display of manoeuvrability finishing with a bang as it dropped flares in the sky- a effective strategy against heat-seeking missiles.

Aero L-29 Albatros; a sleek jet built in Czechoslovakia during Communist rule.


Aero L-39 Albatros- sucessor to the L29 & internationally the most widely used jet-trainer with a top speed of 750km/h

YAK 52- NZ YAK Formation Aerobatic Team- the YAK is a tandem two-seater Russian air trainer with a top speed of 420km/h that can stand extreme G Forces from -5 to +7. Apparently the fuel tank was small to prevent Russian pilots from defecting to the West.

To be continued.......


  1. I saw Jurgis Kairys at Warbirds over Wanaka in 2004, he was amazing!

    1. He sure was, must have nerves of steel! It must be second nature to him but still.....I don't like the odds, they must surely be stacked against him.


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