Wednesday 23 April 2014

Warbirds- Part 3

Commemorating 100 years of military aviation, these rare & flimsy fighters of the Great War, WW1 took to the sky over Wanaka. Aircraft included the Sopwith Camel, Nieuport XI, Airco DH5, Bristol Fighter F.2B, Fokker DR.I Triplane & the Fokker D.VII

Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk- another favourite of mine (I think it must b the paint job), the RNZAF operated 297 Kittyhawk fighters in the Pacific during WWII. Eventually replaced by the Corsiar the Kittyhawks returned to NZ to be used as advanced fighter trainer.

De Havilland Vampire- considered highly experimental in its developmental stages the Vampire came on line too late to see action in WWII. The Vampire was used as a training aircraft and remained in service in NZ until 1972. And they still look futuristic to me! 

Supermarine Spitfire- another crowd favourite with a beautiful wing profile. This Spitfire was restored & is owned by the Deere Family of Marton who have decorated it in honour of a family member Air Commodore Alan Deere who served with the RAF for 40 years.


A North American P-51D Mustang joined the Spitfire for a flight display.

The British inspired, American built Mustang was one of the most potent & versatile fighters of WWII. The long ranging Mustang escorted American bombers all the way to Germany. It was known as the "Cadillac of the Skies" I think it looks like one of those model aircraft you make up; the air intake underneath looks like a clip that holds the wings in place! Add to that the little model man in the cockpit and it could have come straight out of a box.

YAK 3- the sleek & fast little brother of the YAK52, the Yak 3 was regarded as one of the finest interceptors of WWII. German pilots were horrified to find they were being beaten by a well flown, simple little 1300hp Russian fighter made of wood.

A first for NZ & for Warbirds Over Wanaka, Reno style racing. The Wanaka Jet Race- three American pilots & three Kiwi raced their jets around a 5 lap course marked by giant inflatable orange pylons (mega road cones). After three races, one each day, the Kiwis were declared the winners! It was a thrilling race with many different tactics used to gain speed & position.

The grand finale- the airfield is defended by the fighters from an attack by enemy aircraft. On the first day the explosions set fire to the tinder dry grass that borders the runway. From high up on our vantage point we could see tiny figures rushing around everywhere in panic & beating the ground with sacks. The next day the fire brigade crossed the runway well before the finale & drenched the area with water from their tanker.


And that folks was WOW- Warbirds Over Wanaka, for another two years. We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed the show, it was a good feeling knowing we could retire to our van after the show finished each day without having to be stuck in a traffic jam a few miles long waiting to get home. It was a shame that there was a major storm happening right around New Zealand as some of the aircraft were unable to leave their home towns to fly in to Wanaka but on the other hand the weather Gods took mercy on Wanaka, it was fine all weekend.

PS- Apologies to those that get notification by email of a blog post- you've already seen these photos! The joys of a hap-hazard connection.


  1. Ollie has enjoyed looking at all the plane photos. He said they are 'super cool'

    1. Hi Ollie, glad you enjoyed looking at all the planes, they were indeed "super cool". Perhaps you should whisper in Poppa's ear that you might like to have a ride in one of the jets sometime. It'll only cost him $2200 for 30 minutes! :) See you soon xx


Thank you for taking the time to leave a message, I love reading them! All comments are personally moderated by me and I will post and answer them as soon as possible, Shellie