Thursday, 31 March 2016

Part 2- Warbirds Over Wanaka, 2016

Warbirds Over Wanaka, 2016 continued on from Part 1...

Air War in the Pacific; Avenger, Corsiar and the P40 Kittyhawks-

Grumman Avenger- one of the largest single engine fighters of its time. Used by the RNZAF in the Pacific campaigns of WWII.

Corsair FG-1D- The Corsair is my most favourite plane (ahead of the Harvards), 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 also like 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.

I failed to get photos this time, of the wings folding on the Corsiar & the Avenger (I was just too far away) but here are photos I took of them during the 2014 Warbirds.

The Curtiss P-40N and P-40E Kittyhawks

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 trainers.

Another iconic aircraft; the Douglas Dakota C-47 - DC3. The Dakota C-47 was a modified version of the civilian DC-3. This particular C-47 was delivered to the US Army Airforce in 1944. After being decommissioned in 1959 it was commercially used in the Phillipines, New Guinea and Australia before being retired and becoming a static display. The New Zealand Warbird Group then brought it to NZ and performed an extensive rebuild. It was repainted to represent the aircraft NZ3546 from No.42 Squadron of the RNZAF.

This DC3 has a 100%  New Zealand pedigree. Currently owned & flown by Air Chathams, it left the USA and flew to Hamilton, NZ in April, 1945. In May 1945, it became known as RNZAF Dakota NZ3543. Once decommissioned it was flown by our very own NAC (National Airways Corporation).

The Catalina Flying Boat and the DC3s put on a great flying display and took many visitors for the ride of their lives.

Often used as a bomber escort, the American built P51 Mustang was armed with six .50 calibre Browning machine guns.

It was fitted with long range fuel tanks and modified to perform at high altitudes.

The Mustang was a formidable game-changer in the latter stages of WWII.

The Mustang 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.

Next up are the "Air Bandits", Jurgis Kairys & Rob Fry, and their aerobatic planes performing some death-defying maneuvers. These are two very brave men.

Jurgis Kairys, is 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 (the blue plane flown by Rob). This Warbirds Jurgis has brought his very own aircraft; the Juka to perform in. The Juka weighs less than the lightest Sukhoi and is powered by a 400hp Russian M14PF engine.

That's an impressive eleven turn cork screw Jurgis is performing on the right.

Later in the programme Jurgis sneeked in on the DC3, tucking in under the belly as they flew passed the crowd and then barrell rolling around the large plane on their way back down the runway.

Two Strikemaster Jets put on a fast and furious display...

...highlighting the incredible skill level of their pilots.

They were then joined by two De Havilland Vampires for some precision flying.

The Vampire was considered highly experimental in its developmental stages and came on line too late to see any 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!

The grand finale saw the airfield under attack by enemy aircraft (poor lonely Messerschmidt) and the Fighters scramble to do battle.

Followed by a mass flypast and a massive explosion, that caught many on the hop.

And again on Sunday.... and that was Warbirds Over Wanaka for another two years. 

Here are a couple of other aircraft that took part in the Classic Flypast...

This one made me looks like he's peering over the top of the screen... 

And in a paddock at the end of the runway; a plane park- for those that arrived by wing.


  1. These warbirds are as interesting as real birds! I've never been to any air show, your write up and photos are real eye-opener for me!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the posts offstone, now you have a reason to visit NZ in 2018, coincide it with the Wanaka Warbirds! :)

  2. Outstanding report of Warbirds....go to the top of the can retain that smug look on your face...well deserved. You are the ace pilot of the blogosphere.

    1. And you never lose your sense of humour! :) Glad you enjoyed the report- I bet you picked up some useful info you would have missed while playing with your pet rock!


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