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Warbirds over Wanaka Airshow 2002 in New Zealand

AirVenture-Report by Hartmut Seidel, translated by Frank Mainz

The beautiful mountain landscape of the Southern Alps on the south island of New Zealand, approximately 400 kilometers southwest from the well-known city of Christchurch, is the location of the small city of Wanaka . In 1988 aviation entrepreneur and businessman Sir Tim Wallis presented the first Warbirds over Wanaka Airshow on the Wanaka Airport. The airshow was a big success and since then it is hold as a biennial event always over the long Easter weekend. The very interesting airplanes of Sir Tim Wallis Alpine Fighter Collection and aircrafts from all parts of New Zealand are flying there in an excellent flying programme. Display pilots from all over the world are coming to New Zealand to take an active part in the Warbirds over Wanaka Airshow. wow02logo.jpg (11659 )
In addition to the large number of first-class warbirds You can see there many other displays with modern airplanes. There are very good displays by the Royal New Zealand Air Force ( RNZAF ) and civilian aerobatic pilots. In the course of the years, the excellent quality of this airshow has become well-known worldwide ! So both the number of airplanes and visitors increased very much and made Warbirds over Wanaka to the largest Warbirds Airshow in the Southern Hemisphere. New Zealand is also a very nice destination for wonderful holidays ! So the aviation enthusiast can make there a combination of a very good airshow visit in Wanaka and a very nice and relaxing vacation in the beautiful landscape and the nice cities of New Zealand ! For this reason a large number of visitors from all over the world look forward to visit the next air show in Wanaka. In the year 2002 my dream of a visit to the Warbirds over Wanaka Airshow has come true. And this visit was a big success, as you can see in the following report ! (HS)

 Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

Part 1 : Warbird-Fighter

I-16

Formation

The Russian Polikarpov-fighters are on of the highlights in the Warbirds over Wanaka flying programme. Six Polikarpov I-16 monoplanes and three Polikarpov I-153 biplanes were restored for Sir Tim Wallis Alpine Fighter Collection. Wrecks of such airplanes, found in Russia, were reconstructed. A large number of missing or damaged parts had to be rebuilt in long laborious detail work, using old original blueprints. For the restoration works, Sir Tim Wallis assigned a company in Siberia, which built Polikarpovs in series during WW II. The restoration project started in 1992 and the first completed aircrafts arrived in New Zealand in 1998. Since then, these planes are special highlights of the Warbirds over Wanaka Airshows.
Kittyhawk

Kittyhawk

This Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk "Currawong" wears two different markings: "A 29-448" on the left side and "A 29-1050" on the right side. Both are markings of the Royal Australian Air Force.
I-16

I-16

I-16

Four Polikarpovs participated in the flying display at Warbirds over Wanaka 2002. Three of them were Polikarpov I-16 monoplanes. This aircraft was developed in the beginning of the thirties. It was a very efficient and progressive construction. In the Spanish civil war, the Polikarpov I-16 entered combat service for the first time. Its successful engagement made a stir and in these days, it got its nickname "Rata" that is probably better known than the official name. When Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, most of the fighters of the Russian Air Force were Polikarpov I-16 "Ratas". At this time the "Ratas" were outdated and sustained heavy losses against the modern German fighters. From 1943 on, they went out of combat service.
Mustang

Mustang

A warbird airshow is not a really warbird airshow if You can not see there the legendary North American P-51 D Mustang in the flying programme. So it was a great pleasure for the warbird enthusiast to see the Mustang at the Warbirds over Wanaka Airshow and to hear the marvelous sound of the powerful Packard Merlin piston enginge of the Mustang!
I-153

I-153

The Polikarpov aircraft number four at Warbirds over Wanaka Airshow 2002 was a biplane, the Polikarpov I-153 Tchaika. It is hard to believe but true: Polikarpov developed the Tchaika biplane after the I-16 monoplane. The Polikarpov I-153 first flew in 1938. The Tchaikas flew in large numbers during WW II, but similarly to the "Ratas" went out of combat service from 1943 and were replaced by modern aircrafts. Both the Polikarpov I-16 and the Polikarpov I-153 are equipped with 1000 HP radial engines that provide a very impressive sound!
Mustang

Mustang

The only things that are better than one Mustang are two Mustangs!

And so it was a great pleasure to see two Mustangs in the air during the Warbirds over Wanaka Airshow 2002 ! "Miss Torque" was the name of the second North American P-51 D Mustang there.

I-16 I took this picture at Wanaka airport in 2002, but if You see the beautiful wood and mountain landscape in the background, You could think I took this picture at a Russian front-line airfield in the Second World war!
Warbirds Both the two Mustangs and the two Kittyhawks has flown in formation.  And along with two De Havilland Vampire jets, the Mustangs and Kittyhawks has flown the "Strike Forces Salute" with a very impressive 

air-raid demonstration, including many pyrotechnic effects on the ground.

Spitfire

Spitfire

The famous british Pilot Ray Hanna has flown this Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI of Sir Tim Wallis Alpine Fighter Collection. Ray Hanna was born in New Zealand. At the end of the sixties he was the leader of the legendary Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team "Red Arrows".  He is also one of the founder of the "Old Flying Machine Company" (OFMC) at Duxford / UK. The OFMC is an organization, which restores and operates warbirds. Ray Hanna is sometimes also to see on Airshows in Germany, when he is flying first-class displays with his "Breitling Fighters" warbird aerobatic team.
Warbirds One Mustang and one Kittyhawk has also flown in formation along with the Spitfire and the Hurricane.
Hurricane

Hurricane

This Hawker Hurricane belongs also to the Alpine Fighter Collection.

The pilot of the Hurricane is Keith Skilling. He is a Boeing 767 captain for Air New Zealand and he is also one of the pilots in Ray Hannas Breitling Fighters team.

Wildcat

Wildcat

The Warbirds over Wanaka Airshow 2002 had some very interesting participants from outside New Zealand : This Grumman FM-2 Wildcat has come from the United States by ship to New Zealand to take part in the Airshow. The Wildcat is a very special rarity. There are only a few airworthy aircrafts of this type world-wide. The famous American "Confederate Air Force" ( which recently changed its name to "Commemorative Air Force" ) is the owner of this Wildcat. The Commemorative Air Force operates the most airworthy WW II warbirds world-wide and is well-known for its famous annual Confederate Air Force Airshow in Texas.
P-40 Two Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawks took part in the flying programme of the Warbirds over Wanaka Airshow 2002. It was a great pleasure to hear the very good sound of their powerful Allison engines !
Sea Fury

Sea Fury

This Hawker Sea Fury comes from Australia. While the Grumman FM-2 Wildcat has come from California to New Zealand by ship, the pilot of the Hawker Sea Fury is flown with his aircraft from Brisbane / Australia to New Zealand with intermediate landings on Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island .
 

Click here to see the part 2 of our big Warbirds over Wanaka 2002 Report    >>> Part 2

Coming soon!

 

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