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Old Aircraft

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Old Aircraft

I like the variety of aircraft displayed at the show. About 50 years of progress is demonstrated between the Bleriot with a top speed of about 70 kilometers per hour (shown above) and the next aircraft to fly, the F-111 which is capable of around 3000 kilometers per hour. That's a fairly significant improvement, you would have to agree!

This is a genuine original Bleriot XI, built in 1918, and brought to New Zealand specifically for this show. Its a rather flimsy design and I noticed the wheels had got a bit bent off at a strange angle after landing. Its a good idea to fly this machine fairly close to the ground, because if it loses power it tends to fall out of the sky backwards instead of gliding!


More Photos

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This is a World War I era aircraft I hadn't seen before. Its a French designed Nieuport 24 bis, and was introduced in 1917. It uses a 130hp Le Rhone engine, giving it a top speed of 176 km/h.

An unusual feature of this biplane is that the bottom wing is only half the width of the top, which might present problems at low speed and landing since the two wings would have different stall speeds.

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What air show would be complete without a Fokker Triplane? This was made famous by the exploits of the famous "Red Baron", Captain Manfred von Richthofen in World War I, but it wasn't actually a particularly good fighter. It had numerous early problems, and was out-performed by most of its opponents even when these were fixed.

The three wings did provide impressive lift and handling though, so it was an agile and capable fighter in the hands of someone like von Richthofen.

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This is the traditional enemy of the Triplane, the equally famous Sopwith Camel. This is a replica - there are no originals still flying.

While it was responsible for downing nearly 1300 enemy aircraft, it was also responsible for 385 deaths of its own pilots due to accidents, especially at take off and landing. Its top speed is around 200 kilometers per hour.


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