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Warbirds 2010

Entry 1181, on 2010-04-05 at 21:18:35 (Rating 1, Activities)

Yesterday I went to the Warbirds Over Wanaka air show. The show is run every second year (at Wanaka airport, Otago, New Zealand) and I attend most years (although I didn't go last time). As well as enjoying watching the aircraft (which is one of my interests) it's also a great opportunity to take some interesting photos, and photographing fast moving objects is usually quite challenging.

I took several hundred photos and quite a bit of standard definition and high definition video and I will use some of these in the report I will write for my web site. I already have reports for the same show in 1992, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2004, and 2006.

Originally the show specialised in World War II era aircraft but more recently there has been a much wider range displayed. In 2006 these ranged from the 1918 Bleriot capable of 70 kilometers per hour to the F-111 from the Australian Air Force which is capable of about 3000! An impressive change in just 50 years.

There's usually a rare fighter shown at each show. In the past there was a Messerschmitt Me 109, Polikarpov I-16s, a Hawker Hurricane, and the Russian Yak 3 and LA9. This year there was a Japanese Zero. There are also the more common P-51 Mustangs, Spitfires, Corsair and Kittyhawks which appear every year - yes, I know, I hate to to call the Spitfire "common"!

The Lithuanian aerobatics pilot Yurgis Kairys has made an appearance at several shows and he was there again this year flying a crazy and spectacular series of maneuvers in the aircraft he designed himself. That's always a highlight.

The RNZAF put on a good display (especially considering it doesn't even have a fighter wing any more) with its Seasprite and Iroquois helicopters, Orion and Hercules transport planes, its parachute team, and various other aircraft.

The New Zealand Air Force may lack spectacular fighters but Australia certainly doesn't. The RAAF sent 4 F/A-18 Hornets and they were just awesome! They flew in unexpectedly and they fly fast so they are well ahead of their sound. They just arrive without warning, fly over, then the sound hits you. On a fast, low pass over the airfield the sound is just indescribable.

My report on the show, including photos, sound and movies, will be on my web site (the airshow section is here) in the next week or two (it's hard to find time to work on this between other projects) so if you are interested in this sort of stuff stay tuned.

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