2016 News & Features

2016 NEWS


Friday Surprise

Visitors to the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow practice day on Good Friday are in for a couple of extra treats this Easter.   The United States and Australian Airforces have confirmed they will both be arriving in Wanaka in time to perform their displays on the Friday.

The US Airforce are bringing their C-17 Globemaster demo team to Wanaka. This team performs with this huge aircraft at all the world’s major airshows. The RAAF are bringing three Hawk Jets to Wanaka.

Friday is the day when aviation enthusiasts and other members of the general public can get around all the ground displays, check out the display aircraft being prepared for the airshow and still get to see a majority of the aircraft in the air at some time over the day.

Later on Friday the Wanaka lakefront hosts the ‘Warbirds On the Lake’ event. This free community event is expected to again draw a crowd of many thousands to the Wanaka foreshore to see aircraft in action over the water. 

Flaming Finale

Spectators can enjoy a stunning finale at this Easter’s airshow at Wanaka Airport as the pyrotechnic team is planning the biggest ‘wall of fire’ display ever seen in New Zealand. The resulting firey explosion will be around 400 metres long and reach 100 metres into the air.

Head Pyrotechnic is Taranaki-based fireman Pete Gallagher. The team have been putting lots of time into preparing for this massive display to end this year’s Wanaka Airshow. The display involves using 800 litres of fuel, around two kilometres of wiring and all seven members of the Pyro team. 

Four Airforces

A record four air forces will attend the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow. The Royal New Zealand Air Force will be joined by aircraft and crews from the United States Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force and French Air Force.

The French Air Force debuted at Wanaka at the 2014 airshow when they had a CASA transport aircraft on static display. This time the CASA will put on a flying display on both days of the airshow showing off its capabilities.

The Australians are looking to bring back their Hawk Jets to perform after a very popular debut at the 2014 airshow.

Meanwhile, the RNZAF has announced the first visit to Wanaka by the new Texan aircraft which make up the Air Force’s new display team – the Black Falcons.

The RNZAF has also confirmed the Hercules will be involved in static and aerial displays, the Kiwi Blue skydive team will perform while the NH90 helicopters will be showing off capabilities and also be on static display. It’s also hoped the RNZAF will be part of the free lakeside event late on Good Friday afternoon.

Air BP

Warbirds Over Wanaka has confirmed its longest standing sponsor and official fuel supplier, Air BP is back on board for next Easter’s event.

Air BP has been associated with the airshow from the very beginning. Many other sponsors have come and gone over that time but Air BP has been staunch in its support of the event. The company has played an integral part in ensuring our event maintains its world-class reputation. They have invested a significant amount by way of sponsorship dollars and provided a first-class refuelling service for display and other visiting aircraft.

Marketing Manager, General Aviation for Air BP, Jack Robert, says as a company they have thoroughly enjoyed being involved with Warbirds Over Wanaka for the past 28 years. Air BP was involved when Sir Tim Wallis started the airshow in 1988. Over the years our support has continued to grow as the event has become New Zealand’s premier airshow and one which is recognised world-wide. 

United States Airforce C-17 Globemaster III

The United States Air Force has confirmed it will be part of the flying display at Warbirds Over Wanaka for the first time in the 28 year history of the event.  The Pacific Air Forces C-17 Globemaster III Demonstration Team is hosted by the 15th Wing of the USAF at Joint Base Pearl Harbour-Hickam in Hawaii. 

The  C-17 demo team is made up of four people and being a member of the team requires a high level of experience in the C-17. Veteran pilots who have been instructors, evaluators or aircraft commanders are selected.

Airshows take flying these large aircraft to the next level with precision and speed required to put on a proper demonstration for the public. Although the flying profile is not much different from an operational mission, it is very fast-paced and the pilots need to have additional training to ensure safety and precision flying.

The last involvement by the United States Air Force at Warbirds Over Wanaka was in 2010 when an LC-130, the polar version of the C-130 cargo plane, attached to the US Antarctica programme, was on static display. 

The C-17 Globemaster has been suggested as one of the possible replacements for the RNZAF’s aging Hercules C-130 fleet.

Catalina Fundraising

The New Zealand Catalina Preservation Society has thanked the Wanaka community for contributing towards keeping one of New Zealand’s favourite Warbird aircraft flying. The Warbirds Over Wanaka Community Trust raised $3,000 for the Society at a special screening of the movie “Return of the Catalina” at Cinema Paradiso in Wanaka this month.

The Catalina Flying Boat has been a regular at Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow over the years but hasn’t been seen here since 2010. The 70-year-old aircraft has been out of action while it underwent a major refurbishment.

The Catalina Chief Pilot Brett Emeny, says it’s been a very expensive exercise but hopefully it will mean the aircraft will now be good for another 30 years. When you start work on these old aircraft you always find a lot more to do and that all costs money. We are very grateful to the Wanaka crowd for helping us. The support doesn’t surprise me because I know lots of Wanaka locals who are always telling me they just love seeing the aircraft land on the lake.

The Catalina refurbishment is almost complete and the aircraft will make its first airshow appearance following the work, at Wanaka next Easter. The Catalina will be part of the aerial display at the airshow but will also be part of the Friday night free community event on the Wanaka lakefront. It’s hoped the Catalina will land on the lake along with a number of other amphibious aircraft. 

The mission of the Warbirds Trust is to ‘educate through the promotion and celebration of aviation past and present’ and this event fitted nicely with WOW’s goals of trying to keep as many Warbirds in New Zealand and more importantly, flying in New Zealand. Without the team at Cinema Paradiso this simply wouldn’t have happened and we wouldn’t have raised anywhere near the $3,000.

Skydive Wanaka

For the first time ever visitors to Warbirds Over Wanaka will have the opportunity to be part of an aerial display.  Warbirds Over Wanaka has teamed up with the award-winning Skydive Wanaka who are offering 10 visitors the opportunity to be part of a tandem skydiving display during the airshow next Easter.

This is a truly unique opportunity, to give our visitors the chance to be part of an actual aerial display. Doing a skydive is one of those bucket list things for many people, but doing it in front of tens of thousands of people at an internationally recognised airshow takes it to a whole new level and will give them bragging rights for a long time.

Skydive Wanaka General Manager Blake Mason says they’ve always been big supporters of Warbirds Over Wanaka. The event is recognised as one of the best Warbirds airshows in the world and at Skydive Wanaka we are always striving to be up there in terms of the experience for our visitors. Having the opportunity to show off the skills of our tandem jump masters is a great opportunity for us.

Supermarine Mark IX Spitfire

The Spitfire, one of the most  famous aircraft of WWII, joins the Warbirds line up at WOW 2016. Designed in 1934/35, an estimated 22,579 Spitfires served in all spheres of the War and afterwards.

This particular aircraft, piston engined, was restored by the Deere family of Marton and decorated in honour of family member Air Commodore Alan Deere, who served with the RAF for forty years.

Air Bandits Reunite

Two members of the world famous Air Bandits aerobatic team will be reuniting at next year’s Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow.  Two-time World Aerobatic Champion, Jurgis Kairys from Lithuania, will team up with Auckland-based Rob Fry to perform together at Wanaka for the first time since 2008.

Jurgis is one of the world’s most accomplished aerobatic pilots and is a crowd favourite at Wanaka, having stunned visitors with his solo performance at last year’s Warbirds Airshow in Rob Fry’s Sukhoi-Su29.  Jurgis is bringing his own aircraft to Wanaka for the 2016 airshow. An aircraft designer and engineer, Jurgis designed the Juka (the name comes from his initials) as a lightweight aerobatic aircraft. The Juka weighs less than the lightest Sukhoi and is powered by a Russian M14PF engine developing 400hp to give it a very impressive performance.

Jurgis continues to be in hot demand around the world and has been performing at airshows in China. Most recently he was one of the star attractions at the big China International General Aviation Convention Airshow in Pucheng.

Jurgis has been one of the stars of the event over a number of years and Airshow visitors just can’t get enough of him. He’s known for his cool, calculating precision while performing and his display has been described as ‘controlled mayhem’”.

Hollywood Star bound for Warbirds 

Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow is bringing a significant aircraft to Wanaka next year to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The UK-based Messerschmitt Bf 109 will take part in a number of aerial displays, alongside it’s Battle of Britain nemesis, the Spitfire.

There are only a handful of these magnificent aircraft still flying today and it will be 20 years since a Me 109 has flown in New Zealand. The last time was also at Warbirds Over Wanaka in 1996 when airshow founder Sir Tim Wallis brought one out. 

Warbirds Over Wanaka could not have brought the Me 109 to Wanaka without the generous support of companies like Stevens Kitchenwares and Hamburg Sud shipping.

The Me 109 holds the record for being the most produced fighter aircraft of all time with a total of 33,000 built. There are quite a few still in museums around the world but only a handful are still flying.

This ME 109 is something of a movie star, having flown in the 1968 “Battle of Britain” movie and then 20 years later starring alongside Tom Cruise in "Valkyrie”. The aircraft is owned by the Aircraft Restoration Company (ARC) based at Duxford in England. It will be piloted in Wanaka by ARC owner John Romain. John is one of the UK’s top Warbird pilots with many hours flying both the Me 109 and Spitfires.

The Warbirds Over Wanaka Community Trust is keen to use the visit of the Me 109 to further the Trust’s mission “to educate through the celebration and promotion of aviation past and present”. Organisers will be including the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in the airshow’s free schools programme.

Pilatus Partnership

A major new Partner has been announced for the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow at Easter 2016.  The Swiss-based Pilatus Aircraft Ltd Company has joined Warbirds Over Wanaka as a Principal Partner.  The company is investing in a new offering at this year’s show that will be known as the Pilatus Titanium Pass enclosure.

Pilatus is delighted to be associated with such an internationally-renowned airshow. Pilatus has attended the last two Warbirds Over Wanaka events and “have enjoyed the experience such a unique location brings to an airshow. We feel there’s a good fit between the quality that Pilatus Aircraft stands for and this airshow and that’s why we have decided to invest in the show."

The new Pilatus Titanium Pass enclosure will not only be a different offering, but also a superior hosting environment to anything WOW has been able to offer in terms of hospitality before. Pilatus Titanium Pass tickets are restricted to 100 on the Saturday and Sunday of the airshow. 

NASA at Warbirds Over Wanaka 2016

Visitors to next year’s Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow will have the chance to learn first-hand a lot more about NASA’s scientific ballooning programme.  A team from NASA is planning to be in Wanaka for the launch of a second huge scientific research balloon just four days after the airshow.

NASA is scheduled to exhibit in one of the hangars at Wanaka Airport and this facility will be open at times during the airshow for the general public to check out the gear required for the launch and to chat with NASA scientists.  Visitors to the airshow may wish to stay on for a few days to hopefully see the balloon launched. At this early planning stage, the launch is scheduled for no earlier than April 1st, 2016.

Dwayne Orr, from NASA says they enjoy any opportunity to meet with members of the public to inform them about their work. They've heard lots about Warbirds Over Wanaka and are looking forward to working with their organising team and getting involved with a display and information sessions.




Morning Programme:

Fighter Pair Strafe Airfield
Skydive Helicopter Drop
French CASA Display
Civil Helicopter Display
Sport Aircraft Short Landing Competition Rounds 1 and 2
Yak 52 Team Formation Display
RNZAF Hercules and NH90 Role Demonstrations
ME 109 Solo Aerobatic Display
Roaring Forties Formation Display
RNZAF T-6 Texans and A-109 Display
USAF C-17 Globemaster Display

Lunchtime Programme:

Martin Jetpack Display
Jurgis vs Moto Gusto/ Jurgis vs Supercar
Skydive Wanaka - Competition Winners Jump
Classic Formation Flypast and Handling
Warhorse Display

Afternoon Programme:

RAAF Hawk 127 Display
The Air Bandits - Yuka and SU-29
ME 109 Attacks Airfield
Spitfire vs ME 109 Dogfight followed by Spitfire Solo Aerobatics
Anson Bombs German Boat - Me 109 Attacks
ME 109 and Yak 3 Tailchase
Anson Handling Display
Yak 3 Display
Catalina and two DC3s flypast and then Catalina Display
DC 3s Flypast with P51s followed by DC-3 Handling Display
P51 Pairs and Solo Display
Avenger, P40s and Corsair Flypast followed by attack on Japanese Airfield
P40 and Corsair Display
Jet Formation Display and Land
Mock attack sequence - Pyros
Fighter Finale Flypast - Pyros