Red Stars planning another world-first for Wanaka airshow

12-ship Yak attack

Red Stars planning another world-first for Wanaka airshow

The New Zealand Red Stars Yak-52 aerobatic team is planning a world-first display at next Easter’s Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow to honour one of its founders.

Brett Emeny had been involved with the team since its early days more than two decades ago and it had been his idea to put a 12-ship display together for Wanaka 2024 to celebrate the return of Warbirds Over Wanaka after the last two shows were cancelled because of Covid.

Unfortunately, Brett passed away suddenly earlier this year but had been discussing the 12-ship idea just days before he died.  His daughter, Fay, is a member of the Red Stars and says it will be very special to perform the routine in his honour.

“Dad was excited about the idea of a 12-ship and this resonated across the team, so to be able to bring a dozen Yaks to Wanaka and have them all up in the air performing another world-first display is going to be something special.”

“Dad was highly respected by everyone involved with the team and I know the other pilots are pumped to put on a stunning display at Wanaka - an airshow all pilots love being part of,” says Fay.

Warbirds Over Wanaka General Manager Ed Taylor says the Red Stars are one of the crowd favourites at the airshow.  “These guys continue to out-do themselves every airshow and would not be out of place at any other top airshow around the world,” says Ed.

“Brett was an absolute legend at Wanaka.  In 2018 he flew not only in the Red Stars team but also his Trojan and Vampire and the Catalina.  He is sorely missed so to have the team perform this special routine in his honour will be a highlight of our show next Easter,” says Ed.

The origins of the Red Stars go back to the early 1990s when a two-ship team would perform at small North Island airshows.  The team has gradually grown over the years and in 2018 made headlines at Warbirds Over Wanaka with the world’s first-ever nine-ship loop by a piston-engine display team. 

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