A relatively new fighter aircraft on the New Zealand Warbird scene will make its Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow debut at Easter 2022 (April 15th, 16th and 17th).

The Yakovlev-3, known as ‘Steadfast’ was bought in 2019 by Blenheim-based owners, Mark O’Sullivan and Ronan Harvey, from its Australian owners.   The Yak-3 was one of the most feared WWII fighter aircraft due to their high speed and manoeuvrability making them ideal in dogfights.

In the early 2000’s a decision was made to build brand new Yak-3s based on the original prototype, this time fitted with powerful Pratt and Whitney R-2000 radial engines.  The new aircraft were built in Romania and were snapped up by eager Warbird aircraft owners around the world.

‘Steadfast’ was exported to the United States in the mid-2000s embarking on an illustrious career at the famous Reno Air Races.  During that time the aircraft picked up nine world speed and climbing records including reaching 669km/h over a 3km course in Utah.  In 2013 the aircraft moved to Australia before moving across the Tasman.

Co-owner Mark O’Sullivan is rapt to have the aircraft in New Zealand and can’t wait to show her off at Wanaka.   “This aircraft has it all with her beautiful lines betraying what can be brutal performance.  The addition of a great smoke system means this aircraft will be something of a show-stopper at Wanaka,” says Mark.

‘Steadfast’ will be one of two Yak-3s performing at Wanaka.  Graeme Frew’s Russian fighter, ‘Full Noise 35’, has been a regular at Wanaka since 2012 and is one of several Warbird aircraft which will be available for joy rides over the Easter weekend.

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