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Warbirds over Wānaka promises best ever show after six-year hiatus

Mar 27, 2024

The sound of 1940s aeroplanes will once again fill the skies over Wānaka at Easter, when Warbirds over Wānaka returns after a six-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 50,000 people are expected to attend the international airshow, which first ran in 1988.

Event general manager Ed Taylor said demand for the show had been exceptional.

"The aircraft line-up is probably one of the best ever, with the likes of the WWII Mosquito, F-16 Fighting Falcons and the American Eagles Jet Display Team capturing the imagination."

The F-16 pilot Captain Ethan Smith said it was his first year being involved in the airshow, and he was looking forward to showing aviation enthusiasts the jet in action.

"The F-16 is a fantastic aircraft to fly. It's really unlike any other aircraft; single engine, simple, nimble and agile, it's really a treat to fly," he said.

Technical Sergeant Matthew Kronick and Staff Sergeant Lucas Haas were also excited to be part of the F-16 demonstration team.

"We're here to give you guys everything - everything it can do, what it was built for, and make it as loud and fast as possible for everybody that's going to be there," Kronick said.

Warbirds over Wānaka said the ex-Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) WWII Mosquito NZ2308 was one of the world's most iconic WWII fighter-bomber aircraft.

Having the chance to see the Mosquito fly would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many Warbird fans, he said.

The RNZAF said every current Air Force aircraft type would be seen at the show (subject to availability), with some carrying out flying displays and others being on static display for the public to get up close.

Warbirds over Wānaka runs over three days from Friday.

Watch video here.

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