Warbirds Over Wanaka (Wow) has announced two initiatives for
the Easter 2014 airshow to help find the next generation of
Wow general manager Ed Taylor said the organisation had
backing from the New Zealand Warbirds Association and the
head of the Royal New Zealand Air Force for the initiatives,
which were aimed at people keen to try flying.
Wow would invite sport aircraft to the next airshow -
everything from gyrocopters to microlights and home-builts to
replicas, creating an opportunity for people to see ''how
affordable it can be to get into flying'', Mr Taylor said.
Easter Monday, immediately following the three-day airshow,
had been set aside as a ''Rides Day'', when local operators
and visiting aircraft owners would offer rides to the public.
''While we're still to confirm exactly what aircraft will be
available we're hoping it will include warbirds, Tiger Moths,
microlights, Tecnams, the DC3 and the Catalina.''
There will be no entry fee to the airport on Rides Day, but a
cost will apply for the flights.
RNZAF air vice-marshall Peter Stockwell supported initiatives
aimed at attracting people to aviation. ''We're keen to be
involved in the Rides Day concept but how we are involved
will depend on aircraft availability and operational
imperative,'' AVM Stockwell said.
NZ Warbirds Association president Frank Parker also backed
any moves which might result in more potential pilots being
interested in flying older aircraft. ''A casual glance along
the heavy metal flightline at most airshows is akin to the
social welfare office on pension day,'' Mr Parker said. ''NZ
Warbirds' motto is `Keep 'em flying' and we're well aware
that you need pilots to do that.''
The association had been active in recent years in trying to
get new members into the pilot ranks, with regular training
weekends and syndication of aircraft ownership to try to make
it easier for several pilots to own the same warbird.