Warbirds show to host first French presence

A French Air Force CASA CN-235-300 aircraft  will be open for public inspection  during the 2014 Warbirds airshow. Photo supplied.
A French Air Force CASA CN-235-300 aircraft will be open for public inspection during the 2014 Warbirds airshow. Photo supplied.

A delegation of French military officials and a specialist surveillance aircraft will arrive in Wanaka next Easter, jointly hosted by the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow.

The French will be bringing a CASA CN-235-300 aircraft, which will be open for the public to view throughout the three days of the airshow.

Warbirds Over Wanaka general manager Ed Taylor said it would be the first time Wanaka had hosted the French military.

''The aircraft, crew and high-ranking officials will add real international flair to the show and we are absolutely delighted that the Armee de L'Air [French Air Force] have accepted our invitation to Central Otago.''

The CASA is a medium-range twin-turbo-prop aircraft developed jointly between CASA in Spain and IPTN in Indonesia as a regional airliner and military transporter, Mr Taylor said.

Among its military roles are maritime patrol, surveillance and troop transport.

''This is a sophisticated tactical aircraft, something the public doesn't generally get a chance to get close to,'' Mr Taylor said.