The Aero L-29 jet, now based at Wanaka Airport, which will
feature in a high-speed jet race at the Warbirds Over
Wanaka International Airshow next Easter. Photo supplied.
A NASA astronaut who has completed six space shuttle
flights has been confirmed as one of the pilots taking part in
high-speed jet racing at the Warbirds Over Wanaka International
Airshow next Easter.
Colonel Curtis Brown of the United States was flight
commander on two of his six space missions and is also a
five-times winner of the jet racing championships held in
Reno, Nevada, each September - billed as the world's fastest
The team from Reno will include three-times Red Bull World
Air Race champion Mike Mangold.
In jet racing, aircraft go head to head over a 14km course at
speeds of up to 700kmh.
''We've heard a lot about Warbirds Over Wanaka and very much
want to be a part of it,'' Mr Mangold said in a press
Airshow manager Ed Taylor said the airshow on April 18, 19
and 20 would be the first time both of these ''rock stars''
of American jet air racing had competed alongside each other
outside the US.
The third member of the team is John ''Johnny Rocket''
Kokshoorn, who lives in Australia but has previously competed
The three visiting pilots will be flying
Czechoslovakian-developed Aero L-29 jets, one of which
arrived at Wanaka last week to be permanently based in the
Southern Lakes area.
Mr Taylor said the New Zealand team will consist of seasoned
jet pilots Brett Emeny, Paul ''Huggy'' Hughan and Peter
Mr Emeny has been flying for nearly 40 years and will be
competing in his own Vampire. Mr Hughan will also pilot a
Vampire and Mr Vause will be in his Aero L39.