Jets the showstoppers at Warbirds

The Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow has signalled it is moving firmly into the jet age.

While much of the pulling power of past airshows has been their displays of piston-engined veteran aircraft from World War 2, the highlights of Saturday's show at Wanaka Airport revolved around jet engines.

Two Australian Royal Air Force Hawk 127 aircraft entertained the crowd with a high-speed, low altitude example of modern fighting aircraft.

And six jets flying head-to-head in Reno-style round-the pylons races were the show-stoppers of day.

Despite a few drops of rain, the weather stayed fine, and it did not appear crowd numbers were affected by rumours on Friday the show had been cancelled because of bad weather.

Show general manager Ed Taylor said 8361 people attended practice day on Friday and while numbers for Saturday were not yet known, it appeared they would be as good, if not better than previous shows.

At one point, two lanes of traffic were backed up from the airport about 8km towards Wanaka.

Times long gone

Some of those planes were from the time when we actually had an airforce. At the current rate we'll soon be paying the Air Vice Marshall to oversee local Kite Flying contests.