F-16 fast jets bringing thrills to Warbirds

The United States Air Force (USAF) will celebrate the F-16 fast jet’s 50th anniversary of flight with a "fast and furious" display at Warbirds Over Wānaka International Airshow at Easter.

The USAF will be bringing both their F-16 fighter jet and C-17 demonstration teams to our shores.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon team is based at Misawa in Japan and have visited Wānaka before.

The jets will be escorted to New Zealand by a KC-10 Extender tanker aircraft, which will provide air-to-air refuelling.

The C-17 Globemaster III team will be coming from their base in Hawaii.

Warbirds Over Wānaka general manager Ed Taylor was thrilled the USAF had confirmed the aircraft display.

"The United States Air Force has been a major supporter of our airshow over the years. Their teams always put on top displays and their personnel on the ground are always great ambassadors for their country.

“The F-16 is such an iconic Warbird and not just because it can reach Mach 2 (2000+kmh). The aircraft first flew in 1974 and is still being manufactured today — 50 years later.

"What a way to celebrate your 50th with a ‘fast and furious’ display at Wānaka."

The American participation backs up an impressive lineup of aircraft confirmed by the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

The RNZAF will debut the new Poseidon P-8K maritime surveillance aircraft, which has replaced the P-3K Orion.

It is also bringing its Air Force Heritage Flight which includes the Spitfire, P-51 Mustang and Grumman Avenger and its Texan T-6C trainers (performing as the Black Falcons).

Mr Taylor said there would also be a farewell to the C-130H Hercules, which is being retired.

Three RNZAF helicopter types and the Kiwi Blue parachute team are also attending.

— Staff reporter