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Warbirds general manager Ed Taylor said the public was being invited to take rides in either a Russian Yak-3 or an Avro Anson Mk 1 reconnaissance bomber between August 21 and 24, in return for a donation to the airshow.
The Yak, owned by Graeme Frew, of Blenheim, can carry one passenger and the Avro (pictured at a previous Warbirds show), owned by Bill Reid, of Nelson, three.
The Avro is the only one of its type flying in the world. Mr Taylor said the airshow took a "significant financial hit" from the cancellation.