Flying teams to return for 2020 airshow

The Harvard and Yak-52 teams, pictured here at Warbirds Over Wanaka in 2010, are returning to the...
The Harvard and Yak-52 teams, pictured here at Warbirds Over Wanaka in 2010, are returning to the airshow next year. PHOTO: PHIL MAKANNA
New Zealand's two premier civilian formation flying teams have confirmed they will be performing at next year's Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow.

The New Zealand Warbirds Association's "Roaring Forties'' Harvard display team and the Yak-52 display team have both confirmed they will be on the flightline in Wanaka at Easter 2020.

The Harvard has been synonymous with the airshow since the first event in 1988.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary, in 2018, there was a mass flypast of 11 of the aircraft type.

For 2020, the "Roaring Forties'' will be under the command of new team leader Dave Brown.

Mr Brown said there had been a few changes in personnel as some of the older pilots handed over the baton and they were already working on some exciting displays for upcoming airshows, including Wanaka.

"We will possibly work up a six-ship display for Wanaka, and you can guarantee that the noise from a six-ship opening loop will be impressive,'' Mr Brown said.

Meanwhile, a big crowd favourite of the past few Wanaka airshows, the nine-ship Yak-52 team, had also confirmed it would be heading to Wanaka next Easter from its bases in New Plymouth and Pauanui.

New Plymouth team leader Brett Emeny said the Yak team was unique in that the two groups practised their routines separately then brought them together to perfect the combined display before
heading south.

"The Yak boys really love Wanaka, especially as it's where we first performed in public our nine-ship loop, a feat which we believe was a world-first for a Yak-52 team,'' he said.

Tickets for the 2020 airshow have been on sale for a couple of months and already sales are ahead of the same time before the last airshow.

Event manager Mandy Deans said, traditionally, a lot of the early interest was from international visitors, and this time was no different.

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