Royal New Zealand Air Force on show at Warbirds

No. 14 Squadron aerobatic display team, the Black Falcons will be the Royal New Zealand Air Force...
No. 14 Squadron aerobatic display team, the Black Falcons will be the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s cornerstone of the weekend. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) is embracing its history and future at this year’s Warbirds Over Wānaka, where the air show will be the final southern public outing for the retiring C-130H (NZ) Hercules transport aircraft.

Every available, current RNZAF aircraft type will be on show at Warbirds Over Wānaka, where they will carry out flying displays or on static display for the public to get up close. Some will be working to provide transport support to the biennial event. 

Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Darryn Webb said events like Warbirds over Wānaka provided an opportunity for the RNZAF to display its aircraft capability. 

"Domestic air shows and display activities enable the RNZAF to inspire, educate and engage with the communities it serves," Air V-m Webb said. 

"Not only do they allow for the demonstration of skills and capabilities of the RNZAF, they also support the preservation of the RNZAF’s history."

This year’s Warbirds show will be the final air show for the retiring fleet of No. 40 Squadron C-130H (NZ) Hercules, which will be celebrated with a Formation Thunder flypast, a handling display, Kiwi Blue parachute display and a lakefront flare drop. 

The Air Force Heritage Flight will also be at Wānaka — including a recently restored P-51 Mustang in its first public flying display and new RNZAF P-8A Poseidon will be seen in action for the first time, demonstrating a simulated raft drop with a low pass down the airfield.

Squadron Leader and RNZAF air display director Jim Rankin said the air show was about more than celebrating aircraft in the air.

“The role demonstrations and handling displays are a chance to practise and sharpen the flying skills required to operate our aircraft across the range of outputs we deliver for the New Zealand Government."

Everyone had a part to play in delivering the Defence Force’s military air operations, he said.

“Whenever an aircraft gets airborne though, it requires more than just our aircrew to operate them – it requires technical staff to maintain the airframes, working alongside logisticians, refuellers, security forces and firefighters.  

The Warbirds Over Wānaka air show is held from Easter Friday until  Easter Sunday at Wānaka Airport.