Warbirds over Wanaka
|Warbirds over Wanaka|
Lavochkin La-9 at the 2006 Warbirds Over Wanaka
|Host airport||Wanaka Airport|
|Website||Official web site|
Warbirds over Wanaka is a biennial air show in Wanaka, held on the Easter weekend of even-numbered years since 1986. It is held at Wanaka Airport, 10 km south-east of Wanaka, in the southern South Island of New Zealand. Initially conceived by New Zealand live deer recovery pioneer, Sir Tim Wallis, as a display day for him to play with his collection of World War II aircraft, the show has grown into a major institution. Roads are closed and traffic is detoured around the area during the weekend. Hotels, motels and backpackers around Wanaka are usually booked well in advance (two years ahead). Accommodation is impossible to find if one does not have a booking.
In 2004, an international audience of 99,000 attended the show. The 11th Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow in 2006 was held during April 14–16. A record 111,000 people were estimated to have attended.
A large contingent of historic and contemporary aircraft of note from all over New Zealand and the world converge on Wanaka each second Easter for the air show. Numerous aviation personalities from all over the world attend Warbirds over Wanaka, Gen Chuck Yeager and Buzz Aldrin being the most notable of recent times. The mainstays of the display have traditionally been the aircraft from Sir Tim's Alpine Fighter Collection, based at the New Zealand Fighter Pilots' Museum. However, this collection is currently (2006) in the process of being broken up.[needs update] A new charitable trust has been established to run the event in the future.
The 2008 air show was held over the Weekend of March 21–23. 86,000 people are reported to have attended the show over the three days.
At Easter on the alternate (odd) years a similar air show is held at Omaka air field in Blenheim in the northern South Island, under the title of Classic Fighters. Its emphasis is on World War I aircraft including as many as seven Fokker Dr.I triplanes. Also on alternate (odd) years Wings over Wairarapa airshow is held at Hood Aerodrome, Masterton, in the North Island.
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