Red Checkers

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Red Checkers
Air Force Air Trainers in formation - Flickr - NZ Defence Force.jpg
Red Checkers Air Trainers in formation
Active 1967-1973, 1980-2015.
Country  New Zealand
Branch Nzairforce.jpg Royal New Zealand Air Force
Type Aerobatic display team
Role Display team
Size Seven pilots
Garrison/HQ Central Flying School RNZAF, RNZAF Base Ohakea
Nickname(s) The Checkers
Colors Red and White
Disbanded January 2015
Red and White checkers
Aircraft flown
Trainer CT-4E Airtrainer (1998-2015), CT-4B Airtrainer (1980-1998), T-6 Texan (1967-1973)

The Red Checkers was the aerobatic/precision flying Team of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The Checkers fly the Pacific Aerospace CT-4E Airtrainer. Previous aircraft used were the CT4B and North American Harvard (T-6). Until the year 1994 the Checkers were based at Wigram. Aircraft used by the team had a nose painted in a red and white checkered pattern, but this has now been reduced to a small checkered stripe.

In 1973 the team was disbanded due to a world fuel crisis but was formed again in 1980.

The team is known for its mirror flying displays. It is the only RNZAF team to have a sustained history, the "Jetabatic" de Havilland Vampire team and "Kiwi Red" A-4 Skyhawk team lasted only a few years.

The RNZAF Red Checkers Display Team performing during RNZAF Base Auckland Open Day 2007

Red Checker pilots are senior flying instructors from the RNZAF's Central Flying School and Pilot Training Squadron situated at RNZAF Base Ohakea.

The RNZAF Red Checkers Display Team performing during RNZAF Base Auckland Open Day 2007


Squadron Leader Nick Cree was killed when the CT-4 training aircraft he was flying hit the ground while practicing aerial display manoeuvres near RNZAF Base Ohakea on 14 January 2010.[1]

On 1 March 2010 two aircraft touched during training with one aircraft incurring minor damage. The Red Checkers were grounded for the rest of the season.[2]


The Red Checkers display team was disbanded following the arrival of the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II and retirement of the CT-4 Airtrainer. They were replaced by the Black Falcons, who fly the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II.


  1. ^ Michael Forbes and Dave Burgess (15 January 2010). "Pilot gave life '100 per cent'". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Red Checkers grounded after latest accident". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. 1 March 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 

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