Just Over Two Weeks to Go Until Warbirds Over Wanaka 2024

Engineers and pilots working hard to ready aircraft and display routines for New Zealand's biggest airshow

Another crowd favourite, the Grumman TBM-3E Avenger "Plonky", getting near the end of some major engineering work in time for Wanaka. [Photo via Warbirds Over Wanaka]
Another crowd favourite, the Grumman TBM-3E Avenger "Plonky", getting near the end of some major engineering work in time for Wanaka. [Photo via Warbirds Over Wanaka]


PRESS RELEASE

Brendon Deere and his team at the Biggin Hill Historic Aircraft Centre at RNZAF Ohakea can’t wait for Warbirds Over Wanaka this Easter. They’ve been on a mission to have not one but two magnificent aircraft on the flightline and that mission is nearing the end.

Sean Perrett has been practicing his debut Mustang display at RNZAF Base Ohakea in preparation for Warbirds Over Wanaka. [Photo via Warbirds Over Wanaka]
Squadron Leader Sean Perrett RNZAF has been practicing his debut Mustang display at RNZAF Base Ohakea in preparation for Warbirds Over Wanaka. [Photo via Warbirds Over Wanaka]

First up was the stunning restoration job on ex-RNZAF P-51D Mustang NZ2423. The aircraft was finally test flown late last year (as previously reported here by Vintage Aviation News) and is set to make its airshow debut at Wanaka at the end of this month. And while the spotlight has been on the Mustang, also sitting patiently in the corner at Biggin Hill, has been the Grumman TBM-3E Avenger waiting for some much needed love and attention. Affectionately known as Plonky, the Avenger has moved several steps closer to flight with the fitting of a new engine and refitting of cowls and the propeller. Final hydraulic tests and engine runs are now being done to prepare it for its first Wanaka airshow since 2016.

We can’t wait to have this impressive aircraft back on the flightline for the first time in eight years. The Avenger is one of three Air Force Heritage Flight of New Zealand aircraft which will be at Wanaka, the others being the aforementioned Mustang and Biggin Hill’s Spitfire Mk.IX PV270.

Spitfire PV270's new pilot is Squadron Leader Stu Anderson RNZAF, who has also been working hard to develop his routine for the airshow. [Photo via Warbirds Over Wanaka]
Spitfire PV270’s new pilot is Squadron Leader Stu Anderson RNZAF, who has also been working hard to develop his routine for the airshow. [Photo via Warbirds Over Wanaka]

PRESSURE ON SATURDAY TICKETS

Warbirds Over Wanaka organizers are facing the very real possibility of not having any tickets left available at the gate on the Saturday of the international airshow, for the first time in the event’s 36-year history. There has been huge interest in the first Wanaka airshow in six years after 2020 and 2022 were cancelled due to Covid. General Manager Ed Taylor said while they expect to have tickets available on the gate on the Sunday, and the practice day, Friday, they can’t say the same for Easter Saturday. “Saturday is always our most popular day but for some reason it’s way more popular this time around.  I just think airshow fans have decided they’re not prepared to wait another day and are snapping up Saturday tickets flat out.” Taylor said.

Makings its long-awaited Wanaka debut this Easter is Ronan Harvey and Mark O'Sullivan's record-holding former Reno racer Yak-3U-R2000 "Steadfast". [Photo via Warbirds Over Wanaka]
Makings its long-awaited Wanaka debut this Easter is Ronan Harvey and Mark O’Sullivan’s record-holding former Reno racer Yak-3U-R2000 “Steadfast”. [Photo via Warbirds Over Wanaka]
If the trend continues there is a possibility there will be no gate sales on the Saturday. “The only thing I can tell people is if you want to guarantee a General Admission ticket for the Saturday then you should get them soon,” Taylor said. Airshow organizers are repeating their warning about people buying tickets from any site other than Ticketek. We have heard of people paying hugely inflated prices for Warbirds tickets on re-seller sites such as Viagogo and there’s no way to know if the tickets are actually real or not. Please make sure you are on the  official Ticketek website before you buy your tickets.
Fans go crazy for Mosquito

The chance to see a WWII Mosquito fighter-bomber fly has resonated with Warbird fans on both sides of the Tasman. Ticket sales jumped when news of the Mosquito became public a couple of weeks ago. Australian Ross Birnie is one Warbird enthusiast who still can’t quite believe he’s finally going to see the “Wooden Wonder” fly. “The line-up at Wanaka this year was pretty stunning already but the Mossie is just the icing on the cake.  I know there are a lot of fans over here in Oz scrambling to get to Wanaka,” Birnie said.

The restoration team Avspecs is working hard to ensure Mosquito NZ2308 is ready for her display at Wanaka in the hands of Steve Hinton. The aircraft will wear an RNZAF scheme similar to that of TV959, pictured here. [Photo via Warbirds Over Wanaka]
The restoration team Avspecs is working hard to ensure Mosquito NZ2308 is ready for her display at Wanaka in the hands of Steve Hinton. The aircraft will wear an RNZAF scheme similar to that of TV959, pictured here. [Photo via Warbirds Over Wanaka]

Andy takes out Advanced title

Warbirds Over Wanaka Display Planner Andy Love is pretty chuffed with himself having taken out the Advanced title at last weekend’s National Aerobatic Championships at Masterton. Andy is one of the most enthusiastic people around and here at Wanaka we are super proud of him taking out this title. Airshow Event Manager Andrena Davis says Andy puts so much effort into making sure we have “the right aircraft in the right place at the right time”.

A reminder to those wanting to fly private aircraft into the airshow for one or multiple days you will need to book a parking space. We have limited aircraft parking this year. To guarantee your park book via our website.

Warbirds Over Wanaka will continue to accept cash and cards for all purchases at the airshow. However, we will no longer have cash out facilities at the event. This means no ATMs at the airshow next Easter. So if you want to use cash you will need to bring it yourself. If you don’t want to use cash then all purchases will be able to be made using cards. We urge our international visitors to look at getting an international debit card, for example a Wise card, which you can load up with NZ currency before getting to the airshow. We have a range of Warbirds Over Wanaka merchandise for sale in our online shop. Remember there is a minimum order of NZ$40.

If you would like to help the Warbirds Over Wanaka recover from our significant losses after cancellation of the 2020 and 2022 airshows, we would be very grateful for your donation. Please donate $50 here and please donate $100 here. If you have already donated we thank you for your support. Tickets for Warbirds Over Wanaka 2024 can be purchased exclusively through Ticketek.

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