Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow has announced that long-time Warbirds Over Wanaka display pilot Graham Bethell will be performing his final ever low-level aerobatic display in his P-51D Mustang ZK-TAF this Easter. Graham has been a fantastic supporter of our airshow in the past and for 2024 he has donated a 20-minute ride for us to use as a fund raiser as we continue to recover from losing two straight airshows. This ride will be auctioned off by way of a silent auction at the airshow. Call into our information kiosk in our main merchandise tent any time from Friday morning to 3pm on the Sunday and lodge your bid: you could be flying high in a WWII fighter aircraft the very next day.
Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow has also confirmed the United States Air Force is supporting the event this Easter with both the F-16 fighter jet and C-17 demonstration teams heading down under. The F-16 Fighting Falcon team is based at Misawa in Japan with the jets being escorted to New Zealand by a KC-10 Extender tanker aircraft which will provide air-to-air refuelling. Meanwhile the C-17 Globemaster III team is coming from their base in Hawaii.
Warbirds Over Wanaka General Manager Ed Taylor said the team was thrilled to have these aircraft confirmed. “The United States Air Force has been a major supporter of our airshow over the years. Their teams always put on top displays and their personnel on the ground are always great ambassadors for their country.”
“The F-16 is such an iconic warbird and not just because it can reach Mach 2 (2,000+ kph). The aircraft first flew in 1974 and is still being manufactured today – 50 years later. What a way to celebrate your 50th with a ‘fast and furious’ display at Wanaka,” Taylor said. “The F-16 is relatively small and light giving it amazing maneuverability – perfect for showing off in front of a big crowd.”
Not so small and fast but equally impressive is the huge C-17 Globemaster III which is set to fill the sky above Wanaka during the airshow. The American participation backs up an impressive line-up of modern military aircraft already confirmed by the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). Highlights include the New Zealand airshow debut for the RNZAF’s new Boeing P-8K Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft which has replaced the Lockheed P-3K Orion, and what’s expected to be an emotional farewell to the Lockheed C-130H Hercules which is performing its last major airshow display before being retired.
The RNZAF is also bringing the Air Force Heritage Flight of New Zealand, including the Spitfire Mk.IX, recently-restored P-51D Mustang and Grumman Avenger. They will be flying with the modern Beechcraft T-6C Texan II trainers which will also perform as the Black Falcons aerobatic team. Fans of helicopters will get to see all three RNZAF types in action at once, along with the Kiwi Blue parachute team.
- The only remaining grandstand seats available are Silver Friday passes
- All children up to the age of 16 are FREE on Friday
- There are heaps of General Admission tickets still available – both 3-day and individual day passes
- To book click here: https://premier.