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Thousands line Wānaka’s lakefront for Warbird's display

The Wānaka App

Tony O'Regan

29 March 2024, 4:00 PM

Thousands line Wānaka’s lakefront for Warbird's displayThe Lockheed Hercules C-130H displays its ‘angel wings’ over Roys Bay

Roys Bay was turned into an amphitheatre yesterday (Friday March 29) evening with thousands of people lining vantage points for a free Warbirds display.

The display showcased many of the aircraft featured at the Warbirds Over Wānaka airshow taking place this Easter weekend. 

“I love this part of Warbirds Over Wānaka,” Warbirds Over Wānaka general manager Ed Taylor said.

“We first did it [the public display] in 2014 and it was an idea we had to connect the airshow to town.”

Ed said that when the idea to perform a Friday airshow over Lake Wānaka was first suggested they thought 500 people might turn up.

“It was aimed at local families that weren’t coming out to the airshow for whatever reason and they could come down for a free airshow and it's grown into this massive thing where we have 7-8,000 people,” Ed said.

The 40-minute display started with a polished performance by Kiwi Blue, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) parachute display team which descended with smoke canisters blazing.

One of the aerial displays over Lake Wānaka on Friday.

Kiwi Blue was followed by a Seasprite helicopter performing a winching display across Roys Bay and aerial displays of old war planes including Harvards and the Yakovlev 3 known as ‘Steadfast’.

A highlight of the show was a flyover by an F-16 Fighting Falcon which is capable of reaching speeds of Mach 2.

Ed said the crowd at Wānaka Airport on Friday was very big for a Friday and that tickets for today and tomorrow are sold out.

“We’ve got an amazing lineup which helps, it's been six years so that helps, we’ve got beautiful weather so that helps, so everything is aligned after six years,” Ed said.

PHOTOS: Wānaka App