Warbirds Over Wanaka, fresh from winning the coveted title of New Zealand’s Best National Event at the 2019 New Zealand Event Association annual awards, is set to launch its biennial international airshow at Easter 2020 before an anticipated crowd of more than 55,000 people.
Warbirds Over Wanaka general manager Ed Taylor says the high-profile event not only won the top award but was also named New Zealand’s Most Popular Event which is judged by the public.
The airshow, scheduled for April 10,11 & 12, is the largest of its type in the southern hemisphere and attracts visitors from all over the world.
“Over the three days, upwards of 80 aircraft will perform and included in the line-up will be at least two iconic Spitfires, two Mustangs, a P40 Kittyhawk, the world’s only airworthy Avro Anson Mk 1, two Yak-3 Russian fighters, an Avenger, a pair of T-6 Trojans, the mighty Catalina Flying Boat and a spectacular glider display.”
He says world-class formation flying will be on display across the airshow, particularly from the six-ship Roaring Forties Harvard display team and the nine-ship Yak-52 team while Auckland-based Doug Brooker will perform aerobatics in his sleek new MXS aircraft.
“Jet Racing is also making a return after a very successful debut in 2014 and involves a number of Vampire and L-39 Jet aircraft doing battle around pylons marking the tight airfield course.”
Later model Warbird aircraft will also be on display with the RNZAF, RAAF and USAF all confirmed to participate in the event.
“At the 2018 airshow the fearsome USAF F-18 Fighting Falcons were a huge drawcard along with Hawk jets from the RAAF, the RNZAF’s polished Black Falcons team display and several military transport aircraft and people should expect a similar line up in 2020,” says Ed.
Warbirds Over Wanaka is not just about what happens in the air. Gates open at 7.30am giving visitors plenty of time to inspect the ground exhibits, including aviation and craft markets, before the flying display start at 10.00am.
“The Warhorse re-enactors village is a must visit along with a world-class classic car exhibition,” says Ed. “Entertaining the crowd will be the RNZAF Show Band along with Warbirds Over Wanaka’s own WWII-themed singing group which is always a crowd favourite.”
Only in Wanaka
Warbirds Over Wanaka has several special features and one of the most popular is the Friday (April 10) display over the lake.
“The stunning mountains and clear waters of Lake Wanaka provide a distinctive backdrop for this display which is a precursor to the main event over the weekend,” says Warbirds Over Wanaka general manager Ed Taylor.
The airshow also offers people the chance to take a ride in a classic warbird aircraft.
“A number of the visiting aircraft are able to take visitors up for the ride of a lifetime –from the Spitfire, to a fast jet to the humble Tiger Moth, there’s lots of choice,” he says. “Rides Day, held on Easter Monday (April 13), helps us to find the next generation of warbirds pilots. We want to get people into flying so one day some of them may perform at our airshows.”
Bookings for Rides Day are recommended at www.warbirdsoverwanaka.com
Minimising the Footprint
Warbirds Over Wanaka is committed to minimising its carbon footprint and has worked with Wanaka Wastebusters for a number of years to divert as much waste as possible from landfill.
Warbirds Over Wanaka general manager Ed Taylor says Wastebusters operates a transfer station at the airshow ensuring all recyclable material is identified before it leaves the airfield.
“Wastebusters is also working with our suppliers to help them with new initiatives such as identifying better packaging options and the event itself provides a number of water bottle refill stations around the grounds.”
The 2020 Airshow will mark the first time ticket purchasers have the option of adding $1 to their ticket price to help offset the carbon they will generate getting to the event.
“Warbirds will match this dollar for dollar with the money going to a local waterways planting project,” says Ed. “Recently the Warbirds Over Wanaka Community Trust announced a donation of $20,000 to the Wanaka Water Project which aims to plant 24,000 trees over the next five years.”
HOW TO GET THERE: Warbirds Over Wanaka has several ticket options including the exclusive one-day Saturday (April 11) Titanium and Hurricane Tim Marquee pass.
Excellent viewing is available in the large Gold and Silver Pass grandstands. The three-day Gold Pass provides access to a well-located grandstand in the middle of the flightline as well as to a large marquee at the rear where ticket holders can relax and enjoy a food and drinks service while watching the airshow on CCTV.
All tickets are available at www.ticketrocket.co.nzor tel: 0800 224 224.