The pilot of a Defence Force aircraft escaped uninjured when he was forced to make a landing near the Desert Road just north of Waiouru on Friday afternoon.
The CT-4E aircraft, which is the lead plane for the Red Checkers aerobatic flying team, was travelling from its base at Ohakea in the Manawatu to Tauranga for the city's air show this weekend.
The Defence Force says the pilot was unharmed but the plane suffered damage in the forced landing.
A spokesperson says the emergency landing was due to an engine problem and the incident is under investigation.
The "Red Checkers" appearance at the Tauranga air show has been cancelled because of the incident.