17 Jan 2015

Aviation on show in Wairarapa

4:53 pm on 17 January 2015

Biplanes through to screaming jets have been on display this afternoon at the Wings Over Wairarapa airshow in Masterton.

planes at Wings over Wairarapa

Photo: RNZ / Kim Griggs

Thousands of people have turned out at Hood Aerodrome today to see the planes which span 100 years of aviation history.

There have been dazzling aerobatics, flighter fly pasts and the Air Force has been showing off its old and new helicopters.

World War I planes have also taken to the skies this afternoon and in a first a plane built to the specifications of the New Zealand aviator Richard Pearse, who many claim was the first person to fly, has taxied the length of a runway.

There is also a lot of classic military hardware on display including what is thought to be a record number of Brengun carriers.

BE 2F oldest plane in NZ and only one of its kind still flying.

BE 2F oldest plane in NZ and only one of its kind still flying. Photo: RNZ / Kim Griggs

The planes on show range from a Blériot Experimental 2F, the oldest plane in New Zealand and the only one of its kind still flying, to Strikemaster Jets, to the very latest in Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, otherwise known as drones.

This year, visitors are being treated to a display of the World War I airplanes restored or reproduced by the Vintage Aviator Limited.

John Lanham, who is the flying display coordinator for Wings over Wairarapa, and who flies planes for TVAL, said the aircraft are just as when they were first flown.

"Aircraft are being recreated in absolutely perfect original condition exactly as they were one hundred years ago."

One of the originals TVAL has restored is the rare Blériot Experimental 2F or BE2F.

"The aircraft has been rebuilt totally by the Vintage Aviator," said Mr Lanham.

Thousands are expected to descend on Hood Aerodrome in Masterton this weekend to see an array of planes that celebrate a century of aviation.

Thousands are expected to descend on Hood Aerodrome in Masterton this weekend to see an array of planes that celebrate a century of aviation. Photo: RNZ / Kim Griggs

"It has an original RAF engine. It's a V8 engine. It's in a V configuration with a big four-bladed propeller. But the engine is only 85, 90 horsepower. It's a huge aeroplane to be pulled along by 90 horsepower."

Another plane that visitors to Wings over Wairarapa will see from an even earlier era is a reproduction of the plane that Richard Pearse is believed to have flown on 1902 or 1903.

The RPT - the Richard Pearse Two - was built by Ivan Mudrovcich of Auckland .

"I knew of Pearse and I was always interested in aeroplanes," Mr Mudrovcich said.

"I think it's a good copy. That's my story anyway."

More than 20,000 people are expected to attend the displays at the biennial air show in Masterton today and Sunday.

The visitors watching the practice runs on Friday were already impressed.

It is Chris Uruski's fourth time at the air show.

"I just like flight," said Mr Uruski. "I just enjoy watching the planes. It doesn't matter what they are. Whether they are First World War - or the jets - or anything in between."

Recreating Richard Pearse's plane.

Recreating Richard Pearse's plane. Photo: RNZ / Kim Griggs

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