20 Jan 2013

Mosquito fighter plane star of airshow

6:42 am on 20 January 2013

Large crowds are expected again on Sunday at the final day of the Wings Over Wairarapa airshow in Masterton.

The star of this year's show is a Mosquito fighter-bomber, the last of its kind still flying.

A small group of veterans who flew the planes in WWII had the opportunity to see the bomber up close on the opening day of the show, and some were able to sit in the navigator's seat for a flight.

Former RAF Squadron Leader Allan George flew more than 70 missions in a Mosquito and relished the chance to see it again.

"It was a wonderful aeroplane, and to be here today to see it is a unique and very moving experience."

The rare fighter plane will fly for the last time in New Zealand on Sunday.

A wide range of other aircraft are on display, from jet fighters to a prototype virtual reality jetpack simulator.

The finale will be a mock attack on the airfield, complete with dogfighting, explosions and a ground battle with tanks and infantry.

Organisers said at least 15,000 people have come to Masterton for the weekend-long annual show at Hood Aerodrome, though a final figure for the first day's attendance is still to be confirmed.

WWII veterans in front of a Mosquito fighter bomber.

WWII veterans in front of a Mosquito fighter bomber. Photo: RNZ