Huge Wings show best ever
It was an extraordinary weekend for Wairarapa, the region having hosted its biggest organised event ever.'
The biennial Wings Over Wairarapa air show not only smashed attendance records but delivered one of the most impressive aviation events New Zealand has seen.
About 30,000 attended over three days to see some seriously classy aircraft flit about the restriction-free skies over Masterton's Hood Aerodrome. Great weather, top-notch organisation and an aviation lineup like no other made sure that aeroplane geeks and casual visitors were all satisfied.
Event organiser Liz Pollock has been in charge of pulling all the elements together for Wings since 2005 and she says this was the biggest in terms of visitor numbers as well as the inclusion of aircraft such as the de Havilland Mosquito which has never before been seen in New Zealand skies..
"There were some seriously impressive flying displays. The atmosphere was great. Everyone genuinely had a good time. That is satisfying for an enormous number of people.
"It was a quite genuinely international event and I think from a Wairarapa perspective that's got extraordinary flow on effects. The Wairarapa is known now around the world for putting on an international standard air show," she says.
Wings Over Wairarapa began in 1999 and has been running every second year since then. Last time it was scheduled in 2011 the air show was hit hard by a weather bomb on the Saturday, washing out the event and leaving organisers taking a huge hit.
Ms Pollock and air show director and founder Tom Williams breathed a sigh of relief when the last plane was in safely on Sunday evening.
"Tom and I, when that last plane landed, just looked at each other and I burst into tears," she says.
Having endured the disappointment of 2011 makes this year's success more satisfying, she says.
"It certainly is the biggest Wings show there has ever been and it was a phenomenal success, but it's been four years since we've had one that's worked and that's a long time between drinks."