World War I icon back in the skies

BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 12:56 01/02/2011
Tim Hamilton

Handy man: NMIT graduate aircraft maintenance engineer Tim Hamilton helped install a repaired engine into a Fokker Dr 1 triplane which will fly again for the first time since 2007 at the 2011 Classic Fighters show at Omaka Aerodrome in April.

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A historic World War I triplane will be wheeled out of the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre and flown at the 2011 Classic Fighters show after its engine was repaired just before Christmas.

The replica Fokker Dr 1 triplane was grounded when it suffered engine problems during the 2007 show, and has not flown since.

This year's event is themed V for Victory, and will focus on the second half of World War II as Allied forces take up the fight from England.

More than a dozen World War I aircraft are expected to take part in a Great War segment of the show, which will feature mock dog fights and ground theatre.

The event will take place at the Omaka Aerodrome from April 22 to April 24.

Classic Fighters Airshow chairman Graham Orphan said the Fokker Dr 1 triplane would be one of seven, operated by The Vintage Aviator Ltd, flying at the show.

The "magnificent seven" appeared in the 2007 show in the largest display of triplanes since 1918, Mr Orphan said.

The aircraft all appeared in the colours of the German squadron known as Jasta 11, which was led by Manfred von Richthofen, also known as the Red Baron. The aircraft had a distinctive shape and was a symbol of World War I, he said.

"We are absolutely thrilled to be able to see these machines in the air together again.

"To see one in flight is a treat, more than one, a delight, but seven in the air together is just remarkable and represents a great privilege for all who attend the show."

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- The Marlborough Express

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