Bush pilots' flying skills delight crowd

Organiser Craig Anderson and sponsor Dr Dave Baldwin.
Organiser Craig Anderson and sponsor Dr Dave Baldwin.
Nigel Griffith, from the Kapiti Coast, flies a Piper PA 18A-160 in the S.T.O.L Light Touring Category.
Nigel Griffith, from the Kapiti Coast, flies a Piper PA 18A-160 in the S.T.O.L Light Touring Category.
 Peter Anderson waits for his slot to take off in a Piper PA25-235
Peter Anderson waits for his slot to take off in a Piper PA25-235
 Healthy Bastards bush pilot championships at Omaka Air field, Marlborough
Healthy Bastards bush pilot championships at Omaka Air field, Marlborough
Chief flying instructor at Marlborough Aero club Travers Tennant directs take offs and landings. In the background Bruce Gibson from Blenheim in a Piper PA180-160
Chief flying instructor at Marlborough Aero club Travers Tennant directs take offs and landings. In the background Bruce Gibson from Blenheim in a Piper PA180-160
Jock Struthers, from Blenheim, flying a Zenith CH701
Jock Struthers, from Blenheim, flying a Zenith CH701
Nigel Griffith, from the Kapiti Coast, flies a Piper PA 18A-160 in the S.T.O.L Light Touring Category.
Nigel Griffith, from the Kapiti Coast, flies a Piper PA 18A-160 in the S.T.O.L Light Touring Category.
Pilot Steve Scott from Marlborough prepares to take off in a Cessna C172TD competing in the S.T.O.L Light Touring Category.
Pilot Steve Scott from Marlborough prepares to take off in a Cessna C172TD competing in the S.T.O.L Light Touring Category.
Pilot Innes Bint from Marlborough returns after flying in the S.T.O.L Light Touring Category in a Piper PA18-160.
Pilot Innes Bint from Marlborough returns after flying in the S.T.O.L Light Touring Category in a Piper PA18-160.
Steve Scott from Marlborough flies a Cessna C172TD in the S.T.O.L Light Touring Category
Steve Scott from Marlborough flies a Cessna C172TD in the S.T.O.L Light Touring Category
Deane Philip, from Kaiapoi, flying a Zenith CH701 takes off in the S.T.O.L. Microlight Category.
Deane Philip, from Kaiapoi, flying a Zenith CH701 takes off in the S.T.O.L. Microlight Category.

Grey skies didn't stop pilots from all over New Zealand enjoying the second annual Healthy Bastards Bush Pilot Championships on Saturday.

Sixty-seven small aircraft took part in the event, which attracted hundreds of spectators to Blenheim's Omaka air field.

A group of five men had prime seating, as their fold-out chairs lined the fence closest to the landing strip.

Richard Davidson, from Rangiora, flying a C180A comes in to land in the S.T.O.L Heavy Touring Category.
Richard Davidson, from Rangiora, flying a C180A comes in to land in the S.T.O.L Heavy Touring Category.

Masterton's Ron Williams was one of them.

Mr Williams said they had been there since the gates opened.

"We will hang out here all day.

Twins Hugh and Grace Midgley, 17 months, are held by their mother Tess Midgley, from Marlborough.
Twins Hugh and Grace Midgley, 17 months, are held by their mother Tess Midgley, from Marlborough.

"It's great fun."

The group of friends travel to air shows all around New Zealand; four of them held private pilot licences, and had long loved planes.

Marlborough Aero Club president Craig Anderson said he was happy with the event.

Twins Sam and Patrick Andrew, 5, watch the planes through the fence.
Twins Sam and Patrick Andrew, 5, watch the planes through the fence.

"The day was a roaring success."

Twenty of the planes were from Marlborough, and the rest had come from around the country.

"We had some from Queenstown, Invercargill, Auckland and everywhere in between," he said.

"The weather was great, the pilots had a great time and everyone is raving about it."

The competition involved planes taking off and landing in the shortest possible distances as well as precision landing.

The Marlborough Express