Stunt flyers prove spellbinding

00:00, Feb 11 2013
Red Checkers
RAZZLE DAZZLE: The RNZAF Red Checkers perform aerobatics above Tahunanui Beach.

The crowd-pulling power of stunt flying was highlighted yesterday when thousands gathered at Tahunanui Beach and hillside vantage points to watch the Red Checkers open their bag of aerial tricks.

It's a response that didn't go unnoticed by the five pilots. Flight Lieutenant Jimmy Davidson, a flying instructor outside the RNZAF's display season, said the team had been practising its routine since October and got a kick out of bringing enjoyment to the public.

"We love displaying to people and it's awesome getting the big crowds. It's something they don't often get a chance to see."

The team - all instructors - were back at their Ohakea base in Manawatu today.

They next take their 15-year-old Hamilton-built CT-4 Airtrainers to Napier's Art Deco weekend in Napier.

After that they return to the South Island for shows over Queenstown, Te Anau, Invercargill, Oamaru, Tekapo and Hokitika before the "show season" ends in April and the pilots return to their regular duties.

Mr Davidson said it was the same routine for each display, including the popular heart formation and culminating in the spectacular "spaghetti break". "I guess it's something cool to watch."

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The Nelson Mail