Warbirds make flying visit

18:09, Mar 26 2013
classic fighters
IN FORMATION: The classic fighters fly over Nelson on Tuesday afternoon.

They came, we saw, they left. Three classic war planes flew in formation over Nelson today, as a forerunner to this weekend's Classic Fighters spectacle in Marlborough.

The formation was spearheaded by Nelson pilot Bill Reid in an Avro Anson plus two Nanchangs, which will took off from Omaka in Marlborough earlier today then headed to Nelson.

The 1936 Avro Anson took to the skies again last year after a 10-year restoration and is the only airworthy-certified Avro Anson Mark 1 in the world.

Avro Anson Mark 1
RARE BIRD: The world's only airworthy-certified Avro Anson Mark 1 was part of the formation flying over Nelson on Tuesday.

The formation flew in a circuit over Wakefield, Brightwater, Richmond and Motueka, then low over Nelson Airport before a slow climb, taking in Tahunanui and the Nelson waterfront before turning over Port Nelson towards the edge of the city, and over Atawhai as they headed north out of town and back to Marlborough.

The theme this year of the Classic Fighters show over the coming Easter weekend is "The Yanks are coming" - in other words how the Americans went to war and the impact they had.

Organisers say the theme has attracted "unprecedented interest" from American classic car owners, who are expected at the show with some of New Zealand's rarest classic American cars.


New Zealand film maker and classic plane collector Peter Jackson's world famous Fokker Triplanes will feature in this year's show, with a full turn out of seven expected. Once more the legendary triplanes will go up against their British and French rivals in "all out" action dog fights.

Marlborough diva Sarah Brown is working with a number of local acts, and the Nelson Jazz Club Big Band to create a complementary music programme.

The band will perform 1940s style big band hits including Glen Miller and Benny Goodman.

The air show incorporates theatre elements with spectacular props and grounds displays. At the last show two years ago a replica V2 rocket with launching truck was spectacularly blown to pieces at the end of the show by allied fighters.

Organisers are remaining tight-lipped over what is in store this time.