Spirits high, despite rain grounding Tiger Moth safari

Pilot Lachlan Falconer at the Mandeville FIy In.
Kavinda Herath

Pilot Lachlan Falconer at the Mandeville FIy In.

Two of the Tiger Moths at the Mandeville Fly In flew over the top of Mount Cook earlier this week on a South Island safari.

John Baynes, of the Croydon Aviation Heritage Trust, said about 20 planes landed at Mandeville on Saturday to take part in the event.

"We've been to all the top spots in the South Island, culminating in ending up here at Mandeville.

"Two of the planes flew over Mt Cook so that was a bit of a first - you have to dress for the occasion on that one."

Sunday's rain temporarily grounded them but they would be heading for Haast Pass and eventually Motueka when the weather cleared.

"We've been stopped in our tracks and they're all sitting in the cafe looking out the window at the rain and drinking coffee, so they'll be up all night.

"As soon as it clears we'll be off again. We've had all sorts of weather along the way, some very strong winds and then we've had some absolutely perfect conditions."

The safari was a "tremendous" way to see the country, he said.

"Tiger Moths don't go particularly fast. My wife has been driving around with the support bus which carries fuel for us and we've found that she can keep up with us.

"By the time we get the aircraft on the ground she's driving through the gate."

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Crowd numbers at the Fly In on Saturday had been pleasing, he said.

"We were pleased with the turnout, the people that came, given it wasn't the warmest of days and the sun didn't manage to break through." 

Crowds were treated to an aerial display by pilot Keith Skilling, flying a World War II-era Harvard.

"We were very privileged to see him put it through it's paces.

"It was pleasing to see so many people interested in aeroplanes of a bygone era."

 - Stuff

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