Storms fail to dampen excitement for airshow crowds

The RNZAF Parachute Display Team, Kiwi Blue in action.
The RNZAF Parachute Display Team, Kiwi Blue in action.
The RNZAF Parachute Display Team, Kiwi Blue in action.
The RNZAF Parachute Display Team, Kiwi Blue in action.
YAK 52 team formation aerobatics display.
YAK 52 team formation aerobatics display.
The YAK52 team formation aerobatics display.
The YAK52 team formation aerobatics display.
The YAK 52 team formation aerobatics display.
The YAK 52 team formation aerobatics display.
The YAK 52 team formation aerobatics display.
The YAK 52 team formation aerobatics display.
The YAK 52 team formation aerobatics display.
The YAK 52 team formation aerobatics display.
Caitlin Wang, 18 months, on a day out with dad Meng Wang.
Caitlin Wang, 18 months, on a day out with dad Meng Wang.
A plane flies through pyrotechnic displays during the Warbirds over Wanaka.
A plane flies through pyrotechnic displays during the Warbirds over Wanaka.
The YAK52 team formation aerobatics display.
The YAK52 team formation aerobatics display.
The YAK 52 team formation aerobatics display.
The YAK 52 team formation aerobatics display.
Members of the group 'Frankie Singers' perform to the crowd.
Members of the group 'Frankie Singers' perform to the crowd.
The RNZAF C130 Hercules makes a pass over the airfield.
The RNZAF C130 Hercules makes a pass over the airfield.
Taylor Jennings, 4 from Wanaka, plays with his toy plane.
Taylor Jennings, 4 from Wanaka, plays with his toy plane.
An Areo L-29 Albatros (L) and an Areo L-39 Albatros take part in the Jet racing event.
An Areo L-29 Albatros (L) and an Areo L-39 Albatros take part in the Jet racing event.
Warbirds over Wanaka. Jack Pepper, 4, from Christchurch, sits on dad Ross Pepper's shoulders.
Warbirds over Wanaka. Jack Pepper, 4, from Christchurch, sits on dad Ross Pepper's shoulders.
Two DE Havilland Vampire's take part in the Jet racing event.
Two DE Havilland Vampire's take part in the Jet racing event.
190414 News photo: Daniel Tobin / Fairfaxmedia NZ. Warbirds over Wanaka International airshow. Two DE Havilland Vampire's take part in the Jet racing event.
190414 News photo: Daniel Tobin / Fairfaxmedia NZ. Warbirds over Wanaka International airshow. Two DE Havilland Vampire's take part in the Jet racing event.
Mya Smart (L), 7, and Alexcya Smart, 4, from Alexandra.
Mya Smart (L), 7, and Alexcya Smart, 4, from Alexandra.
The Frankie Singers in action.
The Frankie Singers in action.
A helicopter flies between stands of people in the civil helicopter display.
A helicopter flies between stands of people in the civil helicopter display.
The crowd watch from the gold ticket stand.
The crowd watch from the gold ticket stand.
An Areo L-39 Albatros takes part in the Jet racing event.
An Areo L-39 Albatros takes part in the Jet racing event.
Jurgis Kairys in the Sukhoi 29 races Greg Murphy in a Lamborghini down the runway.
Jurgis Kairys in the Sukhoi 29 races Greg Murphy in a Lamborghini down the runway.
WWI era planes fly over the hills at the Warbirds over Wanaka International airshow.
WWI era planes fly over the hills at the Warbirds over Wanaka International airshow.
Jets take part in the first jet racing event.
Jets take part in the first jet racing event.
Yak 52s' put on a show.
Yak 52s' put on a show.
An Aveo Anson flys by.
An Aveo Anson flys by.
Biplane pilot lands.
Biplane pilot lands.
A Curtiss P-40 Kittyawk (L) and a FG-1D Corsair fly in formation.
A Curtiss P-40 Kittyawk (L) and a FG-1D Corsair fly in formation.
Crowd watch on at the Warbirds over Wanaka International airshow.
Crowd watch on at the Warbirds over Wanaka International airshow.
A FG-1D Corsair flys by.
A FG-1D Corsair flys by.
Supermarine Spitfire in action.
Supermarine Spitfire in action.
An Aero L-29 Albatros competes in the jet race.
An Aero L-29 Albatros competes in the jet race.
A P-40 Kittyawk lands.
A P-40 Kittyawk lands.
A glider takes off.
A glider takes off.
Gyrate Calidus flys by.
Gyrate Calidus flys by.
Yak 52s' put on a show.
Yak 52s' put on a show.
Yak 52's put on a show at the Warbirds over Wanaka International airshow.
Yak 52's put on a show at the Warbirds over Wanaka International airshow.
Aero L-29 jets, left and Vampire jets fly low over Wanaka Airport during practice (on Wednesday after noon) for the Gigatown Wanaka Jet Racing at Warbirds over Wanaka.
Aero L-29 jets, left and Vampire jets fly low over Wanaka Airport during practice (on Wednesday after noon) for the Gigatown Wanaka Jet Racing at Warbirds over Wanaka.

The 2014 Warbirds over Wanaka International Airshow has been hailed as one the most successful in the show's history despite only 12 private aircraft being able to fly in because of storms battering the country.

The event, in its 14th biennial year drew crowds of more then 50,000.

Event organiser Ed Taylor said numbers were about the same as the 2012 event but were affected by adverse weather across the country that closed airports and roads. Usually between 80 and 100 private aircraft were flown in for the show, he said.

ON A HIGH: Aviation enthusiast Taylor Jennings, 4, from Wanaka, plays with his toy plane at the Warbirds over Wanaka International Airshow at the weekend. 
ON A HIGH: Aviation enthusiast Taylor Jennings, 4, from Wanaka, plays with his toy plane at the Warbirds over Wanaka International Airshow at the weekend. 

"We've had an absolute stunning result considering so many people couldn't make it."

Those attending spent more money than past years, with ATM money withdrawals double the amount of the last event.

Jet aircraft racing was a major drawcard this year and because of its success, it was hoped it would return for the 2016 airshow, Taylor said.

It was held for the first time at the event and the first time outside of the United States.

There were no alliances in the sky between New Zealand and United States jet pilots as they raced in the headline event.

It was war. Three pilots on each team raced around the 15km course marked by giant inflatable pylons and were awarded six points for winning and one point for placing sixth.

They reached speeds more than 550kmh and flew as low as 20 metres from the ground.

The competition was fierce, with a photo finish needed on Saturday - day two of the three-day event.

Team New Zealand snatched the win from the United States Team Reno, the more experienced jet racers, with a total of 38 points to 25.

Team New Zealand lead jet pilot Brett Emeny said the other team raced harder than he thought, flew low and cornered tightly, leaving no room to pass by.

However, by day two the New Zealand team had "sussed it out and delivered it to them".

The New Zealand team, also consisting of Paul Hughan, and Peter Vause, took the top three placings in yesterday's race to finish the event on a high.

Team Reno consisted of Kiwi expat Jono Kokshoorn and "legends" of the Reno Air Racing Championships Lee Behel and Rick Vandam.

New Zealand motorsport legend Greg Murphy was also able to make it a double-win for New Zealand after beating World aerobatic champion and Lithuanian pilot Jurgis Kairys in racing along the runway.

Murphy, driving a Lamborghini Supercar at speeds over 250kmh, bet Kairys, flying his Sukhoi 29 aircraft upside down, in two races along the track.

 

The Southland Times