US plane was never booked

Last updated 12:30 28/02/2008

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The show has been postponed, the organiser is still nowhere to be found and the Waikato Times has uncovered another big international act that was never coming.

The Times spent all day outside the Hamilton base of Wings and Wheels over Waikato yesterday, waiting to get some answers from organiser Ken Ross who has millions of dollars from other people invested in his event.

And some of those people have been seen visiting Mr Ross' Abbotsford Rd apartment trying to find him.

The Waikato Times has been investigating Mr Ross' background but has decided not to publish information it is yet to verify, based on legal advice.

But the newspaper has learned that another of the event's international drawcards a US Airforce C-17 Globemaster was never booked to come.

In a flyer circulated last month, Mr Ross said the US Air Force "has accepted our invitation to fly in especially and exclusively for our air show a giant C-17 Globemaster aircraft".

Speaking from the Pentagon in Washington DC this morning, the US Air Force's deputy chief for public affairs told the Waikato Times the plane was never booked to come to Hamilton.

Lieutenant Colonel Phil Waite said a request from Mr Ross was forwarded to air force administration at the Pentagon on January 15 for consideration.

But the request was cancelled on January 17 before a decision had been made, Mr Waite said.

The Microsoft Word document the promotional flyer was written on was created on January 20.

Calls and emails from ticket holders, sponsors and investors flooded into the Waikato Times yesterday as Mr Ross refused to address public concerns for the event's future.

Two more sponsors, who had invested $25,000 each but asked not to be named, said they feared they would never see their money again.

The Wings and Wheels over Waikato website, www.airshow.co.nz, yesterday replaced a clock counting down to the event with a message that read: "Air show postponed (new dates to be published on the website shortly)."

Mr Ross also changed his cell phone voicemail message, "kindly asking" callers to email their questions to info@airshow.co.nz instead of leaving a voice message.

He did not respond to an urgent request to contact the Waikato Times.

Meanwhile, Mystery Creek Wines is planning to hold a concert for people with tickets to the air show if the event does not go ahead.

The winery paid $25,000 for pouring rights at the show and its sales and marketing manager Ray Webber said they were "trying to make the best out of a bad situation" for everyone.

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"I feel bad. There's a lot of people out there who've spent money on the air show," said Mr Webber.

Mr Webber said planning was in its early stages and performers had yet to be confirmed.

 

Do you have a photo of Ken Ross? Email us at: editor@waikatotimes.co.nz

- Waikato Times

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