One of the aerial stars from last year’s Oscar-nominated, block-buster movie ‘Dunkirk’ will be performing at the world famous Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow in Wanaka, New Zealand between March 30th and April 1st this year.
The Hispano HA-1112 Buchon C.4K-102 belonging to Historic Flying is normally based at Duxford in England. The Spanish-built fighter masqueraded as its older cousin, the Messerschmitt Bf 109, during the aerial combat sequences with the British Supermarine Spitfires over Dunkirk during the eponymous film, and it will once again do battle with a Spitfire in the skies above Wanaka.
The Buchon will replace the Polikarpov I-16 in the air show schedule. The charismatic Russian WWII fighter aircraft, once a regular sight over Wanaka, was due to visit from its base in Germany, but had to withdraw at the last minute due to mechanical problems.
Warbirds Over Wanaka’s General Manager, Ed Taylor, expressed his team’s disappointment that the Polikarpov cannot attend, but added that they are thrilled to welcome the Buchon back after its huge success at the show two years ago. Taylor noted that, “The crowd loved seeing both the aircraft itself, plus witnessing the top flying skills of owner and pilot John Romain – one of the UK’s best warbird pilots”.
This particular Buchon, is something of a movie star. Including Christopher Nolan’s 2017 film ‘Dunkirk’, the Buchon’s movie credits include the 1968 epic ‘Battle of Britain’ as well as the 2008 Tom Cruise film ‘Valkyrie’. When the aircraft was at Wanaka in 2016, it sported the identical ‘Yellow 10’ color scheme it wore during the film ‘Battle of Britain’. This time it will be decked out in its ‘Dunkirk’ color scheme.
Meanwhile, Ed Taylor noted that the owners of the Polikarpov I-16 in Germany are understandably upset that their aircraft will not be coming to the air show this year, as is its pilot, Jurgis Kairys. “The owners had been very generous in making their aircraft available. However, during flight testing late last year, a problem was detected with the engine. The engine could not be fixed so a replacement engine was brought in from Russia.” Unfortunately, that engine has problems as well, and the owners were not able to get it repaired in time to ship the aircraft to New Zealand. Ed Taylor continued, “While it’s a major disappointment, we are sure that all warbird enthusiasts will understand that every effort was made to get the Polikarpov here, and that from time-to-time these antique aircraft experience problems. Jurgis and the owners are adamant they want to have the Polikarpov back here and have already started the planning for 2020.”
For the Warbirds Over Wanaka 30th Anniversary, information and tickets are available from www.warbirdsoverwanaka.com