The team organizing the world-renowned Warbirds Over Wanaka biannual air show in Wanaka, New Zealand has just announced that the former Reno air racing Yakovlev Yak-3 known as Steadfast will be joining the lineup at the event next Easter (April 10th-12th, 2020). Steadfast is a recent import, arriving from Australia in September. Her new owners, Mark O’Sullivan and Ronan Harvey, are based in Blenheim at the northern tip of New Zealand’s south island.
Steadfast is one of a small reproduction-run of the fearsome Soviet WWII-era fighter built in Romania during the early 2000s. This particular example was built originally to be a Yak-3U trainer with an ASh-82FN radial engine up front, but she was modified so that a race-tuned Pratt&Whitney R-2000 7M2 could power her instead.
As the Warbirds Over Wanaka press release states…
Steadfast was exported to the United States in the mid-2000s, embarking on an illustrious career at the Reno Air Races. During that time, the aircraft picked up nine world speed and climbing records, including reaching 655km/h over a 3km course in Utah. In 2013, the aircraft moved to Australia where it has been operating until this latest move across the Tasman Sea.
Co-owner Mark O’Sullivan is excited to have the aircraft in New Zealand and can’t wait to show her off at Wanaka. “This aircraft has it all with her beautiful lines betraying what can be brutal performance. The addition of a great smoke system means this aircraft will be something of a show-stopper at Wanaka,” says Mark.
Steadfast will be one of two Yak-3s performing at Wanaka. Graeme Frew’s Russian fighter Full Noise 35 has been a regular at Wanaka since 2012 and is one of several warbird types which will be available for joy rides over the Easter weekend.
More information about the Air Show, joyrides and how to book tickets can be found on the WOW website www.warbirdsoverwanaka.com