Warbirds Over Wanaka’s Barnstorming Day

While the world famous Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow was unable to take place this past Easter due to the pandemic, the organizers in Wanaka, New Zealand are still hard at work helping to promote vintage military aviation activities in the nation. They released the following news about a day of barnstorming which is due to occur in August, releasing the following press statement (lightly edited) about the event which will feature two significant WWII-era warbirds, an Avro Anson Mk.I bomber and a Yakovlev Yak-3 fighter.


Two warbird owners in New Zealand are determined to do their bit to ensure the southern hemisphere’s largest vintage military air show returns to Wanaka in two years’ time. Nelson-based Bill Reid, along with Graeme Frew from Blenheim, are bringing their aircraft to Wanaka this August, giving people in the south island an opportunity to take a ride in a classic World War II aircraft. Reid will be bringing his former RAF/RAAF Avro Anson Mk.1 MH120, the only one of its variant flying anywhere in the world today. Following a 10-year restoration effort this aircraft, which flew in both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force, made its air show debut at Warbirds Over Wanaka in 2014. Meanwhile, Graeme Frew’s Soviet-designed Yak-3 fighter will provide a wholly different kind of flying experience to the Anson. Nicknamed Full Noise, the fighter is a Reno Air Race veteran, first flying in the world’s fastest motor sport during the 1990s. When Frew took part in 2017, he flew Full Noise to victory in the Silver Unlimited Race, and became the first pilot to qualify for the Gold Unlimited in their first year of racing, quite a distinction!

Warbirds Over Wanaka General Manager, Ed Taylor, says it’s going to be great to have at least a couple of Warbirds buzzing around Wanaka Airport for a few days after the disappointment of having to cancel this year’s big Airshow. “It’s been well documented that we took a significant financial hit from having to cancel because of Covid-19, so it was great to get a call from Graeme with an idea to bring the aircraft to Wanaka and to offer rides to southern aviation fans with Warbirds getting a donation at the end of the weekend. Wanaka Airport is also helping out with support during the visit,” added Ed.

Taylor continued, “We just love having the old aircraft in town, and we know there will be lots of people from around the region who’ll come just to see these aircraft in action. Graeme and Bill are both absolutely passionate about their aircraft and so when people book a ride what they get is a full aviation experience learning all about the aircraft’s history and a whole lot more.”

Weather permitting, the aircraft will be at Wanaka Airport from Friday August 21st until Monday August 24th.  For more information about the joy rides on offer, please contact Warbirds Over Wanaka via e-mail at info@warbirdsoverwanaka.co.nz

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