Reported earlier today in the Otago Daily Times, at Wanaka Airport on the South Island of New Zealand, police are investigating the source of a bullet apparently fired from a “military-style weapon” that penetrated a steel hangar and the aluminum fuselage of Arthur Dovey’s Yakovlev Yak-3 before becoming lodged in the plane’s transponder box. This Yak-3, which is one of less than 10 airworthy examples of the craft left in the world, has been owned by Dovey for about eight years now and he uses it to participate at air shows around the region.
The airport which previously allowed hunting on their grounds away from the facility’s structures, recently barred all hunting after discovering dead rabbits and bullet shells in the area of the airport’s hangars and had posted signage around the airport in February advising hunters of the new policy.
According to Constable Martin Barham, the bullet appeared to be a “.223 military round,” typically used by military personnel. In New Zealand a special military style semi-automatic license endorsement is required for people to possess such a firearm. The plane is estimated to have suffered $2,000.00NZD worth of damage though according to Dovey, it could have been much worse, if the bullet had struck the plane’s on-board pneumatic bottles or a cylinder of compressed gas that was just a few feet away, it could have caused a large explosion.