Today was practice day at Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow.

We set off from Cardrona with not too much expectation that all the flying would be able to proceed due to low cloud and spits of rain. In the event the hills seemed to hold off the weather to the distance.

We arrived about 10:45am and found the WW1 planes taxying past. Sir Tim Wallis had very kindly given 3 VIP passes to Max so that he, Noel and I could watch from the VIP tent. We had a quick chat with Tim who is a lovely chap.

WW1 planes taxying past.


Shortly followed by Yak-52s taking off for their display, some of which we had seen refuelling at Omarama 3 days before.

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Then we had a selection of biplanes and a Chipmunk…

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Chipmunk owned and flown by Bevan Dewes – Jan Chisum has mentioned him positively before. Only 20 years old and lots of good experience. The Chipmunk was used by Prince Philip to learn to fly in 1952.

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At lunchtime one of the waitresses came over and said she thought she knew me. After exhausting ‘Ski Club – not me, flying – not her’ we gave up!

As we were having lunch Jack Stafford and his wife Edith arrived. I had last met them the last time I was at WOW in 2006. Very friendly people.

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Back outside – we’re not cold, honest!


Just before the afternoon practice started a couple of commentators interviewed Tim and Max. The chap interviewing Tim is Trevor Graham who had told Max earlier that he is a member of West London Aero Club (WLAC) at White Waltham, UK – which is where Noel and I fly from. So Max took us over to meet him. We didn’t recognise – he said he doesn’t fly but helps set up the WLAC airshow every year for ‘them’ and gets free membership for doing that. A bit later Trevor was interviewing Mike Mangold about the jet racing and Trevor mentioned ‘my mate Paul Bonhomme’. Mike Mangold used to fly in the Red Bull Air Race alongside Paul Bonhomme (who grew up at WLAC and is considered part of the club).

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The jets racing – line abreast at the start.


The jets in the distance – not nice weather over there!

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Noel and Max.


After the jet racing the three of us went for a walk and met up with Noel’s friend Richard who has just become the South Island Foxbat distributor but due to all the bad weather everywhere in NZ the Foxbat for him to show people hadn’t turned up.

We then met up with the son of Russell Clarke, a 485 (NZ) Squadron friend of Max’s for a chat.

Avro Anson.










Still NOT cold… 🙂


The gliders about to launch – we went up in them at Omarama on Tuesday (3 days ago) with those pilots.


Richie McCaw (All Blacks Captain) being interviewed during the gliding. Max said he knew his grandfather (486 Sqn) and that Jack Stafford (also 486 Sqn) had introduced him to Max. Richie’s Dad was the tow plane pilot for the gliders.

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Dumping water as they land.

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A couple of vintage cars towed the gliders away.


The practice finished at 3pm so we drove to the lake front as a WW1 airshow was to happen at 4:30pm.


An amphibian.

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WW1 airshow over the lakefront.

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One of the shooting downs was done very well.

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It wasn’t quite as cold as yesterday but by the end of the flying we were glad to get in the car and get warm. We drove back to our place and had dinner at the Cardrona Hotel almost next door.