Some more images from the Wanaka airshow, this time a selection of aircraft from the ’40s. I’ll start with the Supermarine Spitfire, the aeroplane that is most often used to publicise the airshow.
Here’s what the program had to say about this aircraft: “the second Spitfire, also resident in New Zealand, is owned by Auckland businessman and acrobatic champion Doug Brooker. The aircraft saw much combat action in WW11 and was converted into a two seater after the war for training purposes. It was imported into New Zealand in 2008 and is repainted in the colour scheme and markings of the Mark IX Spitfire flown in the North Africa campaign by Squadron Leader Colin Gray,New Zealand’s highest scoring Ace.”
I’ve always admired the shape of the wings, almost as much as the incredible sound of these high-powered piston-engined aircraft.
What next? What about something completely different, the Grumman Avenger? This was the largest single engine aircraft of its time, designed as a carrier-born torpedo bomber with folding wings.
Or the Curtis P-40 Kittyhawk? The RNZAF apparently had almost 300 of these in the Pacific.
A sight that could have been rather unwelcome during an action, depending on whose side you were on:
That was the Goodyear Corsair FG-1D which, after landing, taxied up to the Gold stand and folded its wings in a rather quaint salute. The RNZAF operated 400 of these and this is the last one remaining in operation. It has a 2000 HP Pratt & Whitney radial engine, can cruise at 13,500 m, travel at 700 kph and has a range of 1500 km without refuelling. (It sounds great too.)
The North American P-51D Mustang was one of the most capable fighters of that era. Its tremendous range and power made it an ideal escort for high-altitude bombers. In this shot, it is not at high altitude.
We also were treated to the sight and sopund of three Yakovlev Yak 3-M. From the program again: ” Nicknamed “Dogfighter Supreme”, the Yak 3 was the ultimate refinement in Soviet wartime fighter development. The smallest and lightest combat fighter of WW11, upon entering combat with the Luftwaffe. It was found to be so much superior to the Focke-Wulf 190 and the ME-109 that a signal was sent to all squadrons saying, ‘avoid all combat below 10,000 feet with any Yak fighter lacking an oil cooler under the nose’.”
Finally, here’s a shot of the flypast of the aircraft operated by the RNZAF; the Kittyhawks, Corsair and Grumman: