January 1991 - Matamata
As the name indicates, this airshow was to celebrate the Silver Anniversary of a flying camp to support Scout and ATC trainees. The Walshs were pioneer aviators who operated an amphibian flying school on the shores of the Waitemata harbour prior to and during WW I.
This airshow was one of those awesome occasions when everything comes together - my friend Peter Stephans and I visited the airfield the evening before the show, watched the 'Roaring Forties' display team practice, and then got to sit in the Sea Fury (to take reference photos - we're both modellers) - really, we crawled all over it. For the airshow itself, it was a beautiful summer day - we got there early, and prowled the display line, then picked a spot to sit (a gap in the flightline about halfway along the runway) and watch the show . The show was great, but we waited in anticipation for the arrival of Tim Wallis in his Mk XVI Spitfire. When he did, the controller had him circle about five miles east of the airfield - I guess Tim can't just circle - he did aero's, at low level - and of course, no-one was watching the scheduled display. So my first view of a Spitfire was this beautiful shape manouvering in the distance, just above the treeline - and then it arrived, that gorgeous Merlin sound just getting louder - to drift in for a three-pointer on an ever so appropriate grass strip - just magic! We had heard that he would park at the far end of the strip - but he taxied in and parked right in front of us - and my day was perfect. That and the fact I slipped under the ropes for some close up shots (while no-one was looking, during the Sea Fury display). This is probably the best show I have ever been to!
© 1996 Phillip Treweek, all rights reserved