April 21-23, 2000 - Luggate Airfield, Wanaka
This is the second of two pages describing my attendance at the Warbirds over Wanaka 2000 Airshow. This was my second time at the airshow - click for an account of my first Wanaka airshow . Like that visit, I was one of the photographers covering the show for NZ Aviation News. The page is split in two to ease loading (about 70 pictures per page). The first page is here A compilation of the Warhorses pictures can be found here.
Day 3 - Sunday April 23: We were on the road early again - but this time there was no queue. Maybe it was the effect of the weather. Again we parked, brewed up and had breakfast. This time we were entertained by the kids in the van next door who really had it rocking. We headed out to see what was happening a little before 9am.
My first call was at the Warhorses display, where I met Rod Wood, an internet acquaintance. (He'd recognised himself in some of my Wanaka 98 photos and contacted me.). Ron told me that Graeme Barber would organise me a ride in the Warhorses parade - cool! The only problem was I couldn't find Graeme. So I went down to the media office and caught the end of the briefing. Had another chat with Chris Hinch, then headed back to the Warhorses. Ran into Greg Olsen, then talked to Rod again. Still no Graeme. I was walking toward the aircraft park when I saw him coming on his bike - relief. Arranged to meet at 12.30pm.
Went and got some pictures of the line up in the aircraft park. It was still pretty gloomy (the cloud had lifted a little), but not real photography weather - but you take your chances as you get them, and I didn't know when I'd get another. Checked out the P-40s and the I-16s. Got a bunch of I-153 pictures. Then I had a look in the AFC hangar, where the Mustang was undergoing a change of appearance. When the aircraft was displayed, many people thought it was a new aircraft.
Worked down the park to where the Hurricane sat. One of my objectives this trip was a Hurricane walkaround - so I spent a bit of time, and used a bit of film! Along the way I also got a good look at the Poli's - both the I-16 and the I-153. Also checked out the newly re-restored P-40K, looking fine in Aleutian Tiger head markings. The aircraft had been operated by the AFC until an accident in October 1997. It was rebuilt at Pionair AvSpecs for Dick Thurman. I continued on in search of the DH90 Dragonfly which was my other objective. Unfortunately it had been weathered in at Mandeville. Them's the breaks! I did get a look at the DH-89 Rapide, and the DH-83 Fox Moth. Had another up close look at the Seasprite. Talked to Jim Gilmour, one of the display pilots. Also met Joanne Carson, a reporter with the Marlborough Express. Joanne has also co-authored a book on Safe Air, and has shares in a restoration project. Next stop was a look at a Twin Beech visiting from Australia. Interesting nose art, and an even more interesting history.
One of the highlights of being in the aircraft park was watching some of the aircraft come and go. Lots of photo opportunities, and some of the results can be seen below.
By this stage it was almost 12.30pm, so I had to hussle to get to my appointment. Found Graeme Barber and was organised into a great coat and a helmet - both a little on the small side! I was then passed to a driver and directed to a jeep. Found myself in the back with another photographer - who turned out to be Geoff Sloan who also does Aviation News coverage. Proved to be much easier than trying to track him down myself!
The jeep zipped up and down the aircraft park allowing us to get pictures of the warhorses against the backgound of aircraft. We got waved down by Tom Middleton who sent us to fetch an engineer with a fire extinguisher - so he could fire up the Mustang. Then we moved down to the park entrance by the C-130 as the vehicles formed up. The C-130 made a great background! From there we moved along the crowdline, stopping periodically while Greg Olsen and the other re-enactment folks did their tableaux.
We were nice and close when the Bleriot taxied out. Had a wonderful view as Mikael Carlson circled the field (certainly made up for missing it the day before). Then we drove down the far end of the field for a break. Took the opportunity to get some 'of the period' pictures. These guys really looked the part - only the background gave the location away!
Our driver took us down by the taxiway for the Hurricane introduction. Sir Tim Wallis came out in another jeep, accompanied by 'Dusty' Miller who had flown the aircraft during WWII. So we were nice and close as Keith Skilling performed his salute. Then the Hurricane and Spitfire did their pair display, followed by the Mustang pair departing, and a mock attack by the Bf108.
The latter was fun, as there appears to be considerable rivalry between the pilot and the Warhorses crowd. On both days after being 'shotdown' by the P-51Ds he landed and traded compliments with the Warhorses - a volley with the butane guns and then he managed to lay a smokescreen right over us (quite acrid too). We raced after him as he taxied back to the aircraft park. Phil saw me as we drove past, but didn't get a photo unfortunately - apparently my face was quiet a picture. With the aid of a half track and a .50 Graeme 'captured' the pilot, who surrendered with a wave of his scarf. Then we returned to the Warhorses camp, and what was for me the best part of the show was over. I told Graeme it would take at least a week to get the smile off my face!
My next stop was the media stand. Kittyhawks, Vampires, Mustangs - everything seemed to come in pairs. Had a small panic when I ran out of film. Those who know me will be surprised, but it does happen occassionally - so I made a quick excursion to a Kodak stand. Apart from that, I spent the rest of the show on the stand. Wasn't all planes - I talked to Peter Tocher, another Aviation News reporter. Had another chat with Don Hagitt. Met Victor Ostapenko, a visiting aerobatic display pilot from Russia. He was looking longingly at the Poli's, so I asked him if he wanted to try one out - his answer was simply 'Yes'. Some of the action from the final afternoon can ber seen below:
After the show I headed for the media room. On the way I got a couple of pics of the Mig 15. Walked through to the hangar with Chris Hinch. Said my goodbyes there, then made another call at the Warhorses camp - more thankyous and goodbyes. Then it was back to the van - where I had a wee wait for Phil.
When he turned up (he had the keys) I restocked my film. While he went to grab a few things, I wandered round past the Wanaka Transport Museum to photograph the Canberra. It was while I was doing this that the sun finally broke through. Spent a bit of time down by the runway watching aircraft depart. Saw Joanna Carson going off for a flight in a Yak-52 with Victor Ostapenko. Back in the van we brewed up, and waited for things to clear. Again we headed away about 5.45pm - but no traffic hassles this time.
Sorted things out at the camp office, organised dinner, and had a subdued evening - lights out about 10pm.
Alarm went at 5.25am. Needed the shower to wake me up. We didn't mess around, and were on the road by 6.15am. Could see the moon shining through high cloud, but no stars. Could just make out the shapes of the aircraft wrapped in their covers as we passed the airfield. Not many other vehicles to be seen on the road. It was quite beautiful watching the rugged southern landscape emerge in the dawn light. We stopped on the roadside a little south of Omarama for breakfast. The light on the hills was gorgeous and neither of us could resist getting our cameras out.
Had another stop in Geraldine (that bakery is just excellent), and made a call at the airfield at Ashburton - but that's another story. Phil dropped me at the Christchurch terminal at 1.45pm. My flight was first, and I needed to check in. He returned the campervan to Maui. After checking in, I had enough time to pop up to the observation deck with my camera, then it was time to board for the flight back to Nelson. But that's another story ...
© 2002 Phillip Treweek, all rights reserved