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Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Iconic festival has its Wings

Though it didn’t quite go off without a hitch, Wings Over Wairarapa [Wings] has been labelled a roaring success after the wet weather threatened to postpone the entire biannual event for a second time.

Wings chairman Ron Mark was impressed with the day and displays seen yesterday, considering the questionable weather at the start of the day.

“It’s ended up beautiful,” he said, noting that by mid-afternoon, the sun was shining, and the skies were blue.

The sunshine didn’t stop the winds being a “little stronger than we’d like”, which meant a few vintage aviators were not able to get airborne, but overall, Mark was pleased by the event.

“The feedback has been wonderful; [people have been] full of praise for the board and management team for getting the show on,” he said.

Historically, the Wings event has helped boost the local economy by more than $7 million and this year’s show, despite multiple hurdles, might still yet achieve the same result.

Mark said he and others had been inundated with queries after the Saturday postponement about places to go and things to do for visitors to Wairarapa.

“People went to wineries, bars and restaurants,” Mark said, observing that their visits to local establishments would contribute to injecting money into the local economy.

Wings is an event worth promoting and investing in, even by doing something as simple as displaying posters in shop windows to making donations toward the organisation, he said.

“Iconic events such as Wings Over Wairarapa are good for local business,” he said.

Friday’s day of aviation and STEM learning saw thousands of school students descend on the Hood Aerodrome in Masterton. Though some couldn’t make the trip due to the weather conditions, many said their children had a “blast”, despite the drizzle.

Adverse weather meant that some aircraft had their flight plans delayed and couldn’t make it to the airshow, but the show continued.

Mark was happy to list some of the presentations that had most thrilled the crowds, from the Corsair to the Black Falcons and the Roaring 40s.

The Saturday show cancellation wasn’t an easy decision to make, he said.

“Everyone was so excited to see the biannual air festival return and the Wairarapa community has been great in rallying support,” he said.

“The upside is that Friday’s Take Flight was a massive success with international aeronautical companies pledging to return in 2025.”

The New Zealand Defence Force [NZDF] was also on display at Wings, both on the ground and in the air.

Light-armoured vehicles were on show, while the Royal New Zealand Air Force [RNZAF] display team, the Black Falcons, kicked off their summer display season in their T-6C Texan II aircraft.

All Saturday ticketholders had their tickets honoured yesterday, and those who couldn’t attend will be offered refunds.

Details for refunds can be found online.

2 COMMENTS

  1. As a viewer only I would rate it 20% only. The weather conditions played a major part of the event with busses getting stuck in the grass planes not being able to move and park on the grass. It’s good there will be refunds for visitors not sure about vendors. The event should not have been on its to soon after winter weather conditions are unpredictable the event is a summer one.

  2. I feel for those who missed the Saturday events but Sunday was just so good. The airshow and commentaries were absolutely first class. The crowd was friendly, the catering options were great and the flying was sensational. Highlight for me was the Spitfire – the pilot was not holding back in the solo displays…what a beautiful airplane it is. And the helicopters and later the formation flying were sights to behold. Great event – please do it again.

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