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Festival ready to spread its wings

The biennial Wings Over Wairarapa [WoW] show is set to take off at the end of next month, from November 24-26, after the festival’s initial February flight plan was postponed due to the widespread impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle.

The air show’s reputation as one of the country’s best aeronautical events is expected to draw in crowds from far and near to enjoy its stunning three-day display of aerial action.

With his WoW board chair hat on, Carterton mayor and former defence minister Ron Mark is thrilled to be able to deliver an exciting programme this year, despite the earlier setback.

“Organising Wings 2023 has been challenging – just when we were ready to launch in February, Cyclone Gabrielle hit. The decision to postpone until November was not an easy one to make,” Mark said.

“Putting the Air Festival on in November and running our highly successful STEAM program Take Flight later in the year has generated further change to the festival.

“We are still aiming to make Wings Over Wairarapa the premier air show in New Zealand and, as part of that, we are looking to highlight how varied and exciting the aviation industry is and, of course, leave a legacy for our next generation.”

Making its first appearance in over six years is the Goodyear FG-1D Corsair – an American Navy and Marine fighter aircraft used in World War II.

A special mention also goes to the Avro Anson MK 1 – the only flying Anson in the world – and the return of the ex-RNZAF BAC 167, which was used for the advanced phase of pilot training on the Wings Course.

The new P-8A Poseidon will be in action for the first time, flown by members of the Royal New Zealand Airforce, as well as the Black Falcons aero display.

Wings general manager Carla Steed said the WOW team has worked hard to reschedule and enhance the festival programme and noted that the event will be well worth the wait for festival attendees.

“Excitement is building as we get closer to the event and whether you are into aircraft or not, Wings is a fun, family day out full of action and is a great reason to bring your friends and family to Wairarapa,” Steed said.

A new addition to the air festival is also set to feature the Take Flight STEAM [science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics] programme in an expanded form.

As previously reported by the Times-Age, the interactive programme will be a chance for school students to engage in activities and demonstrations that motivate them to consider career pathways in aviation and aerospace.

Aircraft lineup:

P51 Mustang; Avro Anson; Goodyear FG-1D Corsair; Strikemaster; Venom; Spitfire Mk-IV; NZDF SH-2G Seasprite; NZDF Black Falcons; NZDF Spitfire; NZDF P-8A; NZDF King Air 350; NZDF Boeing 757 C-130H[NZ]; NZDF NH90 and A109; NZDF C-130J-30 USAF.

RNZAF aircraft:

P-8A Poseidon; Boeing 757; Kiwi Blue [role demo]; NH90 [role demo]; SH-2G Seasprite [role demo];C-130H [role demo]; Black Falcons [aero display]; A109 [static display]; NH90 [static display]; SH-2G [static display]; C-130J [USAF] [static display].

    For more information or to purchase tickets to Wings Over Wairarapa, visit www.wings.org.nz

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