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Discount wings for locals

British pilot Tim Dews and his son, Tom, light up the sky as Airborne Pyrotechnics. The pair will be flying at Wings over Wairarapa in February. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Wairarapa people can get a 50 per cent discount on tickets to the Saturday night show at next year’s Wings over Wairarapa Air Festival for each Sunday ticket they buy.

The event is celebrating its 20th anniversary next year and Wings 2019 general manager Jenny Gasson said organisers wanted to give something back to Wairarapa people who support the festival.

“We’ve got some very loyal people who have been with us since the beginning,” she said. “We also know that there are lots of new people and families in the region who may not have been to the air festival before.

“The Saturday Night Show has never been seen before in New Zealand and will be a magical evening for everyone.”

The discounted tickets will be $22.50 for adults, $5 for children, and $50 for a family pass [two adults, three children].

The offer will run only in November, with people needing to head into either the Masterton or Martinborough i-SITE Visitor Information Centres to purchase any Sunday day ticket, to qualify for the discounted Saturday night ticket.

The Saturday night show will feature the first performance in New Zealand by the Airborne Pyrotechnics gliding team, from Britain.

Made up of British pilot Tim Dews and his son Tom, they will be flying Grob motor gliders for the show, with flares mounted on the wingtips.

“We manage the risk of the pyrotechnics by having a mount on the wing tips that will let them burn without falling off the tips or damaging the aircraft,” Dews said.

“We have four firing solutions that last for 90 seconds.”

While the aircraft are capable of gliding, as well as powered flight, the engines are kept running during the display, which needs power from the alternator.

Flying at night with bright lights, has its challenges.

“We have lights under our wings to light up the aircraft at night,” Dews said. “When the pyros go out, the aircraft can disappear until your eyes readjust.

“Flying in close formation requires lots of practice and trust in each other. I don’t tell Tom how close to fly, he flies in his comfort zone. If the weather is rough he will increase the distance between us.”

In a Grob aircraft, the pilot feels “every gust of air”, Dews said.

“It’s like driving too close to the car in front [on the road]. If you’re not in your comfort zone and you have to react to every little movement, move back a little and the gust that moves me will move the second aircraft a second later without having to do anything.”

It also makes sense to keep some distance from a performance point of view.

“If the aircraft are too close, the effect of two aircraft is lost as it looks like one aircraft.”

The Wings over Wairarapa Air Festival 2019 runs from February 22-24.

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