WWII pilot John Bunny [right] and friend Derek Bamford. PHOTO/PAM GRAHAM
John Bunny at 98 and a half years old was one in the crowd looking on at the air displays at Wings over Wairarapa on Saturday with a knowledgeable gaze.
He flew Dakotas in World War II for No 42 Squadron, the transport squadron of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. His commentary on the displays was handy to hear.
At one point he looked at the layers of cloud and said there’s the southerly right there and there’ll be a bit of wind shear between the cloud layers.
There was no need to look at the programme to identify the aircraft – he and his friend Derek Bamford from Lansdowne Park Village knew them all.
Most people know the Dakotas as DC3s and Bunny flew them as transport planes.
They held about 24 troops with their gear and it took about 10 hours to get to the Solomon Islands where New Zealand troops were involved in one of the big conflicts in the Pacific.
The Japanese had a base in Rabal.
There were nine Dakotas in the squadron and Bunny and other pilots flew troops both ways, stopping to refuel in New Caledonia and on Norfolk Island.
There were four generations of Bunny’s family at the event on Saturday. Bunny was involved with the aeroclub when he returned to Masterton.