Warbirds over Wanaka
Warbirds over Wanaka celebrated its 30th Anniversary at Easter weekend 2018. A total crowd of just over 54,000 people attended over the three days of the event. A highlight of the show was the attendance of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) F-16 Demonstation team led by U.S. Air Force Maj. Richard 'Punch' Smeedings. Two Block 50 F-16s flew from Misawa Air base in Japan via Guam to Christchurch airport accompanied by a Boeing KC-135 stratotanker. The USAF also displayed the Boeing C17 Globemaster. The RAAF once again provided a Hawk 127 fighter trainer demonstration ex Queenstown airport along with a Spartan C271 on static display. THe Armee de L'Air (French Airforce) returned with their CASA 235-300 transport. Another highlight was the return of the Buchon Me-109 re-painted in its 'Dunkirk' livery. The RNZAF displayed the Boeing757, C-130 Hercules, T-6C Texans (The Black Falcons), B200L King Air, NH90 & Seasprite helicopters and the Kiwi Blue parachute team.
WWII aircraft lineup; Mk IX Spitfire, Yakolev Yak 3-M, P51D Mustangs, Avro Anson, Catalina, P-40 Kittyhawk The Avenger had to return to Ohakea with technical issues and many were disappointed not to see the Corsair on show. Returning to display after a long absence was Brett Emeny's T-28 Trojan.
The 2016 Airshow attracted around 50,000 patrons and the flying highlights were:
- The Friday Lake Event amphibious aircraft
- The Battle of Britain dogfight between the Buchon ME 109 and the Supermarine Spitfire
- RNZAF T-6C Texan II
- USAF's C-17 Globemaster III
- RAAF Hawks 127
- Armee de L'Aire CASA
- Yak 52 nine ship formation display, a world first
- The Air Bandits - Jurgis Kairys and Rob Fry
- STOL Competition for sport aircraft
- Sport aircraft, 100 Years of Trucking, Pyrotechnic's 'Wall of Fire'
The Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow 2014, saw the inaugural #GigatownWanaka Jet racing.
Crowds of around 48,239 people on Friday, Saturday and Sunday watched the high speed jet racing as an invitational US team challenged three Kiwi pilots around a course marked by giant inflatable pylons. The winner was Paul Hughan, with fellow Kiwi Brett Emeny second and Peter Vause third, but the visiting Americans are determined to return and challenge the Kiwis again.
Other highlights included Lithuanian aerobatic pilot Jurgis Kairys flying a Sukhoi, racing against Kiwi Motorsport legend Greg Murphy in a Lamborghini and a special WWI Commemorative event which saw six WWI fighters dog fight over Lake Wanaka.