Wanaka: Warbirds Over Wanaka organisers are planning a stunning finale to this Easter’s airshow at Wanaka Airport.
The pyrotechnic team is planning the biggest ‘wall of fire’ display ever seen in New Zealand. The resulting fiery explosion will be around 400 metres long and reach 100 metres into the air.
The head of the 7-person pyrotechnic team is Waikato-based fireman Pete Gallagher. “We have been putting lots of time into preparing for this massive display to end this year’s Wanaka Airshow. The display involves using 800 litres of fuel, around two kilometres of wiring and all seven people in our team.”
“We did a ‘wall of fire’ at Wanaka a few years ago but it was pretty small compared with what we have planned for this year. It will be the biggest such display ever attempted in New Zealand,” says Pete.
Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow organisers have been working with Wanaka airport management and emergency services to ensure the display is safe.
Airshow General Manager, Ed Taylor, says they will have additional fire appliances and water tankers on standby on the far side of the airfield just in case. Foam and water will be used to dampen down the immediate area around the blast zone in the days leading up to the airshow.
“It’s been pretty dry down here over Summer so we had already decided to have some additional fire-fighting facilities on standby and access to extra water sources just in case. We have had great support from the local volunteer Fire Service plus from Queenstown Airport Corporation in ensuring we have all the equipment needed on site,” says Ed. The ‘wall of fire’ will be weather dependent.
Meanwhile, Airshow organisers have announced another first for Warbirds Over Wanaka with a five-ship jet display planned to wow crowds.
“Unfortunately due to the unavailability of some aircraft we are not going to be able to have Jet Racing at this year’s Airshow as planned. However, we are very fortunate that we will still have a number of jets here and they’re currently working on some pretty impressive displays,” says Ed.
Already confirmed are two Vampire jets, two Strikemaster jets and an L29 fitted with a Viper engine. The Royal Australian Airforce has confirmed it will be bringing a 3-ship Hawk display team across the Tasman ensuring there will be plenty of jets for visitors to see in action.
Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow has been held every second Easter since 1988. Friday is a practice day, Saturday and Sunday are airshow days and the Monday is Rides Day when visitors can book flights in a number of different aircraft.
Release prepared by Ed Taylor.