Warbirds Over Wanaka: Gigatown Wanaka Jets

Six high-powered jet aircraft – some piloted by Reno Air Race and World Champs – will be racing around a course marked by giant inflatable pylons at Wanaka Airport next Easter.

Believed to be a first time outside the USA, the high-speed racing will be part of the entertainment at the Warbirds Over Wanaka International 2014 Airshow.

The ‘#Gigatown Wanaka Jets’ will feature three Reno pilots challenging three from New Zealand in the world’s fastest motorsport. The final selection of pilots will be released soon, airshow general manager, Ed Taylor, said.

The home of jet racing is the Reno Air Race Championships in the United States. Three of Reno’s most successful pilots will be part of the international team, including multiple Reno champions and a three-times Red Bull World Champion.

The New Zealand team has all but been confirmed and features three of this country’s most experienced aviators, led by Taranaki-based warbird, helicopter and aerobatic pilot Brett Emeny.

For maximum spectator enjoyment, the racing had been based on the Reno format where aircraft race around pylons, rather than the Red Bull Air Races which are based on timed runs, Mr Taylor said.

The #Gigatown Wanaka Jets will see the six pilots race side-by-side over an aerial ‘race track’. On the home straight the aircraft would pass in front of the crowd at speeds of around 640kmph.

The aircraft being used are three Aero L-29s, two De Havilland Vampires and an Aero L-39. Practise runs would be held during the week preceding the airshow, which begins on April 18th.

Mr Taylor said jet aircraft were always a big favourite with the airshow crowd. “To have six of them racing around pylons will be something special to see. The final race track is being set and the aircraft will be in sight for the majority of each lap.”

“It’s going to be extremely fast with plenty of passing action. The crowd will be kept up to date with everything that’s going on by a guest commentator. We will also have communication with some of the pilots with their comments being relayed to the crowd,” he said.


Source / Author: Warbirds Over Wanaka

Photo: Warbirds Over Wanaka