Wanaka: A special aircraft has begun a 19,000 kilometre, 47-day voyage bound for the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow at Easter.
The Hispano Buchon Me-109 has been dismantled and put into a container and is being shipped to New Zealand by Hamburg Sud as part of their sponsorship of the airshow. The ship left the Port of London onboard the ‘CMA CGM America’ this week.
The aircraft will be transferred to the ‘Spirit of Sydney’ in Cartagena, Colombia before heading through the Panama Canal and on to Port Chalmers where it’s due to arrive on March 5th.
Warbirds Over Wanaka General Manager, Ed Taylor, says shipping an historic and valuable aircraft such as the Me-109 from the other side of the world is quite a big undertaking. “It’s been great to work with a company like Hamburg Sud who have made the process so much easier. They will then work with Mainfreight at the Dunedin end to ensure all the paperwork is done and the container is transferred to Wanaka well in time before our event.”
The Me-109 is owned by John Romain of the Aircraft Restoration Company based at Duxford in the UK. John and one of his engineers will oversee the unpacking, re-assembly and test flying of the aircraft over the week leading up to the airshow.
John Romain is regarded as one of the UK’s most accomplished Warbirds pilots and will fly the
aircraft at Wanaka. “The last time a 109 displayed at Warbirds Over Wanaka was 20 years ago when one was brought out from Europe by Sir Tim Wallis. It’s been a long time between aircraft and it might be years before New Zealanders get another chance to see one.”
Airshow patrons will get plenty of opportunities to see the aircraft at the airshow. “It’s sure to attract lots of interest when it’s parked up on our flightline and at this stage we’re expecting it to fly at least twice a day. This will include an aerial duel with its Battle of Britain nemesis the Spitfire, marking 75 years since that famous conflict,” says Ed.
The Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow is expected to attract a crowd of around 50,000 people over the Easter weekend. More information and tickets available via www.warbirdsoverwanaka.com
Source / Author: Warbirds Over Wanaka
Photo: Warbirds Over Wanaka