Disaster strikes? Just wing it

By Roger Moroney


The Warbirds Over Awatoto model aircraft flying display was an event where sky-high skill levels were called for - especially when one aerobatic expert was confronted by a catastrophic failure.

Frazer Briggs had performed a sharp and fast "snap" manouevre when his $8000 Raven aircraft lost a wing.

As the crowd "oohed" Mr Briggs showed his experience as he worked his control levers furiously to keep the aircraft in the air, and lined up for a crash landing.

He had experience to call on, he said later.

"It's the third time I've landed an aircraft on one wing."

To successfully land it, he took it as close to the ground as he could in a knife-edge manoeuvre before rolling it level as it hit the ground.

"You've got to be prepared for something like that to happen and you just carry on," he said.

"The fact that all I did was break a wing, I'm pretty happy about."

As for the cause - he put it down to the his plane's relatively cheap production in China - it was "under engineered", he said, adding it would cost about $500 to repair.

There were more than 100 aircraft on flying show during the weekend event, including some remarkable models such as a fifth scale Russian MIG 25 fighter flown by Clint Kraidy from Auckland.

It is powered by a twin turbine engine, is 4.2m long and a wingspan of 2.8m.

At the conclusion of Sunday afternoon's program, trophies were handed out and among them was the "Pilot's Choice" which was presented posthumously to the late Brett Cudby, a stalwart of Warbirds who died a few weeks earlier.

The weekend was closed with a "Missing Man" formation flight in his honour.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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