Big crowd expected for open day

By Roger Moroney

1 comment
AC aircraftsman Amaan Khan has some fun after getting the Hercules transport aircraft ready for Operation Skytrain. Photo / Warren Buckland
AC aircraftsman Amaan Khan has some fun after getting the Hercules transport aircraft ready for Operation Skytrain. Photo / Warren Buckland

The 70km/h speed limit along the approaches to Hawke's Bay Airport will be reduced to
50km/h tomorrow to help cope with an expected massive influx of cars heading for the Royal New Zealand Air Force Open Day.

And it will be enforced, Eastern District road policing manager Inspector Matt Broderick said.

"The air force are the event organisers so they had to come up with a traffic management plan, which they have done by working in with council and the highways, but we will have people out there."

Mr Broderick said motorists using the stretch of SH2, and especially those leaving the airport grounds where the public parking site has been set up, would need to be patient and obey the limits.

There were also likely to be times when manual stop-go signalling crews would be at work.

"People exceeding the limit can expect to be stopped," Mr Broderick said, adding the stretch from Watchman Rd to the airport entrance road was a challenging piece of highway at the best of times.

The main entrance to the air force camp and car parks will be off the main airport entrance. Electronic signage forewarning motorists there would be delays on Saturday afternoon were put in place yesterday.

Air force public affairs officer Squadron Leader Simon Eichelbaum said going by past open days and reactions already on Facebook about tomorrow's event big numbers were likely and he had some simple advice.

"Car share. Parking will be an issue and we are concerned we are going to run out."
While a large field across from where the former Napier Aero Club building had stood was being used, car parks would be limited. Air force personnel assisted by air cadets will marshall the area.

With hot weather forecast he also suggested people take bottled water along.

The open day takes place between 12.30pm and 4.30pm and will allow the public to get a close-up look at how a major military camp operates.

A Hercules C-130, an NC90 and an A109 Agusta helicopter and a Kingair B200 pilot trainer will be on static display for people to "walk right up to".

There will also be something of a nostalgic visitor - a Strikemaster jet trainer once operated by the air force and now flown by the Warbirds.

A second Hercules C-130 will put on a "roll demonstration" with low level passes and turns. It is set to take place at 2pm.

There will also be a display by a military working dog team.

"We will be opening up as much of the camp as we can," Squadron Leader Eichelbaum said.

"The public can engage with our people because that's what it is all about."

Engaging with the community was always high on the list, and just a couple of days after setting up camp the air force displayed that - sending one of its fire tender tankers over to Poraite to assist in fighting the grass fire which broke out last Friday.

"We are always there to aid the civil community - that was a good example," he said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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