Those magnificent men

By Mahvash Ali

Pilots Richard Hood, (left) Grant Benns and Wayne Ormrod will race at a North Shore air show. Photo / Doug Sherring
Pilots Richard Hood, (left) Grant Benns and Wayne Ormrod will race at a North Shore air show. Photo / Doug Sherring

Aerobatic planes will race side-by-side at a large Auckland air show next month in what organisers claim is a world first.

The inaugural New Zealand International Air Show will be at at the North Shore Airfield in Dairy Flat on Anniversary Weekend, January 26-28.

The event celebrates the 50th anniversary of the North Shore Aero Club.

Organisers hope to sell all 66,000 tickets and say the spectacular monoplane racing will be a highlight.

Airshow Systems chief executive Peter Newport said two aircraft would race to test pilot skill and efficiency.

"An air race has never been done in this format before. The closest the world comes to it is at the Red Bull Air Race, but it only judges who gets to the finish line first. Pilots are not judged for their skill and efficiency."

Six pilots will race in New Zealand-made Robin 2160 aerobatic aircraft. Cockpit cameras will give spectators the same view as the pilots.

A pace plane leads the aircraft out and when they reach the right speed and altitude, the race starts over three 800m legs.

They will reach 240 km/h and do a loop on each leg and a half turn at the end of each leg.

More than 50 aircraft will fly during the show, including an air force Boeing 757 at 350 metres.

- Herald on Sunday

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