Spectacle in store for Air Force's 80th

By Georgia Nelson

Planes and display teams from around the world will be helping the Royal New Zealand Air Force celebrate its 80th birthday at the 2017 Air Tattoo at Ohakea this weekend.
Planes and display teams from around the world will be helping the Royal New Zealand Air Force celebrate its 80th birthday at the 2017 Air Tattoo at Ohakea this weekend.

It will be a plane-spotter's paradise at Ohakea this weekend, with the Royal New Zealand Air Force Black Falcons performing publicly for the first time.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force 2017 Air Tattoo is being held on Saturday and Sunday, celebrating the 80th anniversary of our Air Force.

The Black Falcons are an aerobatic team which fly T-6C Texan planes.

The pilots are the best of the best, who train others to be instructors.

Black Falcon pilot Flight Lieutenant Dan Pezaro said their whole display is awe-inspiring but particularly when they do a manoeuvre called the mirror corkscrew.

"It's where we have one aircraft flying upside down and the other aircraft upright directly underneath, with a third aircraft doing a roll around the outside, which is a lot of fun".

Another trick to look out for is the roll back where the five planes fly in close formation and then peel off backwards one by one.

There will also be a huge international presence at the air show with planes, jets and display teams from the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.

The Singaporean F-15 fighter jets have already got everyone talking.

They arrived while the Herald was at Ohakea and pilots emerged from their offices to line up on the tarmac and admire the menacing looking jets.

"These are brand new and I don't think have been seen outside of Asia yet," Pezaro said.

Organisers are expecting crowds of up to 50,000 each day, but Air Show director Squadron Leader Jim Rankin said they will not have the traffic chaos of 2012.

In 2012 State Highway One was gridlocked as hundreds of people tried to get a free glimpse of the show from the roadside.

"This time round ... if you haven't got a ticket you aren't getting within 10 kilometres of Ohakea".

Police will be making sure people do not stop on the side of the road.

The photo opportunity of the day will be a fly-past of all the aircraft in the New Zealand Air Force.

Rankin said it will be a huge sigh of relief from him in the control tower if they manage to pull it off.

"We've never done that before, so if that comes off it will be [special]."

Gates open at 7am with the first display of the day starting at 10am. Georgia Nelson

- NZ Herald

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