While the skies over Art Deco Napier will be filled with the sounds of piston-engined aircraft, the skies over the Waitangi airfield at Awatoto will echo to the stirring sounds of jets - including a classic De Havilland Vampire and an F15.

"We will have a good number of jets flying," Model Flying Hawke's Bay's Harvey Stiver said as he and the more than 50 pilots who have arrived in the Bay prepared for the annual Warbirds Over Awatoto event today and tomorrow. "As well as a big range of all varieties of aircraft."

The event has become one the country's most popular and attracts pilots from all over the country - who will be assembling a remarkable and diverse line-up of aircraft from Tiger Moths to WWII Spitfires and Mustangs, aircraft from the Vietnam combat era and through to today.

"Many of the pilots coming will bring more than one aircraft so we are likely to see 100 or more planes in action over the weekend."


Mr Stiver said the technology used in some of the latest models, especially the high-performance jets, was "the very best".

"They are controlled by micro-computers on board - the technology is right up there and even the piston-engined aircraft these days are very advanced."

He has a squadron of five jets, each costing about $7000.

Another jet pilot/owner, Peter Brown of Wellington will be flying a classic Vampire, in the colours of the RNZAF, and a Phantom. The event has also attracted the country's leading aerobatics exponent, Frazer Briggs.

The events will run 10am until 3.30pm on both days with parking, food and drinks available.