Foxton plane spotters got a rare chance to see vintage World War II planes at the weekend from the best seat in the house.

The Wairarapa Flying Tigers flew over the Tararua Ranges early on Sunday to the Foxton Aerodrome to give locals a look at the rare aircraft and the chance to go for a ride.

Pilot Iain Chapman said the Wairarapa Flying Tigers was a non-profit society that existed solely to preserve historic aviation, and the memory and legacy of aeroplanes like the Tiger Moth.

Chapman said despite the sunshine and stunning scenery it was a "brisk" trip in the open cockpit. The three planes left at 9.15 in a vee-formation and arrived in Foxton 45 minutes later.

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The Tiger Moth at Foxton Aerodrome attracted plenty of interest at the weekend.
The Tiger Moth at Foxton Aerodrome attracted plenty of interest at the weekend.

He was taught to fly as a youngster by his father who was a former Air New Zealand pilot now aged in his 90s.

Taking off in a Tiger Moth was described as a graceful and overwhelming sensation as passengers were strapped into a fully open cockpit and could experience the sensation of the elements.

The Tiger Moth was an acrobatic plane and Chapman took customers for a series of "loops" and "barrel rolls", and if he got the thumbs up, he would chuck in a "stall turn".

Not for the faint-hearted, a stall turn was where the plane basically headed skyward before cutting power, stalling, then gliding back down in reverse.

Pilot Iain Chapman (right) sits behind the paying passenger as the Tiger Moth prepares to head out on the runway at Foxton Aerodrome at the weekend.
Pilot Iain Chapman (right) sits behind the paying passenger as the Tiger Moth prepares to head out on the runway at Foxton Aerodrome at the weekend.

Foxton Beach woman Rehina Rolleston had heard the planes overhead that morning and came to investigate.

She had loved aeroplanes and air shows since she was a young girl growing up in Tauranga.

"It's lovely just to be able to see them. I just love it. I would have loved to have been a pilot," she said.

Rolleston jumped at the rare chance to have a ride. After a briefing with the pilot and crew, she was safely belted aboard complete with helmet and communication device.

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"I don't know about all the tricks though. I suffer from motion sickness," she said.

After the propeller was swung into action manually the plane took off, and headed towards the beach for an aerial view of Rolleston's house.

Chapman said the Wairarapa Flying Tigers worked hard to maintain the aircraft and running them "wasn't cheap".

We have lift-off...the Tiger Moth takes to the sky at Foxton Aerodrome.
We have lift-off...the Tiger Moth takes to the sky at Foxton Aerodrome.

"It relies on the enthusiasm and passion of volunteers," he said.

A 20-minute ride cost $295 and a 30-minute ride cost $395, allowing time for a few extra tricks.