A Waitangi Day demonstration by the Red Checkers aerobatic team will hinge on the outcome of an investigation into a forced landing in the central North Island last week.

The Defence Force air trainer Red Checkers 1 flipped while making a forced landing on the Desert Road on Friday afternoon, suffering moderate damage.

The pilot walked away uninjured after deciding to make the landing onto "undulating ground" about 12km south of Rangipo.

The plane had been flying from Ohakea Air Base in Manawatu to Tauranga when it suffered mechanical problems.


The Air Force today said it was evaluating the damage to the plane, which would be returned to Ohakea today or tomorrow, as well as the cause of the forced landing.

After the initial investigation was complete, a decision would be made on whether the Red Checkers team would fly at the Waitangi Day celebrations next Monday.