The pilot of the Yak-3 aircraft that crashed at the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow last Easter is taking the show organisers to court.

Arthur Dovey told the Otago Daily Times this week a writ had been filed in the High Court at Wellington claiming damages for the cost of repairing his aircraft.

Dovey said the claim was against Warbirds over Wanaka Airshows Ltd, which is owned by the Warbirds Over Wanaka Community Trust.

Four individuals involved in the running of the show were also named in the writ, Dovey said.


Trust general manager Ed Taylor confirmed the legal action in relation to the ''landing incident''.

''The trust does not accept the claim and will be defending the proceedings,'' he said.

A claim has also been laid against the New Zealand Defence Department which had a role at the airshow.

Dovey and another pilot were asked to open the show on March 31 when two United States air force F-16s based at Christchurch were delayed by bad weather.

After his display, Dovey landed on a grass area north of the sealed runway, hitting two 8-tonne cherry pickers positioned there as part of the show's light aircraft pyrotechnic display that was to follow the opening.

He was uninjured, but the aircraft was badly damaged.

Dovey maintains that during the morning briefing before the show, pilots were not warned of the cherry pickers and no restriction was placed on where planes could land.

When landing a 1940s-era Soviet-made Yak-3, the pilot has restricted forward vision because of the aircraft's extended nose and three-point landing attitude.


Dovey said those named had until January 25 to lodge a defence.

A Civil Aviation Authority accident report on the crash is being prepared.

Dovey has been flying for more than 50 years and has owned the Yak-3 for about 13 years. It is one of fewer than 10 in the world still flying and is estimated to be worth well over $1 million.