Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre Exhibition



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Military Re-Enactments are still an integral part of Yealands Classic Fighters 2019
Striving to achieve the balance between historical context, spectacle and safety

Yealands Classic Fighters was proud to be the first event in the Southern Hemisphere to host a dedicated WW-I battle sequence involving multiple aeroplanes, military vehicles and sets, back in 2001. We have taken pride in growing this aspect of the show ever since.

This year the organisers are planning some changes to the way that these period set-pieces are conducted. The desire to pay tribute to fallen servicemen and women remains the same, and the range of aircraft and vehicles will also stay unchanged, but in light of the national mood following the atrocities at the Christchurch mosques on 15th March, the focus on the ground battles will be softened somewhat.

Many of the participating re-enactment groups along with the airshow organisers themselves, have expressed a reduced appetite for fielding large numbers of soldiers firing weapons in the show and so they have decided to pare back this side of the presentation a little for this year's event. Visitors should be aware though, that there will still be some rifle fire, military vehicles, soldiers and explosions.

Graham Orphan, Yealands Classic Fighters Committee Member says, “We believe it is important to achieve the re-enactments with integrity and sensitivity towards that other important message that rests on our shoulders, the one that says, "Lest We Forget."

The small but enthusiastic team behind the Yealands Classic Fighters Airshow have been working very hard for many months to put together a show that is full of variety and spectacle and hope that all in attendance enjoy their time in Marlborough and enjoy this unique 'home-grown' experience.

Please note that all bags will be subject to a security check, so allow plenty of time.



Polikarpov PO-2 to fly at Yealands Classic Fighters 2019
Russian rarity confirmed to make its public debut at Omaka


We are excited to announce that a true Russian icon will make its first public appearance at this year’s air show. The Polikarpov PO-2, was a general-purpose Soviet biplane which served in a diverse number of roles from aerial combat and ambulance through to crop-duster. Most famously it played a large part in the ‘Nacht Hexen’ or ‘Night Witches’ story.

The ‘Night Witches’ were a group of remarkable Russian women who not only flew the PO-2 on night operations under the most trying of circumstances, but who also managed the maintenance, armament and administration to create entire female squadrons. Given this year’s theme, ‘Saluting Women in Aviation’, the inclusion of the PO-2 could not be more appropriate.

Graham Orphan, Classic Wingsmagazine editor/publisher and Chair of the Yealands Classic Fighters organising committee, has been working with owners Stephen and Chrystal Witte for several years to help facilitate bringing the aircraft to Omaka. Graham Orphan said “The production of the PO-2 was extensive. Stephen has figures suggesting around 33,000 were built over three decades, with many, many variants. Sadly, little more than a dozen survive today with this aircraft making just eight airworthy examples as far as we can ascertain.

A huge 'well done' to Stephen and Chrystal for persevering with this, at times daunting project to bring a real Russian icon to Omaka.”



The fastest jet fighter to date to debut at Omaka Aerodrome just got faster


Further to the press release issued 20 November announcing the confirmation of the FA-18 Super Hornet to participate in the Yealands Classic Fighters Air Show 2019, we have received notification that this should have read F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet.

The F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet is a multi-role fighter, single seat aircraft and has a maximum speed of 2,200 km/h (Mach 1.8), as opposed to the 1,960km/h (Mach 1.6) of the FA-18 Super Hornet.

Spokesperson, Graham Orphan said “Of course we're delighted to be hosting any of the stunning FA-18 Hornet series jet fighters at this airshow but at the risk of stating the obvious, it makes more sense to have the Classic Hornet performing here at Classic Fighters Airshow, and of course, the Classic Hornet is faster, so will arrive sooner, so we could not be happier to be hosting these awesome machines!”.

The RAAF intend to display on all three days.


Royal Australian Air Force confirms FA-18 Super Hornets to fly at Classic Fighters 2019
The most powerful jet fighter to date, to debut at Omaka Aerodrome, Blenheim, NZ



We are excited to announce that the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) have confirmed their participation in the Yealands Classic Fighters Air Show 2019. The FA-18 Super Hornet, a multi-role fighter aircraft with a maximum speed of 1,960 km/h (Mach 1.6), is an integral part of Australia’s air combat capability and will make its Omaka debut in 2019.

Classic Fighters has enjoyed great support from the RAAF throughout the years. Most recently in 2017 when the C-27J Spartan made its first New Zealand public appearance and before that over several shows with the popular and now retired Caribous. However, the 2019 air show will see this support significantly cranked up in both speed and firepower. The Hornets are capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions with a range of weaponry including air to air missiles, laser guided bombs, anti-ship missiles and 20mm cannon.

David Bamfield, Yealands Classic Fighters Committee Member and former Air Vice-Marshal said “Classic Fighters has always featured some of the world’s most historic combat aircraft including displays that can only be seen at Omaka: the Fokker Triplane formation, V-1, and three Spitfires for example. There are many aircraft of younger vintages that are in every way Classic even if they are still state-of-the-art. The FA-18 Hornet is one of these and will be remembered long after its eventual retirement as one of the world’s most successful fighters. A true Classic and we are thrilled and honoured to have it in our midst. This will be a very impressive display.”

It has not yet been confirmed how many of the Hornets will be jetting their way to Classic Fighters 2019 but they are certain to make their presence known with a thunderous display of speed, power and manoeuvrability, don’t miss it!



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