This colourful Stearman biplane has been a familiar sight in Marlborough skies for quite a few years now, as it is used to provide adventure flight experiences for enthusiastic visitors to the province. Operated in conjunction with the New Zealand Warbirds Association via the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, the former U.S. Army WW-II training biplane has had its front seat widened to accommodate two passengers in close comfort, side by side, with the pilot in his own cockpit behind them. This provides a wonderful way to enjoy that Marlborough visitor experience, looking down on the unique coastline or the vineyards from the vantage point of an open biplane.
Image: Former Prime Minister John Key in the Boeing Stearman - Photo by Tracy Dixon
Designed by Lloyd Stearman this impressive biplane was actually built by Boeing who produced over 10,000 examples, long before they ever dreamed of that first jetliner! The power of the original engine of 220 hp has been more than doubled on this example, now running 450 hp to provide extra performance and passenger capacity. Although not supplied to New Zealand in its heyday as this country favoured products from Great Britain and used the Tiger Moth for WW-II flight training, the popularity of this enduring and robust biplane has grown across the globe and examples can be found flying all over the planet. New Zealand is presently home to 10 flyable Stearmans with others under restoration.
We are hoping to see additional examples of these impressive aircraft at the show over Easter 2023, sharing space with many other vintage style aircraft from the 1930s and 40s.
To book your flight in the Stearman, click here.
Image: Boeing Stearman - Photo by James Orphan
About Yealands Classic Fighters Omaka: The airshow is the main fundraising event for the Omaka Aviation Heritage Museum, located in Blenheim, Marlborough NZ.