Fri 19 – Sun 21 April 2017.
In 2001, Classic Fighters was proud to be the first event in the Southern Hemisphere to host a dedicated WWI battle sequence involving multiple aeroplanes, military vehicles and sets.
All the show’s air and ground mock battle sequences are simply outstanding and get better every year! 2015 saw a scale V2 “buzz bomb” flying around the field with Spitfires chasing it until it was destroyed in a ball of flames.
The show takes place on Easter Weekend at Omaka Airfield, Blenheim, New Zealand, which is also home to the internationally renowned Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. The centre has world class displays with their jewel entitled Knights of the Sky – a dedicated tribute to the Great War in the air, displaying over 20 WWI aircraft in a wonderful environment. This is a must-see display during your visit (you may wish to plan an extra day outside airshow days to see this properly).
Preparations for the 2019 Yealands Classic Fighters Airshow are already underway! More than just an airshow, it’s a brilliant weekend of action-packed, family friendly events with entertainment both in the air and on the ground.
The weekend kicks off on Good Friday, the official practice day, a great opportunity to see and take a few pics in a more relaxed (less people!) environment. Food and merchandise stalls will be open all day and in the evening it’s the Twilight Extreme Show of sunset flying and spectacular fireworks.
Saturday & Sunday are the main show days with over 100 display aircraft expected to be participating, together with mock airfield attacks supported by ground theatre and pyrotechnics. There’s something for everyone with a Kid’s Fun Zone, classic cars, food and stalls selling everything except the kitchen sink!
Highlights of the show: 2017
The Great War
A number of significant machines from WWI/The Great War, will be on display with many of them flying – several which have not been seen flying at an airshow before. These will be supported by an impressive level of theatrical support with vehicles, props, sets, pyrotechnics and military personnel from the 1914-18 period, performing for your enjoyment.
World War II
The Second World War segment of Classic Fighters 2017 will be supported, as always, by a great variety of combat aircraft from the era, and in fact the organisers suspect they may well be able to boast the broadest range of different warbirds yet seen at a New Zealand airshow! Fingers crossed for the public debut of the rebuilt Focke-Wulf Fw190 which has been out of sight and under repair since a ground-damage incident at the last event.
Alongside, will be the awesome award-winning Rolls-Royce Griffon-powered Spitfire Mk.XIV. Both of these aircraft are resident at Omaka, as is the world’s sole airworthy, immaculate, Avro Anson Mk.I. Another locally-operated machine is the beautiful Yakovlev Yak-3, restored at Omaka by the crew at JEM Aviation who have another WWII Yak V-12 fighter well along with its restoration. In addition is a range of other WWII aircraft, including Corsairs, Kittyhawks, Mustangs, Spitfires, Dc-3s, CJ6 Nanchangs, the Avenger and a whole lot more “Heavy Metal”!
RNZAF “Black Falcons”
The recently formed Royal New Zealand Air Force Black Falcons formation aerobatics team will be flying at this year’s Easter airshow. Featuring new routines and new equipment in the form of the Beechcraft T-6 Texan. Graham Orphan, Yealands Classic Fighters Chairman says “The Black Falcon team’s Texans are very impressive in their all-black liveries and will be one of many highlights amid a strong RNZAF presence at this year’s Yealands Classic Fighters Airshow”.
The theme for this year’s Yealands Classic Fighters airshow at Omaka is ‘RACING THROUGH TIME’. Leading the charge will be Steadfast, a Yak 3U-R2000, which first started its racing career at Reno in 2006 and holds nine world records. These include the under 3000 kg World Speed Record at 416 mph (669 kph) along with several ‘time to climb’ records.
This coming Easter you can expect to see the now rare spectacle of no fewer than THREE examples of the iconic Douglas DC-3 Dakota gathered in the same place – the first time in decades that this number of non-camouflaged Dakotas has been assembled anywhere in New Zealand. This has only been made possible within the last 18 months by the arrival of two DC-3s; one returning and the other arriving for the first time.
Airshow organisers expecting a record number of Chinese ex-military aircraft to gather over Easter. The Chinese designed and built Nanchang CJ-6a warbird has enjoyed a half century long career in its country of birth, such are the enduring flying qualities of this fine aircraft. Kiwi Nanchang enthusiast Grant ‘Muddy’ Murdoch is planning to try to round up all of the flyable Nanchangs resident in New Zealand. Which could see as many as 10!
As always organisers are planning a major WW-I aviation and ground theatre event in collusion with the folks from TVAL. A feature of this has always been the ‘Magnificent Seven’ clutch of Fokker Triplanes, something that is very special to Omaka! We hope to see no less than seven Triplanes fly. Along with the resident black Triplane, we will have and amazing EIGHT of these iconic machines on the field.
The Cork & Keg – Renwick
Located only a 10min drive through the picturesque Marlborough vineyards from the Omaka aerodrome is a fantastic old English pub.
The garden bar provides a stunning spot among white roses to sip some of the locally produced wines and enjoy a gorgeous meal. If a barbeque is what the heart desires, then they can prepare it for you – or you may make it yourself and entertain your family and friends.
They offer a handful of rooms which range from motel units, standard units and upstairs apartments. All rooms are very spacious and units come with an en-suite bathroom with shower; well-equipped kitchenette, wall-mounted television; and a double sofa.
Upstairs (above the tavern) is a 2-bedroom apartment which sleeps up to 4 adults – again with a spacious Lounge area with a set of comfortable leather couches, a wall-mounted flat screen TV, a fully-equipped well-laid out kitchenette with an attached eating bar that seats four and an en-suite bathroom with shower and laundry area too.
The motel also has a BBQ for guests and the public bar is a real treat with lively weekly events like Quiz, Pizza & raffle nights and Sunday roasts too!
With a fantastic public outside beer garden and traditional old English pub atmosphere they also offer a breakfast room, cafe/restaurant and courtyard.
Your hospitable patrons also offer free luggage storage, a free pick up from the airport or train station, free unlimited wi-fi, free parking and bikes are for hire.