War­birds to re-en­act dog­fight

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

A re-en­act­ment of a World War I dog­fight is ex­pected to be a part of the dis­play at next year’s War­birds over Wanaka event. At least six vin­tage air­crafts are ex­pected to take part in a unique WWI cen­te­nary event over the Wanaka lake­front at Easter. A $43,000 grant from the Lot­ter­ies Com­mis­sion WWI Com­mem­o­ra­tion Fund has en­abled or­gan­is­ers to in­crease the scale of the event, which is be­ing planned as part of the War­birds Over Wanaka In­ter­na­tional Air­show. WWI event co-or­di­na­tor Ed Tay- lor said the ex­tra fund­ing would al­low the fly­ing dis­play to fully il­lus­trate to the pub­lic what avi­a­tion was all about in WWI. ‘‘World War I broke out not long af­ter the in­ven­tion of air­craft so at the start of the war it was very ba­sic stuff – lit­tle planes flut­ter­ing across to count heads in enemy trenches. Then the pi­lots started shoot­ing at each other with pis­tols, and even­tu­ally mounted ma­chine guns evolved,’’ Mr Tay­lor said. De­sign­ers and engi­neers scram­bled to im­prove air­craft as the war pro­gressed, fast-track­ing the de­vel­op­ment of avi­a­tion. About a 1000 New Zealand pi­lots flew in the con­flict along­side their Bri­tish coun­ter­parts, in the Royal Fly­ing Corps. The com­mem­o­ra­tion is set to be­gin with a spe­cial com­men­tary in Pem­broke Park. ‘‘We hope fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als from across the re­gion will come and join in. This is a trib­ute to those avi­a­tors who took a step into the un­known and for us it’s an ex­cit­ing first in be­ing able to bring the air­show right into town,’’ Mr Tay­lor said.

Photo: SUP­PLIED

Star role: A Ger­man Pfalz D.III air­craft will be one of at least six vin­tage air­crafts in­volved in a World War I dog­fight re-en­act­ment over Wanaka at Easter as part of the War­birds over Wanaka WWI cen­te­nary event.

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