Warbirds take to the skies for Armistice
‘‘It's hoped weather will permit the BE2c to participate in the flying programme.’’
Armistice Day 99 years ago marked the signing of the agreement that ended World War I.
This Sunday, November 12, the NZ Warbirds, based at Ardmore Airport, will commemorate the anniversary and sacrifice of those who served by opening the doors of its hangars to display the huge variety of flying warbird aircraft of all eras.
Tony Miller, of the NZ Warbirds Association, says the centrepiece of this year’s event is the display of a reproduction WWI aircraft, a Royal Aircraft Factory (RAF) BE2c fighter bomber.
‘‘This aircraft is a new-build from original drawings and photo references,’’ he says.
‘‘The Air Force return with the T-6C Texan II, the new turboprop trainer accompanied by the Beech King Air B200 - a high performance communications/transport/ multi-engine trainer, and Harvard 1015 from the RNZAF Historic Flight.’’
The Great War of 1914-1918 was one of the most devastating events in history.
‘‘New Zealand, with a population of 1.1 million in 1914, sent 100,000 men and women abroad,’’ Miller says.
‘‘Of those, 16,700 died and over 40,000 were wounded - a higher per capita rate than any other nation involved.
‘‘The coming of peace on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 brought blessed relief for all involved.’’
On Armistice Day 1918, New Zealand had 58,129 troops in the field, while an additional 10,000 were under training in this country.
In total, troops provided for foreign-service by NZ during WWI represented 10 per cent of its 1914 population between the ages of 20 and 45.
The signing of the Armistice is observed each year in NZ at 11am every November 11. Two minutes silence is observed in memory of those New Zealanders who died while serving their country.
‘‘The NZ Warbirds Association is the umbrella body dedicated to the restoration, preservation and operation of service aircraft in full flying condition for the enjoyment and education of present and future generation New Zealanders,’’ Miller says.
Based at Ardmore Airport, the majority of the former service aircraft are syndicate owned.
The Roaring Forties precision aerobatic team, flying ex-RNZAF Harvards, are flag bearers for the NZ Warbirds on the summer air show circuit.
Gates open at 9am this Sunday, with the first flying displays from 11am. More flying displays featuring a variety of ex-military training and fighter aircraft showing their capabilities will be held during the afternoon.
‘‘It’s hoped that weather and operating parameters will permit the featured BE2c aircraft to participate in the flying programme,’’ Miller says.
Ardmore-based flying training clubs will be present and displaying a variety of their equipment, while veteran cars, motorbikes and jeeps will also be on show.
Food and refreshments will be available, and entry costs $20, with children under 14 free.
Entry fee includes free parking and also the chance to win a lucky draw flight in a Warbird aircraft. The Kidszone will also have a variety of amusement attractions for children.
A first-class replica of a RAF BE2c will be on display at this Sunday’s open day event at Ardmore Airport.