Sunday 22 October – 75th Birthday
By Suzanne Hansen
Make sure you pack a picnic, and all the accoutrements of comfort to take with you and your family to claim a prime position anywhere along the shores of our beautiful Mercury Bay for the amazing Whitianga Air Show. The Whitianga Air Show is part of the larger Aero Day over the Bay, in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Whitianga Aero Club and will run from 10.00 am to 12.00 pm. Due to the growth in residential housing adjacent to the Whitianga airfield, the air show display area and aerobatic box will be taken out over the bay. The display will span the majority of beach front area in front of Whitianga, some 1.6 km metres wide, and 1.6 out to sea, so vantage points can be found anywhere from Shakespeare Cliff to the end of Brophy’s Beach. Although the CFM Caravan will be positioned at Buffalo Beach Reserve with full commentary throughout the show.
An outstanding programme with (just in case) rain day
The programme below, which is subject to changes, weather, and aircraft serviceability, is immense. If Sunday’s weather is unsuitable, then Monday will be used as the rain day. The programme kicks off with skydivers jumping from a DC 3, a tonne of thrilling aerobatics, a live demonstration of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and a complete menu of vintage planes, all which can be viewed even more closely, back at the Airfield in the afternoon during the Club’s Open Day.
Live broadcast from the Beach, win a flight in the lucky draw
The Air Show’s lead organiser, Bill Beard of the Aero Club, is excited about the details all coming together for the programme and for the accompanying events. Bill says that on shore, Coromandel’s CFM will be setting up their broadcast caravan on Buffalo Beach Reserve, from where they will be broadcasting a full commentary of what we are seeing. Spectators can tune in by radio to 88.0FM or on their mobile phones live stream on cfm.co.nz/aero from vantage spots on Buffalo and Brophy’s Beach Reserves or at home to listen to the live commentary. The Mercury Bay Aero Club will position a marquee alongside the CFM Caravan where lucky numbered programmes will be distributed. These numbers can be then taken back to the Aero Club in the afternoon where there will be a lucky draw to win a flight in a Warbirds Harvard. Volunteers in MBAC/GoFuel high viz jackets will also be distributing numbered programmes from access points at Buffalo and Brophy Beach Reserves. Existing TCDC toilets will be available, but the Aero Club are still working on getting more sponsored portable toilets made available. Also, any existing concession vans can apply to the TCDC Events and Experiences Co-ordinator to provide food and drinks for the Air Show. “This will be a top experience nationally,” says Bill.
Because the display area and aerobatic box reach quite far out into the bay, the Aero Club is working with the Harbour Master and the Coast guard, as well as the MB Boating Club and the Mercury Bay Game Fishing Club to inform the boating community to keep all pleasure and leisure craft well clear of the area for the duration of the display. If any vessels do position themselves within the display area, then the Air Show Director could call a stop to the display, ruining the morning for others. There will be temporary marker buoys placed and the area will be patrolled by the Harbour Master and Coastguard. MBAC volunteers will also be on duty at the various launch ramps on Sunday morning, giving out information to boaties. A map of the display areas is published here for the information of boaties as well as those looking for their own prime vantage points.
Open day at the Airport from 12noon
In all, it is going to be an exciting morning, and all attendees are welcome back to the MB Aero Club for an open afternoon, from 12.00 pm where all the plans will be available for an up-close experience. The lucky number for the ride in the War Birds Harvard will be drawn at 3.00 pm on Sunday at the airfield.
Whiti Food Fest in town from 4.00pm
After a wonderful day of aviation experience, you can make your way back into town for a bite to eat at Soldiers Memorial Park, where the Whiti Food Fest will be set up with food and music from 4.00 pm. What a wonderful way to spend a long weekend in Whitianga!
Air Show PROGRAMME 10.00am Parachute drop from Dakota DC3(10min)
10.10am NZWB Roaring 40’s Harvard’s(12min)
10.22am Waco biplanes (06min)
10.28am Extra – Solo low-level aerobatics(07min)
10.35am De Haviland Beaver(05min)
10.40am RD-7 Home built Aerobatic(07min)
10.47am Westpac Rescue Helicopter(10min)
10.57am NZWB Harvard Low Level Solo(07min)
11.04am P-40 Kittyhawk WW2 Fighter(08min)
11.12am Pitts Special Solo Aerobatics(07min)
11.19am DH ChipmunkWW2 Trainer(06min)
11.25am Red Stars YaK Formation Team(12min)
11.37am P-51 WW2 American Fighter(08min)