Saturday, April 30, 2011

Omaka Air Show, Blenheim

More images received from Bryan Blanchard, from this year's Omaka Air Show, held on alternate (odd number) years at Easter.

The show is put on by Classic Fighters, and raises funds for the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, which according to their website:

... began with a resurgence of heritage aviation interest in Marlborough in the late 1990's when a group of enthusiasts imported two Chinese Nanchang trainers and established the Marlborough Warbirds Association as a way to foster interest and provide a social network of support ...

At this point, in 1997, a small group of aircraft owners and enthusiasts got together to discuss the means by which these aircraft could be made accessible to the public on a more practical and sustainable basis, and grow the public understanding and appreciation of aviation. It culminated in the formation of the New Zealand Aviation Museum Trust. Their vision was that this facility should be a hub; a focal point of activity reaching not only aviation but also tourism, education and industry to the benefit of the Marlborough community, New Zealand and aviation enthusiasts throughout the world.

Featured in the show were some tanks, made of fibreglass according to Bryan and put together for Weta Workshop of all things.

" ... the Panzer 4, a German tank replica appearing for the first time at Classic Fighters. It was built for Weta Workshop, in Wellington, which has loaned it to Omaka for the airshow along with two replica Allied tanks from World War I. 

"Asked how the huge machines were transported, Dave just grins ad says: "You put them on a loader, take them to a ferry and drive them on, then drive them off again." 

Sadly, there are question marks as to whether the show will continue in succeeding years.

The Classic Fighters airshow at Omaka is a great event, put on at great risk, organiser Graham Orphan says.It is too early to say whether the show would be put on again in two years, Mr Orphan said.The organisation team had yet to evaluate how it went financially. 

"It would be folly of us to say that we would always keep doing it." 

... Bad weather could ground planes and scupper a show, causing a large loss."I have started to think this is aeronautical Russian roulette: [each time you think] will this be the time where we lose hundreds of thousands of dollars?" Organisers were keen to continue; they were just being prudent and mindful of risk, he said. They would meet to refine the formula of the show and look at ways to make it more profitable. 

They were also exhausted after months of voluntary toil and putting their lives and businesses on hold, he said. "There's a lot of pluses, a lot of good things about it; it's difficult to have too many negatives. All we have is caution."
Marlborough Express 26 April 2011

Update, 2 May 2011: Since posting this, the link to the post has been picked up by a Polish message board, apparently (I don't know Polish, so I'm guessing) about old military vehicles. Thanks for the link, folks!

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