World War II Aircraft

 No other period in aviation history has resulted in faster development of aircraft  technology than the Second World War.

A comparison of the earliest aircraft of the conflict to the last aircraft to enter service before war's end is no better illustrated than with the WWII aircraft on show at Wings Over Wairarapa 2015. Nothing invokes the aviation buff's passion like the sights and sounds of the aircraft that took the battle to the enemy between 1939 and 1945.

From the symphonic unrestrained purr of the inline V12s, to the instantly recognisable rumble of gigantic radial engines, through to the latest  word in aircraft development, the jet engine, and its banshee shriek as it performs a low, high speed pass in front of the crowd. Each and every one of these is guaranteed to please, and to bring an emotive tear to the eye of the vets who served with them.

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Supermarine Spitfire Tr IX: No Commonwealth aircraft is more recognisable than the Spitfire, from the Mk I produced in 1936 it went through development to Mk XXII, and served in most theatres of the Second World  War.  The incomparable Rolls Royce Merlin powerplant produces a sound best described as a 12 cylinder symphony.  The Tr IX may not be as familiar to airshow visitors as the single seater but this conversion to a 2 seat trainer is none the less as stunningly beautiful as its better known stablemate.

 

 

Spitfire Mk IX: Without doubt the most sort after mark of the Spitfire dynasty and carrying the markings of New Zealand's most famous Battle Of Britain pilot, Alan Deere this truly exceptional recent rebuild, completed and owned by Alan Deeres's nephew will join with the Tr IX for the first time, making a unique spectacle. There's a famous saying “there is only one thing better than the sound of a Rolls Royce Merlin and that's 2 Rolls Royce Merlins” and the first chance to hear it and see it will be at WOW 2013.

 

 

 

P40 Kittyhawk: No Masterton airshow would be complete without the inclusion of the Kittyhawk.  The aircraft based in Masterton was originally based here when 14 Squadron were forming up prior to going in to combat in 1942.  It was also the first Kittyhawk a young Geoff Fisken flew while based at Hood Aerodrome, prior to going on to be NZ's highest scoring ace in the Pacific in a P40 Kittyhawk.

 

  Goodyear FG-4U Corsair: The Masterton based Corsair is unique in that it is the only ex RNZAF Corsair remaining in airworthy condition.  A comparison of its size with a long undercarriage, huge Pratt & Whitney radial and long nose shows it to be very much the big brother of the other single seaters on display at the Airshow.   After spending years as a gate guardian at a Rukuhia Service Station it was taken overseas and eventually owned by the Hannas' Old Flying Machine Company in England, before being brought by Old Stick & Rudder Company and returned to NZ.

 

  North American Mustang: Designed and built in 120 days the Mustang was first employed by the RAF as a fighter bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. When repowered with the Packhard Merlin the considerable increase in high altitude performance and range made it a viable long range bomber escort.  Many were operated by the RNZAF through to the fifties and some were still on operational squadrons in the Americas through to the 1980s.    The Mustang was to the US forces what the Spitfire represented to the Commonwealth forces.

 

  Harvards: Built before WW2 as an advanced trainer, their manufacturer, North American would never have believed that today, some 70 odd years later the Harvard is still in everyday use as a 'Warbird'. The aircraft you see here are ex RNZAF Harvards, now flown by the New Zealand Warbird display team, The Roaring Forties. A crowd favourite every where they go, who doesn't recognize the sound of its propeller tips breaking the sound barrier?
 

 

  The Yak 3: was the result of the designer's frustration with the unreliability of the higher powered engines being produced in Russia in 1943. He decided to use the proven Klimov V-12 1300 hp engine, take all the weight and drag he could out of the proven Yak 1 airframe and add a new design wing of only 9.2 metre span. The resulting Yak 3 was an instant success. It was simple to maintain, strongly constructed, well armed with a quick firing 20mm cannon and two 12.7mm machine guns, very manoeuvrable and FAST. It was loved by pilots and ground crew alike and its appearance on the Eastern Front in the summer of 1944 helped Soviet pilots wrest control of the skies from the Me-109 and Fw-190 of the Luftwaffe.
 

 Watch this space for regular Display Aircraft updates.

 

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