New Zealand Airshow Display Teams and Soloists

Miscellaneous Military Display Teams

The Hobsonville Aerobatic Team

No. 42 Squadron Harvard Display Team

Kiwi Thunder

Seasprites

Solo Display Performers

 

 

 

 

 


The Hobsonville Aerobatic Team

This was a three-ship display team consisting of Vickers Vildebeest biplane reconnaissance bombers that were based at prewar RNZAF Station Hobsonville. This is undoubtedly the first dedicated RNZAF aerobatic display team formed for public displays. Cyril Kay wrote about the team in his 1964 autobiography, "The Restless Sky", thus:

"New Zealand then was a country with a small population in relation to its area, only 1¼ million; and even today it barely tops the two and a half million mark. In such circumstances it would be expected that money for defence purposes would be similarly limited, as indeed it was. If the Air Force then, being the youngest service, hoped to be allotted its due share of the available funds it must put itself in a favourable light with those responsible - the Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament, and the general public.

One good way of doing this was to show the aircraft in public display, and to this end the Hobsonville Aerobatic team came into being, with myself as leader and Nugget Cohen and Tony Lester as the other two members, and it was not long before our cumbersome Vildebeest - looping, wheeling, and zooming in tight formation - were featured at most of the aero club pageants and ceremonial events throughout the country."

The Vildebeests arrived at Hobsonville in the period of April to June 1935, and six aircraft served on that station till mid-late 1937, at which point the Vilde's moved south to Wigram to join the Flying Training School there. So this team had to have existed sometime between June 1935 and around September 1937. I don't know if the aerobatic team continued to display once the men and machibes were based at Wigram. If anyone has details of any of this team's displays at air pageants or other events, I'd be keen to hear please. Email me

Display Dates
Venue
Pilots
Notes
1935-37
Unknown

F/O Cyril Kay

F/O Ronald "Nugget" Cohen

F/O Tony Lester


Source: The actual air pageant prgramme

The No. 42 Squadron Harvard Display Team

Display Dates
Venue
Pilots
Notes

The No. 42 Squadron Harvard Display team - 1950
16th of Sept 1950
_
RNZAF Ohakea
Visitor's Day, 1950


Note:

This team is noted in the programme for the RNZAF Ohakea Visitor's Day on Saturday the 16th of September 1950. The programme notes that from 3.50 till 4.00pm there would be "Formation Aerobatics by Harvards of No. 42 Squadron." This is all I know.

Source - the RNZAF Ohakea Visitors day Programme from Saturday 16th of Sept 1950

 

Seasprites

The display team of No. 6 Squadron, RNZAF consists of a pair of Seasprite helicopters, more commonly seen aboard the RNZN's frigates. They debuted at Warbirds Over Wanaka 2006

Display Dates
Venue
Pilots
Notes

14-16 of Apr 2006
(Easter)

Warbirds Over Wanaka. Luggate, Wanaka

?

?

 

 

 

Kiwi Thunder

Display Dates
Venue
Pilots
Notes
       

RNZAF Solo Display Performers

Display Dates
Venue
Pilots
Notes


No. 41 Squadron Douglas C-47 Dakota

16th of Sept 1950
RNZAF Ohakea
Visitor's Day, 1950

Note:

This flypast is noted in the programme for the RNZAF Ohakea Visitor's Day on Saturday the 16th of September 1950. The programme notes that from 3.00 till 3.10pm there would be "Supply drop by a Dakota of No. 41 transport Squadron."

Source - the RNZAF Ohakea Visitors day Programme from Saturday 16th of Sept 1950


No. 42 Squadron Auster
16th of Sept 1950
RNZAF Ohakea
Visitor's Day, 1950

Note:

This flypast is noted in the programme for the RNZAF Ohakea Visitor's Day on Saturday the 16th of September 1950. The programme notes that at 3.20pm there would be "Flying Demonstration by an Auster of No. 42 Squadron."

Source - the RNZAF Ohakea Visitors day Programme from Saturday 16th of Sept 1950


No.
75 Squadron de Havilland Mosquito
16th of Sept 1950
RNZAF Ohakea
Visitor's Day, 1950

Note:

This flypast is noted in the programme for the RNZAF Ohakea Visitor's Day on Saturday the 16th of September 1950. The programme notes that at 3.30pm there would be "Aerobatics by Mosquito aircraft of No. 75 Squadron."

Source - the RNZAF Ohakea Visitors day Programme from Saturday 16th of Sept 1950


No.
42 Squadron de havilland Devon
16th of Sept 1950
RNZAF Ohakea
Visitor's Day, 1950

Note:

This flypast is noted in the programme for the RNZAF Ohakea Visitor's Day on Saturday the 16th of September 1950. The programme notes that at 3.40pm there would be "Formation demonstration by a Devon of of No. 42 Squadron."

Source - the RNZAF Ohakea Visitors day Programme from Saturday 16th of Sept 1950


Central Flying School Harvard

June 1968 till
December 1968
Various
F/O Ken Gayfer
Email from Ken Gayfer to me
1969-1970
Various
John Lanham
Email from John Lanham to me
24th of June 1977
RNZAF Wigram, on the day the Harvards retired officially with a mass formation flypast
Jim Barclay
Email from Jim Barclay to me

Harvard NZ1015 of the RNZAF Historic Flight of the CFS
1980 - 1982
Various including
"Harrier Day" Ohakea
Sqn Ldr John Bates
'Kiwi Red - Six of the Best' Video
28th of Feb 1981
Air Force Day 81, Ohakea
Flt Lt R. Ginder
NZ Wings April 1981, page 28
1st of Apr 1987
RNZAF 50th Anniversary
RNZAF Wigram
Sqn Ldr M. Panther
Info from Mark Rogers via http://rnzaf.proboards43.com


Vampire

28th Mar 1955
________________

RNZAF's 21st
Anniversary, Ohakea
Fg Off Murray Turnbull


Canberra (No. 75 Squadron)

18-29 Mar 1961

Accompanying the Central
Flying School Aerobatic
Team on their
'North Island Tour' to...

Stratford, Hamilton,Kaitaia,
Kaikohe, Whangarei,
Dargarville, Tauranga,
Matamata, Paeroa,
Thames, Morrinsville,
Gisbourne, Wairoa,
Napier, Hastings
and Waipukurau

Flt Lt Barry Gordon

F/O Peter C. Pennell

______________________

Pilot

Navigator



Note:

Former RNZAF Navigator Peter Pennell has sent this memory of his role in a solo Canberra act in 1961.

"In 1961 while at Ohakea I was teamed up with Barry Gordon in a B.12 for a recruitment tour of NZ.   The Red Checkers, accompanied by a Bristol Freighter, toured NZ cities and towns, while we flew in from Ohakea each day 'beating up' two designated towns on the way and putting on quite a display at the airfield where the others were..."  

The towns mentioned above are only thoise where the Red Checkers displayed and stayed on their tour. The list does not include the two other towns per display that Barry Gordon and Peter Pennell 'beat up'. Sadly Peter lost his logbook in a fire so this list is all I have at this stage.

Thanks to Peter Pennel for his memories of these displays.

Email from Peter pennell

1967 - 1970
23 displays
Gavin Trethewey
Pilot


Note:

Gavin Trethewey recalls the following about his solo Canberra display days:

 

"It was a lovely aeroplane and with a minimal fuel load and no weapons it had a good surplus of power.  It was theoretically not aerobatic, but if you were careful it could do an impressive display of noise with limited aerobatics. 

My standard displays included rolls, an inverted run, a power off loop (pulling up at 400kts with the engines at idle right round the loop). 

If the display commenced from take off, I would start with a roll off the top.  To achieve that we would get airborne, get the gear up but hold the aeroplane right down just above the ground till 190 kts, then a 3 'G' pull up and over. 

Because we had a 4 'G' limit and it was easy to overstress, the gunsight was removed for displays and an accelerometer was fitted in its place so I could monitor the 'G' loading carefully.   Lots of fun.  We always carried a navigator and they were very brave guys to ride through it all."

Thanks to Gavin Trethewey for his memories of displaying the English Electirc Canberra.

 

Above: Gavin Trethewey flies past the Ohakea tower at 480kts on his last
Canberra solo display before the Canberra was retired to Woodbourne.
Photo courtesy of Gavin Trethewey

Email from Gavin Trethewey to me


Canberra (No. 14 Squadron)
1969
Various
John Lanham
Pilot
May 1969 Whenuapai Open Day Arthur Dovey Pil


Notes:

Arthur Dovey says:

"On looking back thru' the logbook I see a Canberra T13 display
rehearsal at Whenuapai in May 69 followed by a solo display for a
Whenuapai Open Day but I don't remember that at all."

Emails from John Lanham and Arthur Dovey to me

 


Skyhawk (No. 75 Squadron)

Sqn Ldr Roger Henstock
Email from JFrank Sharp
    Flt Lt Rod Anyan
Email from Frank Sharp
1975-1976 Various John Lanham
Email from John Lanham to me

1983-85

Various
John Bates
Video "Kiwi Red: Six of the Best"
1985-86
Various
Bruce Keightly
Video "Kiwi Red: Six of the Best"
20-22 Nov 1992
Air Expo 92, Mangere
 


Strikemaster (No. 14 Squadron)

Garry Rasmussen

Nick Pedley
Gavin Howse
1973
Various
John Lanham
Email from John Lanham to me


Note:

Jim Barclay reports that Garry Rasmussen, Nick Pedley and Gavin Howse were all solo Strikemaster display pilots during his time as CO of No. 14 Squadron.

 


Macchi (No. 14 Squadron)

       


P-3K Orion (No. 5 Squadron)

28th of Feb 1981_
Air Force Day 81, Ohakea
Sqn Ldr Gordon Ragg
and crew
New Zealand Wings magazine, April 1981, page 28
4th of March 1990
Ardmore Airshow
3rd April 2004
RNZAF Ohakea
Open Day
Sqn Ldr Lampen-Smith
and crew in NZ4202
Mike Kennedy, who was aboard as aircrew
25th and 26th of
March 2006
RNZAF Museum Wigram
Open Day
Sqn Ldr Shearer
and crew in NZ4201
with special
No. 5 Squadron
40th Anniversary
Tail Markings
Mike Kennedy, who was aboard as aircrew
3rd March 2007 RNZAF Whenuapai
Open Day
Sqn Ldr Nielson
and crew in NZ4205
Mike Kennedy, who was aboard as aircrew


C-130 Hercules (No. 40 Squadron)

28th of Feb 1981
Air Force Day 81, Ohakea
Sqn Ldr Al King
and crew
New Zealand Wings magazine, April 1981, page 29
4th of March 1990
Ardmore Airshow
2003
Ardmore Airshow

Tiger Moth NZ662 (RNZAF Historic Flight)
1st of April 1987
_
RNZAF 50th Anniversary
RNZAF Wigram
Flt Lt Edwards
Info from Mark Rogers via http://rnzaf.proboards43.com

Avro 626 (RNZAF Historic Flight)
1st of April 1987
_
RNZAF 50th Anniversary
RNZAF Wigram
Wg Comm John Lanham
Info from Mark Rogers via http://rnzaf.proboards43.com
1984-1987
Various including Hamilton
Wg Comm John Lanham
Email from John Lanham to me


Note:

Wing Commander John Lanham was the only pilot to fly the Avro 626 after its restoration. The aircraft was retired to the RNZAF Museum.

 


Bell UH-1H Iroquois
6th of Jan 1995 World Gliding Champs, Omarama Sqn Ldr Jim Finlayson Feb 1995 Volume II 'RNZAF News'
 

 

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