MFW June 2013 - Page 3

Well, once again, MFNZ had a significant presence at the Classic Fighters Airshow at Omaka, just out of Blenheim. For those that have never been to this show, you really ought to make the effort at least once. Nowhere else in the world will you see such a unique collection of aircraft, and flying displays so close. There are many overseas visitors who comment on just how amazing this is, given the trend to have flying displays well away from the viewers, given today’s more safety conscious environments and rules, especially after a few recent high-profile airshow accidents around the world. This show is always held at Easter, and with it being as early as it can get this year, the weather did not pose too much of a threat, except it blew, and blew some more. Our Trade-Me Party tent stood up well, with a few extra guy ropes. There are Fokker Triplanes, the Sopwith Tripe, and many others including a Camel, Nieuport, Bristol Fighter, a Pup and an Albatross, and that’s just WW1 vintage. WW2 is well represented by a Spitfire, Corsair, P40s, Yak3s, a Bf 108, a Mustang and even the new FW-190 “Butcher Bird”. Bill Reid’s Anson was finished and flew beautifully, I had the good fortune to be a crew member on a ground run. This aircraft is immaculate and looks every bit the way it would have as it left the factory in 1936. There's a view of my wireless operator's position in the picture at right. There was a total of 6,688 of these Mk I s built, now just a very few remain in museums and this is the only one flying. It is important to realize that most of these aircraft are not “replicas” but are in fact late production aircraft built from the original plans. Modern materials are substituted where it makes sense, or the original material is no longer available. Aluminium and some steel alloys come into this category. Once again, the ground battle was hard-fought and as predicted, the British and Americans routed the German forces. However, this year there was a real-life casualty. A mortar misbehaved and caused a non-theatrical injury. I understand there were about 25,000 visitors there on the Saturday, an alltime record, It was a perfect day in all respects, Friday and Sunday had quite a few less, with weather than was not quite so good. I believe that the organizers did turn in a good profit. It’s always a gamble and highly weather dependent. There's an old joke about air-shows:-- “It's a good way to show a small profit, just start with a large profit” MFNZ had a front-row tent well stocked with advertising material, brochures, magazines, engine and R/C displays and several models. As usual, we had a flight simulator setup and this got a thorough work-out all weekend. Many times on the three days, there was not much spare room, and nearly always a wait for the simulator. None of this would have been possible without the help of many others. Special thanks go to John Isitt, Jonathan Shorer, Alan Knox, Murray Herd, Phil Elvy, Richard Craddock, Rex Ashwell, and Carl McMillian. In addition Dianne Lennox, who ably gives a woman’s/ mother’s perspective to prospective modelmothers and /or “modeling widows!” I might have missed out somebody, apologies if I have. We met many modelers from around New Zealand, and more than I can remember from Australia, with several more from the UK, South Africa, USA, and more. There were a number of retailers there selling models, mainly small electric Helo's and ARFs. Every year these are becoming cheaper and more capable. It will only be a matter of a few more years and they will be in your cereal packets.