01 April 2012

RNZAF 75th anniversary airshow

Photos from yesterday's airshow at RNZAF Ohakea, which entertained thousands from all over the North Island. Certainly there were delays getting into the base, with long traffic tailbacks on roads across the region - there were even reports of traffic backed up at least 30km later in the day. I left Wellington with my friends at 7am and didn't strike delays until a kilometre or two south of Sanson at around 9am, at which point movement virtually halted. But today's Sunday Star Times headline invoking 'traffic chaos' was typically histrionic, for this was an impeccably well-behaved queue with little frustration evident. Only the usual motorcyclists veered onto the wrong side of the road to overtake the stalled line of cars, but aside from that people either enjoyed the start of the show from the roadside or parked up and started walking. We decided to do the same once we'd reached Sanson itself after about a half-hour delay; it was a three kilometre walk there and back, but it was a pleasant day and we were able to get good views of the early fly-pasts, including a breathtaking surprise low level run by four RAAF F/A-18 Hornets, which tore past just above the treetops making a phenomenal amount of noise.

Once inside the airbase the static and aerial displays were all excellent. It was great to see the bulky USAF and RAAF C-17s close up, and to witness the nimble handling of the Hornets later on as they pirouetted in the sky and dashed down the runway at nearly the speed of sound. Sure, it was a bit of a hike back to Sanson afterwards in the hot sunshine. But there were few hold-ups on the drive back south because the RNZAF had extended the airshow opening hours, so everyone didn't try to leave at the same time. Hopefully the air force made a bit of money from the event, because no-one checked our tickets when we entered the base - other less honest folk might have wandered in without paying.  

RAAF F/A-18 Hornets

RNZAF B757

RNZAF P-3 Orion

RAAF Wedgetail

De Havilland Vampire

Grumman Avenger

USAF C-17

RNZAF parachute display team

Roaring Forties Harvards

BAC Strikemaster

RNZAF NH-90

RNZAF A109

RAAF Hornet

USAF C-17

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