Tuesday April 13, 2021

NZ's Wairarapa airshow attracts thousands of visitors

Published : 28 Feb 2021, 10:54

  DF News Desk

Airplanes perform during the Wings Over Wairarapa airshow at the Hood Aerodrome in Masterton, New Zealand, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo Xinhua by by Zhang Jianyong.

Over 15,000 people gathered and crowded on the side of the airstrip of Hood Aerodrome in Masterton, New Zealand on Saturday, to watch the biennial Wings Over Wairarapa airshow, reported Xinhua.

Wings Over Wairarapa 2021 began on Friday and will run for three days. It featured over 70 aircraft including vintage, military, New Zealand Defence Force, jets, helicopters, aerobatic displays, and skydiving.

The audiences have previously seen aircraft from WWI and WWII, including the world-famous Vintage Aviator aircraft collection owned by Peter Jackson, which includes replicas of some of the earliest aeroplanes and this year was no different.

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-130J Hercules and a U.S. Air Force's B-52 Stratofortress participated in the air display on Saturday.

Wings Over Wairarapa general manager Jenny Gasson said being one of the first air shows in the world to get back off the ground since COVID-19, she is expecting a large, varied crowd of people from aviation to non-aviation backgrounds.

"In addition to the spectacular flying programme there will be fantastic ground displays, as well as activities for small and big kids alike such as the STEM Aviation and Education programme designed to inspire youngsters to learn about potential aviation careers."

Friday's practice day saw over 5,000 Wairarapa students attend the first day of the biennial event.

Organizers of Wings Over Wairarapa acknowledged the complexities of running such a large-scale event amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They vowed to ensure that social distancing, contact tracing and hygiene protocols are catered for at Alert Level 1.

COVID-19 alert and strict lockdown had made it difficult on whether the event would go ahead this year. Due to new community cases of COVID-19, the COVID-19 Alert Level in the largest city Auckland moved up to Alert Level 3 and the rest of the country entered Alert Level 2 on Feb. 14.

Fortunately, New Zealand relaxed its COVID-19 restrictions, except Auckland, by moving from level 2 to Alert Level 1 on Feb. 17, thanks to success in controlling COVID-19.

At Alert Level 1, everyone can return to work, school, sports and domestic travel, without gathering restrictions. However, border restrictions and good hygiene are required.