Tuesday 29 January 2013

The New Zealand International Airshow at North Shore

The New Zealand International Airshow was held at North Shore Airfield over the Auckland Anniversary weekend, 26 to 28 January 2013.  From what I saw it was an airshow (Jim), but not as we know it.  It seemed more like an aerial X Games.

Two local Robins ZK-TZD and ZK-TZF did a lot of the flying, including the air races in which the 2 planes competed over a fixed side by side course which included loops and stall turns, flown by a succession of pilots trailling smoke, on a knock-out basis until a winner was found on the last day.  They also flew with the Jetman who was the main attraction.  The start plane for the air races was Furio ZK-LLG.

The show kicked off each day with vintage aircraft displays featuring locally based De Havilland aircraft.  The there were also displays from the Air Force, who used the event for recruiting with their big bus on the airfield.  Then there were daily displays from Extra 300 ZK-XRA and Stikemaster ZK-STR, and also various parchutists.  And that was about it really.

One of the parachute displays that was quite spectacular was from Melissa and Rex Pemberton.  He was dropped from a helicopter from 12,000 feet wearing a "squirrel suit", and he proceeded to glide very fast at a glide ratio of 3 to 1 while trailing smoke.  The Melissa, who is a member of the American Aerobatic Team, flew the Giles 202 ZK-NUT around him as he sped through the sky, as photo'd above with a very long lens and considerable cropping.

I think this photo captures a sense of the speed that he was flying.  Is it a bird?  Is it a plane?

Then Melissa proceeded to do an impressive aerobatics display in ZK-NUT to finish off their routine.

As I said, it was an airshow but not as we know it.  Everything seemed to have been done well and also quite expensively (huge screens on the airfield to see the action in the air, traffic control, complementary buses to the airfield, miles of temporary fencing, portaloos for Africa....).  It will be interesting to see if it broke even, as I think the crowds were down on those anticipated.  I hope it did. 


  1. It will be interesting to see if it broke even. Here are some figures you may like to mull over.

    Airshow Systems Ltd made an application to Auckland Council for a grant to pay for the anniversary day harbour flyover component of the event. Because of this, the event's financials were published on the internet on 19 November 2012 (two months out) and read as follows:

    Total running cost: $1,400,000
    Projected revenue: $1,800,000

    Revenue sources

    Trade exhibitions: $72,000
    Parking and buses: $53,000
    Sponsorship contracts: $232,000
    Commercial sponsors: $143,000
    Food vendors: $26,000
    Ticket sales: $1,200,000

    Ticket sales were projected to be 30,000 at $42 each. I am assuming this is the $60 or $55 less tax.

    Have at it.

  2. and they said on campbell live that they gna make it a annual event

  3. I attended and, I must say, it wasn't terrible. Compared to other New Zealand airshows such as Wanaka and the Air Force Ohakea and Whenuapai, or even the 'smaller' events such as Tauranga a few years back it was not much to go for; the aircraft participation was actually minimal. There was a nearly two hour block at the beginning of the show for 'vintage aircraft', in which the local de Havilland craft flew. It was sad to see them relegated and disrespected somewhat with such a title.

    On the whole, the stand out was the use of technology. The inflight streaming to the large screens on the ground was really, really good. To non-aviation folks, I'm sure seeing pilots actually flying was quite exciting. The visuals of the formation flying and particularly jetman and the parachutists were brilliant, and without them those acts would've been far less spectacular.
    Economically, this will have likely flopped.

    Whenuapai Airshow Programme 2009 for $5

    9.15am-10.30am - RNZAF Morning Display featuring:
    Solo Airtrainer aerobatics
    Kiwi Blue Parachute Team
    Hercules display
    Harvard aerobatics
    Red Checkers aerobatics
    Boeing 757 display

    10.30am -12.15pm - Warbirds Display featuring:
    A37 Dragonfly
    Roaring Forties Harvards
    DC3 Dakota
    T28 Trojan
    Yak formation
    F4 Corsair
    P51 Mustang
    L39 Albatross
    12.15pm-1.10pm - Lunch Break featuring:
    Warbirds scenic flights for public (DC3, Catalina, Yak, Vampire, Albatross)
    Wing walking
    Gliding aerobatics display
    MX-2 vs V8 Car drag race
    Westpac Helicopter display
    Dog Handling display
    Maori Culture Group performance
    1.10pm-1.25pm - USAF Display featuring:
    C-17 GlobemasterIII

    1.25pm-4.05pm - RNZAF Afternoon Display featuring:
    Helicopter line-up
    Kiwi Blue Parachute Team
    RNZAF maritime rescue display
    RNZAF airfield insertion display
    Iroquois role demonstration
    Sioux handling display
    P3 Orion display
    Iroquois role demonstration
    Harvard display
    757 handling display
    Iroquois handling display
    9-ship airtrainer formation flypast
    Hercules handling display
    Red Checkers aerobatics
    Formation Thunder

    4.05pm-4.20pm - RAAF Display featuring
    F/A -18 Hornet
    4.20pm-4.40pm - Afternoon Activity featuring:
    Warbirds scenic flights for public (DC3, Catalina, Yak)
    Iroquois flight

    1700 - Gates closed

    NZ 'International' Airshow Programme for $55! (Monday)

    Vintage aircraft and model aircraft displays.
    Introduction of TV Helicopters and Crew
    Aerobatic Display - Richard Hood - Giles 202
    International Air Racing - Grand Final - NZ vs. Rest of the World Series 1. Head to head racing.
    BAC Mk 88 Strikemaster jet display
    Red Checkers - Royal New Zealand Air Force Formation Team
    Stuntman Chuck Berry (Red Bull)
    US Squirrel Skydiving Stunt Team
    Boeing 757 - Royal NZ Air Force
    International Air Racing - Grand Final - NZ vs. Rest of the World Series 2. Head to head racing.
    Aerobatics Display - Wayne Ormrod (Extra 300) Sponsored by the Rock FM

    The difference is like night and day!

  4. The company Airshow Systems Ltd. went into liquidation on 4th February 2013.

  5. Boy, watching plane exhibitions is a thing of beauty. They seem to move cohesively together and perform feats that flow like art. The stunts they perform would not be all possible if there was a flaw in their designs. However, their dexterity and nimble movements are to be credited to the pilot. Thanks for sharing!

    Cash Carroll