Saturday 6 April 2024

The L-39's at Wanaka

 The Aero L-39 Albatros's at Wanaka.

Four Aero L-39 Albatros aircraft flew as the American Eagles during the Easter Weekend Wanaka Airshow. Lined up on the Apron at Wanaka Airport are ZK-EJA "48" c/n 831148, ZK-WLM "28" c/n 332701, ZK-TCS "88" c/n 131848 and ZK-VLK "68" c/n 332630.

The pilots were 

Dean "Wilbur" Wright. #1, Flight Lead.
Dean is a retired USAF fighter Pilot with 151 combat hours and 4,000 total fighter hours. He flew the A-10 Warthog during Operation Desert Storm and the F-117 Stealth Fighter during the Second Gulf War. He also flew Hawks and Harriers with the Royal Air Force on exchange. He is also a former member of the USAF "Thunderbirds' F-16 display team.

Rob "Stache" Hutchinson. #2, Right Wing.
Rob is a competitive aerobatic pilot. He is also an accomplished skydiver and an avid marathoner.

John "Bordz" Posson, #3, Left Wing.
John has had 25 years as a commercial pilot and has logged over 1,300 hors in the P-51 Mustang as an instructor for Stallion 51 in Florida. His vintage aircraft experience includes flying DC-3s, Beech 18s. Grumman Widgeons and more. 

Paul "Sticky" Strickland, #4, Slot
Paul is a retired USAF A-10, F-5 and F-16 pilot with 270 combat hours and 3,000 total fighter hours. He served also as #4 slot with the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron 'Thunderbirds'. 

All four are members of the Patriots L-39 Jet Display Team USA.
"28" is ZK-WLM and c/n 332701 and was originally '28' with the Ukranian Air Force from about 1983. In February 2002 it popped up as N39AQ with Vintage Wings until cancelled on 07-02-2003 to become ZK-LLR with B-B Aviation Ltd (Rob Borius-Broek) of Christchurch from 21-02-2003. It was re-registered as ZK-WLM on 01-11-2004 to Rob, but now of Wanaka. It was re-listed to JetFlights Wanaka Ltd from 14-09-2006 and then sold to McCready Investment Trust of Auckland from 17-11-2010 and more recently, 26-11-2021, to Peter Beck of Howick. 
For the Wanaka Show it was in the care of FighterJets NZ of Tauranga.

"48" is ZK-EJA c/n 832248 and was '25' with the Ukranian Air Force from 1978 until becoming N39ED from 25-09-2003 with Apogee Aerospace Inc of Antioch, California. It then served with Maya Properties LLC from February 2005 and Schuster Aviation LLC from 15-10-2010 and was part of the 'Patriots' L-39 Team. 
It first flew from Tauranga as N39ED on 06-02-2014 and was registered ZK-EJA on 03-12-2014 to Easter Jets Ltd (Craig Mossman) in the markings of VMF-214.

"68" is ZK-VLK c/n 332630 and was originally white "80" from 1983. It became N139PV with Peter Vause of Chicago from 08-01-2004. Peter imported it into NZ where it became ZK-VLT on 17-12-2004 with Oilfield Equipment Rental Ltd at New Plymouth. It joined Eastern Jets NZ Ltd at Tauranga from 12-07-2023 and now wears white '68' marks.

"68" is ZK-TCS2 c/n 131848 and was originally '137' with the Ukrainian Air Force. It came to NZ in these marks to be repainted blue during its NZ certification to ZK-TCS on 05-01-2007 for the Copter Shop Ltd of Nelson. It was relisted to Eastern Jets NZ Ltd at Tauranga from 20-12-2018 and is now white '88'.
All four were operated under Craig Mossman's FIGHTERJETS.NZ label and were marked as such.

.Check out the fighterjets site all four on the dull Thursday pre Wanaka Airshow.

1 comment:

  1. For several months now, these aircraft, one at a time on a rotational basis, have been hangared in Classic Flyers main hangar at Tauranga Airport, flanked by Skyhawk NZ6201 and Avenger NZ2539. I understand there is insufficient room to house them all together in their own hangar.