2018 Media Release

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Classics of the Sky 2018 - Media Release 5th Jan

Tauranga City’s “Classics of the Sky” air show on Saturday 20 January is shaping up to be our best yet.

What would be better, with parking right on site than strolling in, from 1.30pm, picnic basket and chair in hand and enjoying an afternoon’s flying display.  We have introduced a $60.00 family pass making it cheaper for family groups than ever before.

Opening the show, at 3pm, will be the ever popular Roaring Forties Harvard aerobatic team with their trade mark smoke and snarly engines. However, the stars of the show will be the Royal New Zealand Air Force “Black Falcon” aerobatic team, performing for the first time over Tauranga.

There are lots of fancy aerobatic displays in store; Steve Geard, an aerobatic display pilot of international repute, is billed once more to put on a seemingly impossible handling display in his Yak 55M. Other show favourites include the Yak 52 flown by Mike O’Rourke, Graeme Bethell in his P-51 Mustang and then there’s Tiger Moth maestro, David Phillips, who seemingly defies the elements, all with apparent ease.

There will also be the turn of the agricultural aircraft; Andrew Hogarth will delight with the prowess of the New Zealand built PAC 750. Mike O’Rourke will team up with Elton Haakma for a gyrocopter formation. In recent times these craft have become increasingly popular especially in the Tauranga skies.

A large array of military vehicles, including tanks will be making their presence felt. These will be manned by heavily armed enthusiasts who are in for an invasion with plenty of action, noise and fire power. No doubt we will be saved by “friendly” aircraft out there warding off the enemy.

Take time out to look at the static displays. A planned highlight is not one, not two but three Grumman Avenger aircraft – a rare sight now anywhere. One is airworthy, flown by Squadron Leader Jim Rankin, another can flex its wings and the third is still being passionately restored by our engineering team.  After Jim has demonstrated the Avenger he then goes into “Mr Anger” mode and launches an attack. Watch out for bombs, AA, smoke and fire. Fortunately the fire will be brought under control …

In a peaceful static mode, showing off its recent refurbishment is a de Havilland Heron in a genuine National Airways Corporation livery. Our Korean War veteran North American Sabre, also refurbished in recent months, will join the Heron illustrating the high degree of workmanship and passion our engineers put into their various projects.

Also billed is a brace of Boeings! Okay, not B-52s or Jumbos but three Boeing Stearman bi-planes flown by Marty, Mike and Willie. Often mistaken for Tiger Moths, these were American training aircraft in World War II.

A rather different battle will take place racing along the runway. The big question on everyone’s lips will be, who will win? Will it be the high performance L-39 Albatross jet or can the Lexus LC500 hold its own? All will be revealed as they tussle against each other in a race up and down the runway. 

2018 marks one hundred years since the end of World War One so in remembrance of the 11th hour, day and month it is appropriate to have the last post.

Please remember –

Ticket prices: Adults $25, Children $15, Family $60 (2 x adults & up to 3 children)

Visitors are not permitted to bring their own alcohol however we do have our own liquor licence to quench thirsts with a range of beverages (INCLUDING WATER) and a wide range of food stalls on site.

There are lots of kids’ entertainment activities.

For safety reasons smoking and pets are prohibited.

Feel free to bring some shade and lots of sunscreen.


A group of passionate individuals got together to achieve this dream of creating Classic Flyers to protect the rich and precious history of New Zealand aviation.

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