Knights of the Sky – Wings Over Wairarapa 2013

The Wings Over Wairarapa 2013 air show in Masterton, New Zealand featured many spectacular flying displays but something really cool about this show was being able to see many World War One era wooden framed, fabric covered biplane and triplane aircraft take flight. The Knights of the Sky return!

Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a Wings Over Wairarapa 2013 NZ
Dawn Patrol! Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a’s

The Vintage Aviator who are based at Hood Aerodrome in Masterton provided the World War One era aircraft for the air show (when the winds allowed them to fly). They maintain and operate all of the aircraft on behalf of the 1914-18 Aviation Heritage Trust which has a major benefactor in Peter Jackson the famous New Zealand movie maker.

Sopwith Camel Sopwith Triplane NZ
Sopwith excellence the Camel & Triplane
The Vintage Aviator Masterton NZ Hood Aerodrome
Vintage Aviator Lineup
Fokker DR.I Triplane Vintage Aviator NZ
Fokker DR.I’s the German Triplane

The Vintage Aviator do not just produce and display replica aircraft (made to look like originals), they also build reproduction aircraft following the original plans and building techniques while using as many original parts as possible (especially engines). “Our primary aim is to build WW1 aircraft, engines and propellers to the same exacting standards they were originally made over 90 years ago”.

Airco DH.5 The Vintage Aviator Hood Aerodrome Masterton NZ Wings Over Wairarapa 2013
Airco DH.5
Airco Dh.5 WW1
Note the unusual “back-stagger” positioning of the wings to provide improved forward visibility
Nieuport XI "Bebe" scout
Nieuport XI “Bebe” scout
Nieuport XI "Bebe" in WW1 Italian markings and colour scheme
Nieuport XI “Bebe” in Italian markings and colour scheme
Sopwith Triplane Wings Over Wairarapa 2013 NZ
Sopwith Triplane
Sopwith Triplane NZ Vintage Aviator
Sopwith Triplane

The Vintage Aviator collection also amazingly includes actual original aircraft from World War One which still fly! These aircraft are an Avro 504K, Bristol F2.B Fighter and a Royal Aircraft Factory Be.2F (the latter was the only one to fly at this show).

Bristol F2.B Fighter - one of the best British WW1 aircraft and operated from 1916 until 1930!
Bristol F2.B Fighter – one of the best British WW1 aircraft and operated from 1916 until 1930!
Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2F (WW1 Original)
Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2F (WW1 Original)
Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2F (WW1 Original) Wings Over Wairarapa 2013
Even moving the BE.2F  was done the old way!
Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2F (WW1 Original) The Vintage Aviator NZ
Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2F (WW1 original)

Along with their original and reproduction aircraft The Vintage Aviator collection includes some famous replica aircraft used in the 1966 movie The Blue Max starring George Peppard. These are a Pfalz D.III and Fokker D.VII which were built by US companies for the movie.

Pfalz D.III from The Blue Max NZ
Pfalz D.III from The Blue Max
Pfalz D.III from The Blue Max NZ Vintage Aviator Wings OVer Wairarapa 2013
Pfalz D.III
Pfalz D.III Vintage Aviator
Pfalz D.III
Nieuport XI  Pfalz D.II dogfightI
Scout vs Scout – Nieuport XI and Pfalz D.III dogfight
Fokker D.VII from The Blue Max Wings Over Wairarapa 2013
Fokker D.VII from The Blue Max
Sopwith Camel vs Fokker D.VII Dogfight Wings Over Wairarapa 2013 NZ
Sopwith Camel vs Fokker D.VII
Fokker D.VII Wings Over Wairarapa 2013 NZ
Fokker D.VII not doing so well in the dogfight

New Zealand is the only place in the world where you can see so many aircraft from this era not only take flight but recreate the dogfights between the scouts, light bombers and reconnaissance aircraft of the British Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service along with their allies in the Australian Flying Corps and Italian Air Service (Servizio Aeronautico) up against the Imperial German Air Service Jagdstaffeln (hunting squadron) scouts. Imagine seeing a Sopwith Camel and Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a scouts up against the triplane Fokker DR.I’s of the Flying Circus. It’s great fun and something really different from your average air show!

Royal Flying Corps up against the Imperial German Flying Circus Wings Over Wairarapa 2013 NZ
Royal Flying Corps up against the Imperial German Flying Circus
Sopwith Camel
Sopwith Camel
Se.5a scout
Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5a – one of the best British scout aircraft of WW1
Sopwith Camel and SE.5a's Wings Over Wairarapa 2013
Sopwith Camel and SE.5a’s
Royal Aircraft Factory Se.5a Scout
Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a’s
Fokker DR.I Wings Over Wairarapa 2013 NZ
Fokker DR.I taxiing for takeoff
Fokker Dr.I
Fokker Dr.I
Fokker DR.I The Vintage Aviator NZ
Fokker DR.I with the diversity of colours the Flying Circus were famous for
Fokker DR.I Wings Over Wairarapa 2013
World War One aviation comes to life at Wings Over Wairarapa 2013
Fokker Dr.I Wings Over Wairarapa 2013 NZ
Fokker Dr.I
Royal Flying Corps SE.5a formation
Royal Flying Corps SE.5a formation
SE.5a scout formation
SE.5a scouts

Apart from air shows and special flying days you can see many of these aircraft on a regular basis at The Old Stick and Rudder Co. museum hangar also at Hood Aerodrome. They run regular tours in the hangar but it was only open for general viewing during the Wings Over Wairarapa air show.

Albatros D.VA
Albatros D.VA
Albatros D.VA  Vintage Aviator Old Stick And Rudder Co Hood Aerodrome Masterton NZ
Albatros D.VA
Albatros D.VA  Old Stick And Rudder Co NZ
Albatros D.VA
Royal Aircraft Factory Re.8
Royal Aircraft Factory Re.8
Royal Aircraft Factory Fe,2B Old Stick And Rudder Co Hood Aerodrome NZ
Royal Aircraft Factory Fe.2B
Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2C Vintage Aviator NZ
Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2C

In addition down on the South Island of New Zealand in Blenheim is the excellent Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre which is managed by the 1914-18 Aviation Heritage Trust and has fantastic static scene displays of World War One aircraft (originals and replicas) in action along with artifacts and memorabilia from “The Great War“. I visited Omaka in 2009 and it is not to be missed! They also run an excellent biannual air show there called Classic Fighters Omaka which I went to that same year and saw the original era Avro 504K and Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2F fly.

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5 thoughts on “Knights of the Sky – Wings Over Wairarapa 2013

  1. […] Little was closely followed by Roderic Dallas, a Queenslander who also flew with the Royal Naval Air Service in Europe and achieved an official tally of 39 air to air victories during 1915-1918 (records are not 100% though and he may well have achieved a tally of up to 45). He also had great success flying the Sopwith Triplane in which he achieved more than half his victories. During his career he was in command of RNAS Squadron No.1 and later RAF Squadron No. 40 and  received the DSO and DSC for his bravery. He also sadly died at a young age in 1918 (just 26) on a solo flight in combat with 3 German Fokker Triplane aircraft in which one of them shot down his Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5a. These pilots combatting each other in close aerial duels, truly were the knights of the sky. […]

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  2. Hi there I am just finishing a book on the S.E.5 and would very much like to use some of your shots of the TVAL aircraft – particularly the 3-ship – if at all possible please. Is it possible to email me to discuss terms? Many thanks.

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