Mosquito for Wanaka

Mosquito for Wanaka

In a major coup, Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow has secured one of the world’s most iconic WWII fighter-bomber aircraft for its Easter 2024 airshow.

The ex-RNZAF de Havilland DH98 Mosquito NZ2308 is weeks away from the end of a fifteen-year restoration in Auckland and the American owners have generously agreed to allow the aircraft to fly at the Southern Hemisphere’s largest Warbirds airshow before it is dismantled and shipped to its new home in the US.

Warbirds Over Wanaka General Manager Ed Taylor says securing the Mosquito is the ‘icing on the cake’ for airshow organisers.  “We already had an amazing line up for our first airshow in six years but now it’s gone next level with confirmation that we are to have a Mosquito on the flightline.”

Ed says the news does come with a caveat.  “Warren Denholm and his team at Avspecs are confident they will have the Mossie flying in time but there is always the possibility that there may be a last-minute problem which prevents that.”

This is the fourth Mosquito restored by Avspecs and Warren has told airshow organisers his team has committed to doing “everything within their power” to complete the job on time. All four aircraft have been built for American customers.  The only other airworthy Mosquito in the world is in Canada.

Ed says having the aircraft at Wanaka may well be a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience for many New Zealand and Australian warbird enthusiasts.  “So to see this amazing aircraft fly against the backdrop of the majestic Southern Alps, they need to be at Wanaka Airport this Easter,” says Ed.

He says the Mosquito is right up there with the top two or three aircraft requested by airshow visitors and to finally have one at Wanaka after all these years is a dream come true.

Ed also believes having the aircraft display in New Zealand before heading to the US is important.  “This is a former RNZAF aircraft and the fact that four of the five in the world still flying have been restored in New Zealand is very much worth celebrating.”  Originally the aircraft was the personal project of Mosquito woodwork pioneer Glyn Powell, who passed away in 2019 giving another strong Kiwi connection. 

Ed’s only regret is that Warbirds Over Wanaka founder Sir Tim Wallis, who passed away late last year, will not be at the airshow to see this great Warbird lead the fighter flypast.  “We know Tim will be looking down and he will be smiling from ear to ear to finally see a Mossie fly at the airshow he started 36 years ago.”

The aircraft will be test flown at Ardmore and then displayed at Wanaka by accomplished American pilot Steve Hinton.  Steve, a former Reno Air Race champion, has flown numerous Warbird types, including the last Mosquito from the Avspec’s workshop, and is currently President of the Planes of Fame Museum at Chino in California.

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