2017 RNZAF Air Tattoo
Everyone was up early so we could get to the Royal New Zealand Air Force 80th birthday Air Tattoo – I drove to Fielding where we parked the car at a park-&-ride facility and were on a bus to the air show around 7-30am.
And what’s really exciting is that visiting New Zealand are going to be F15’s, F16’s and F18’s fighter jets. Something you just don’t get to see in New Zealand as we no longer have any strike aircraft after the fighter wing was disbanded a few years ago. So with a number of fighter jet’s up and flying, I just had to go to this air show.
On arriving at the Air Tattoo we walked around all the static aircraft and tents, I wanted to see that I could before the flying started at 10am. This was so different from a civilian air show which has lots of old historic aircraft, as it was mostly current military aircraft – a real show case of the RNZAF.
First up and, and really exciting to me were the helicopters (for those who don’t know I used to fly helicopters & they are a bit of a passion for me). The RNZAF now has a range of modern helicopters compared to old B47’s like off MASH and Vietnam era Huey’s that we used to have only a few years ago.
The new NH90 is huge compared to a Huey and the A109 training helicopter is massive and so much more advanced than the really old Bell 47’s they used to train on. Through I have flown B47’s and they are great helicopters to fly, so gentle and slow.
We also got inside a huge C-17 Globemaster owned by the Australian Air Force.
Robin was hooked on collecting stamps from each of the RNZAF squadrons of course. Robin collected his stamps on his official collection paper, whereas Luke collected all his stamps all over himself, so his arms were a mass of coloured stamps by the end of the day.
We also got to see F-15’s from Singapore, F-16’s from the USA, and F-18’s from Australia.
It was great to see all these fighter jets up close and personal and as they were parked right next to each other, I could easily compare them.
We finished the static displays by 9-45am and found a small gap right on the flight line so the boys could get a good view so it was all well timed.
Over the next few hours I got to see an endless display of military aircraft hardware in action from the RNZAF, and other air forces. It started with the huge transport and cargo carrying planes doing impressive stunts so close to the ground – which always seems impressive with such large aircraft.
Then the F-16’s from the US Air Force took the air – and boy what a racket these jet fighters make – I loved it through the noise was a shock to the boys. To see these fighter jets being thrown around in the sky just above me was brilliant, just like being a little boy myself; to be honest.
At the end of the day the brand new RNZAF display team - the Black Falcons, using the new T-6C trainers was mind-blowing. The Black Falcons have taken over from the disbanded Red Checkers, the RNZAF display team using the CT/4 Airtrainer.
I have seen air displays before but some of the stuff the Black Falcons were doing was just out of this world, such as 2 planes zooming along the runway just above the ground with 1 flying upside down directly above the other and a third plane doing full loops around them – precision flying for sure.
At the end of the day we slowly walked around the fighter jets again before heading back to the bus and Palmerston North.
As money is getting tight, dinner was a Burger King picnic in the lovely square / park in the centre of Palmerston North.