The memory of World War One flight will be kept alive in the Wairarapa this summer with the announcement that The Vintage Aviator will hold monthly flying weekends.
Gene de Marco, general manager and chief pilot of The Vintage Aviator Ltd (TVAL), says part of the collection of rare WWI aircraft based at Masterton’s Hood Aerodrome will take to the skies the last weekend of each month, beginning on November 26 and 27, 2016. He says the flying weekends provide a great opportunity for the public to see the collection in the air, while allowing the pilots to practise operating these war machines. It will also enable people of all ages to see aircraft up close, such as an original RAF BE.2, and meet the pilots.
Outside of flying times, visitors will also be able to take a guided tour through TVAL hangar at Hood Aerodrome and learn the amazing military stories associated with each aircraft.
“When we bring people through the hangar, we talk to them about the airplanes and it’s not always about the performance, how high they go, how fast they go or how long they stay up. It’s about the stories of these young men, young kids who flew a plane like this,” says Gene.
“The war was fought 12 months out of the year and at tremendous altitude. Sometimes these airplanes climbed 15,000 to 20,000 feet and it’s bitterly cold up there. So everything from the leather flying gloves, the helmet, the goggles … we try to tell that story too.”
In addition to the monthly flying weekends, some of the TVAL aircraft will be involved in February’s Wings Over Wairarapa Air Festival also being held at Hood Aerodrome.