Wanaka's long-awaited Skyhawk fighter jet has arrived by truck and will be assembled this week by six members of an Ohakea-based team compriosing Royal New Zealand Air Force personel and Safe Air Contractors.
Two trucks were used to transport the aircraft, in three pieces, from Blenheim to Wanaka where it will be a centre piece at the Warbirds & Wheels attraction at Wanaka Airport.
The Chairman of Warbirds Over Wanaka Community Trust, Murray Cleverley, says that the arrival is fantastic news for Wanaka and all aircraft are now on site in preparation for opening.
“The skyhawk is a clinch pin in our Warbirds collection. It is a significant draw card and enhances Wanaka’s reputation as one of the country’s aviation focal points”, says Mr Cleverley.
“Due to share size of the jets wing span and space required to assemble the aircraft within the building, other collections and displays can now be completed around the Warbirds, in preparation for launching our new attraction”, says Mr Cleverley.
“Everything is slowly coming together. It really will be a spectacular display”.
The NZ6204 aircraft has been retired to WOWCT, from Woodbourne, near Blenheim. The Royal New Zealand Air Force jet aircraft was one of 14 received from the United States in 1970.
The Skyhawk will be displayed at Warbirds & Wheels alongside a Strikemaster, Hurricane, Vampire and WW1 SE5A.
The tourist attraction will also exhibit a world class collection of privately owned classic cars, permanent exhibition on local icon Sir Tim Wallis, a visual arts gallery showcasing New Zealand art and design, a retail shop & retro diner cafe.
Located at the Wanaka Airport, the Warbirds & Wheels attraction replaces the NZ Fighter Pilots Museum and is scheduled to open before Christmas.