US Air Force confirms first aircraft for Warbirds 2020

Pictured: The US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III in flight. Photo: Steve Zimmerman.

The United States Air Force (USAF) confirmed their first aircraft for Warbirds Over Wanaka (WOW) late last week, much to the delight of local plane enthusiasts. The USAF C-17 Globemaster III and its crew will be travelling from their base in Hawaii over the 2020 Easter weekend and will be hosted in Christchurch International Airport due to the aircraft’s size. 

WOW general manager Ed Taylor said he is thrilled to be able to welcome the C-17 back to the crowds once again. “The C-17 is one of the world’s most popular military transport aircraft and is big, around twice the size of a C-130 Hercules,” he said.

The C-17 Globemaster III has a 52m wingspan and is 53m in length. It weighs more than 128 tonnes, is powered by 4 x Pratt and Whitney PW2000 engines, has a range of just over 10,000kms and a cruising speed of 830kph.

Taylor said that, because of the aircraft’s size, being a member of its military demonstration team requires a high amount of experience. “In terms of the C-17, displaying at an airshow takes flying these large aircraft to the next level, with precision and speed required to put on a proper demonstration for the public. Although the flying profile is not much different from an operational mission, it is very fast-paced so the pilots need to have additional training to ensure safety and precision flying.” 

More military demonstration aircraft attending the event will be confirmed during the coming months.

The WOW International Airshow will be held from April 10 through 12, 2020, at the Wanaka Airport.


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