Air Force to carry out public display in BOP

T-6C Texan II aircraft will be used for exercises in Rotorua later this month. Supplied photo.

Bay of Plenty residents will be treated to an aerobatic sight tomorrow.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force will carry out a five ship formation flight along the Rotorua Lakefront at 11.30am – weather and operational conditions permitting.

The aircraft will do a lap of Lake Rotorua that will give two flypasts of the Lakefront.

They will be flying at 300ft above ground level and within 1 to 2m of each other while reaching speeds of up to 500km/h.

This exercise is part of the air force’s Operation Wise Owl – a training operation for trainee pilots to confirm their formation flying skills in the T-6C Texan II aircraft from an unfamiliar airport.

Operation Wise Owl is being conducted out of Rotorua Airport.

The Air Force arrived in the city on May 17 for its 105th Wise Owl pilot-training operation.

It will be on site until May 28.

The purpose of the exercise is for trainee pilots to confirm their formation flying skills in the T-6C Texan II aircraft from an unfamiliar airport.

Two formations in the morning, two at midday and two in the afternoon, with aircraft taking off from Rotorua Airport, travelling up to 80km east.

Up to eight Texan T-6C II aircraft will be stationed in Rotorua for the duration of the exercise.

About 40 personnel will be based at the airport for the duration.

Rotorua Airport chief executive Mark Gibb is thrilled Rotorua has been selected as the homebase for this year’s exercise.

“We are looking forward to providing a base for the Royal New Zealand Air Force while they conduct their training exercise.

“This fantastic opportunity not only gives locals a chance to see our country’s air force fleet up close, but will also provide a boost to the local economy with such an influx of personnel for an 11-day period.

“The Royal New Zealand Air Force holds two Wise Owl exercise, a year so to be selected as one of the locations is quite special.”

Mark says locals are more than welcome to stop by Rotorua Airport to get a front seat view of the action, the cafe being a great spot to watch.

“It will be a great chance to bring the kids along, grab a bite to eat at Terrace Airside and enjoy the spectacle.”


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Posted on 21-05-2021 14:14 | By

Wow. Learning to fly in formation in aircraft that are slower than my Grandad flew to shoot down the Luftwaffe 80 years ago. I suppose they could come in handy if we were attacked by Luxembourg. And if all else fails our equally impressive Navy could see them off with harpoons.