Wanaka Meets the Fokker

Date: 25th January 2012

An aircraft considered Germany’s deadliest fighter in World War 1 will fly at this year’s Warbirds Over Wanaka.

The Fokker D-8 replica has been built by the internationally acclaimed Vintage Aviator restoration company based in Wellington and Masterton.

Production manager Gene De Marco says construction of the plane was completed late last year and it will fly for the first time at Warbirds.

Gene is originally from New York and has been building and flying WW1 aircraft for around 25 years.

Along with the Fokker he will be bringing other aircraft from his collection to Wanaka for the Easter airshow.

“Some early aircraft don’t have throttles, or brakes or even ailerons. There’s a huge difference from modern aircraft and you really have to be around them to learn about them.”

The nimble German D-8 fighter is a parasol-winged monoplane which entered WWI late but was quickly acknowledged as a formidable foe by Allied pilots.

It carried two machine guns and was extremely manoeuvrable in comparison to its predecessors.

It will be joined at Wanaka by a British Bristol Fighter.

This was a very successful two-seater aircraft which served in New Zealand during the early days of the RNZAF, known then as the New Zealand Permanent Air Force.

Bristol Fighters were used for pilot training, aerial surveying, and gathering meteorological data in this country, and flew in combat with the RAF in Europe, some piloted by New Zealanders such as the highly decorated fighter ace, Sir Keith Park.

A WWI Sopwith Camel will also be appearing at Wanaka this year. The Camel, an agile bi-plane which was difficult to control in landing and take-off, was also flown by Kiwi pilots in WWI.

Posted on Wanakalive.com news page 26th January 2012

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