Monday, January 19, 2009

Wings Over Wairarapa # 8: RNZAF Helicopters

The Royal New Zealand Air Force [RNZAF] sent all three helicopter types to the air show this year. Most exciting for me was the Navy-operated Kaman SH-2G Seasprite, NZ3604, which I had not seen being demonstrated before.

As expected, military pilots are extremely good at their jobs, and today was no exception. Despite the wind coming from approximately a 10/11 o'clock position, the Bell B47G-3B-2 Sioux [think M*A*S*H :-)] trainers, Bell UH-1H Iroquois and Kaman SH-2G Seasprite stayed exactly in position when hovering. It was a real pleasure to watch.

One point to note is that over the next couple of years, the RNZAF is re-equiping with AgustaWestland A109 LUH [Light Utility Helicopter] to replace the Bell B47G's and Nato Helicopter Industries NH90 [to replace the Bell UH-1H], so this is possibly the last time that the Iroquois and Sioux will be displayed together at Masterton.

Anyway, enjoy the pictures!

Bell UH-1H IroquoisBell UH-1H IroquoisBell UH-1H IroquoisBell B47G Sioux, Bell UH-1H Iroquois, Kaman SG-2G SeaspriteKaman SH-2G SeaspriteKaman SH-2G SeaspriteKaman SH-2G Seasprite


Anonymous said...

There's no doubting that the pilots know what they're doing, but it's a shame they only put on a display for some of the crowd on Saturday.

At no time in their entire display did they come anywhere near us and for most of their display they were completely obscured from a large section of the crowd.

I'm not sure if we put that down to poor briefing by the airshow organisers or the RNZAF themselves, but it was disappointing and certainly the worst display I have seen (or not seen) them do in more than 20 years of airshows.

Rodney said...

Gidday Anonymous,

Thanks for your comments - I assume that you are referring to the helicopters in particular?

I'm not sure where you were standing, but as you'll see in one of the pictures, I was at least 10 people deep just off-centre - andstill managed to get some good shots.

I guess it's a hard one to satisfy everyone with. Perhaps if they had been 20 feet higher in the hover more people would have seen the display. Still they were on the display line and near the centre of the majority of the crowd.

That's just my 5 cents worth... everyone is welcome to disagree if you wish!



Anonymous said...

Hi Rodney

Yes, just the helicopters. Every other display managed to cover the whole crowdline.

We were over where the P40s were parked and had a great view of everything except the RNZAF helicopters. The commentators even mentioned at one point the 'boomerang' shaped display line that makes Masterton such a great place for pilots to display.

Unfortunately the helicopters only ever displayed along one arm of the 'boomerang'. Undoubtedly some of the best images I have seen so far is when they were displaying at the 'centre' of the displayline - at that point they were fairly low and not visible at all from where we were.

Other than that it was a great show, marred only by the inane commentary and uncomfortably loud loudspeakers!