The Vintage Aviator Ltd Airshow - Masterton 24th April 2010

On Friday the 23rd of April, Chris Rarere and I boarded an Air New Zealand flight bound for Wellington to attend The Vintage Aviator Airshow in Masterton for the weekend. We arrived in Wellington in the early afternoon and picked up a rental car and headed off to Masterton out through the Hutt Valley and up over the Rimutaka Hills.

The drive to Masterton was quite pleasant and we arrived about an hour and a half later in good time to find the Hotal we had booked into and to have a quick look round town. There were some TVAL aircraft practising out at the airfield when we checked in to the Hotel so Chris and I drove out to the airfield and enjoyed an hour or so of watching 3 Fokker Triplanes and 3 SE-5A's practice dog fighting over the airfield in the gorgeous evening light. A very pleasant way to spend the early evening.

The next morning Chris and I were out early at the airfield in anticipation of a great day of emersing ourselves in aeroplanes. We had a wander around the TVAL hangar on the north eastern end of the airfield taking pictures of some of the aircraft in the collection before being told we should not be walking amongst the aircraft and were politely asked to move along.

Chris and I then wandered over to the wonderful Snap Roll Cafe which has recently opened on the airfield and had a great breakfast while sitting and watching the TVAL aircraft being prepared for the days event. Around mid morning we then headed over to the south western end of the airfield to check out the preparations for the show and to find ourselves a possie for the day.

The photos that follow are a sampling of the many photo's I took on the day. You will have to forgive me the number of photos in this collection but this is an area of aviation I really love and I found it difficult to leave out too many photo's from the essay.

If you are interested in this style of aircraft then I highly recommend you visit the TVAL website.

Wandering out on to the flight line at Masterton Airfield in front of the TVAL hangar Chris and I were greeted by the
sight of the above aircraft sitting in the morning sun. To say that I was in aeroplane heaven would be a bit of an understatement. Clockwise from Top left. Fokker DR1 Dreidecher, Pfalz DIII, Fokker DVII, SE-5A, Neiuport XI, FE2b.

Having been asked politely to move along, Chris and I headed over to The Snap Roll cafe for breakfast.
Sitting out on the deck we were able to watch the preparations for the day in front of the TVAL hanger.

I have included this image to give you a perspective of the display area. You can see the Snap Roll Cafe through
the starboard wings of the aircraft off Chris' left shoulder. As you can see we were able to get very close to the aircraft
along the flight line.

This is a BE-2e aircraft. The workmanship on all the aircraft was incredible but this one in particular stood out.

A Bristol Fighter.

A lovely example of an SE-5A. TVAL currently has three flying examples of this aircraft.
I understand that they manufactured the engines themselves from original plans.

A Sopwith Triplane.

As Chris and I were walking along the line of aircraft this Albatross D.Va rolled up.

Some other vintage aircraft that were in attendance. Clockwise from top. Tiger Moth, Chipmunk, Scout(???).

Along with the vintage aircraft were also an assortment of vintage vehicles from the WWI era as well.

And included amongst the vehicles was this replica WWI tank.

And of course the re-enactment guys were out and about as well.

The FE2b had made it across the airfield by this time.

As had the distinctive shape of this Sopwith Camel.

Wandering back down the start of the line this BE2c had arrived.

As well as this Avro 504K.

Having had our fill of wandering up and down the flight line, Chris and I picked out a relatively central seat on the
grandstands. This is the view from our seats to the left and to the right. It was now time for the flying display to start.

The first main flying display was this Harvard.

Next up were the BE2c and BE2f. These are very elegant looking aircraft in the air.

And the BE's were followed by the Avro 504K, the Pfalz and the Neiuport.

Shortly afterward the Fokker DVII made an attack run over the airfield.

And the Sopwith Triplane and Sopwith Camel were scrambled to meet the Fokker threat.

Next up was the Albatross. These two images are from the same photo.

And the Albatross was followed by these two Tiger Moths and the Scout(???) making a leisurely pass over the airfield
while the pilots and crews on the ground prepared the next set of aircraft for display.

While this was all going on I decided to wander down to the end of the flight line to get another look at the BE2c
and the Avro 504K. The Avro had a side access hatch open and you could see the detail of the workmanship inside the
aircraft. The TVAL builders and restorers do an amazing job building these aircraft.

Back to the flying displays and these three Fokker Triplanes made an attacking pass over the airfield.

And this FE2b was one of the aircraft launched to intercept.

It must be an incredible feeling standing in the cupola at the front of the FE fuselage although it must have been
incredibly vulnerable during combat.

The three SE5a's were also scrambled and formed up with the FE2b for a few pases over the aerodrome before the
SE5a's and the Fokker Triplanes fought it out in a mock aerial combat. Unfortunately none of my photo's of the
dogfight came out very well so I will just leave it to your imagination. But it was impressive to say the least.

With the dogfight over the main part of the airshow was also over and there was time to walk along the flight line again
and talk to some of the pilots and crew. I got these photo's of the SE5a, Sopwith Triplane and Sopwith Camel in the late
afternoon light.

This is Gene DeMarco who is Production Manager for The Vintage Aviator collection. He also gets to fly the aircraft that
get built. I truely can't think of a more excellent job. Building and flying vintage aircraft.

And this is Jerry Chisum who gets to fly the Fokker DVII and gets to dress up in a cool costume to boot.

And just because I can here are a couple of last shots of the BE2c and SE5a as they were being put away for the evening.
Chris and I were then left wandering around at the end of the show and savouring the last moments of the day. We both
commented that we were reluctant to leave after such an awesome day of aircraft and aviation. It really was a fantastic
day and I am very glad we made the effort to attend.