Tuesday, 29 January 2013

New Zealand International Air Show 2013 - not good

This air show was pretty disappointing. I've been to dozens (?!) of these in my lifetime, so I'm speaking from experience! It was well organised, with plenty of food stalls, toilets, and good transport logistics. The big screens dotted around were good for seeing the in-plane cameras.

But... it seemed that they forgot to invite anyone. The crowd was the smallest I've *ever* seen at an airshow - I estimate no more than a few thousand people on Day 2 of perfect weather. There weren't many aircraft either. The static display took no more than 10 minutes for an in-depth look. The only NZ Air Force aerial display was the Boeing 757, and there weren't any warbirds or foreign military planes at all.

Goodness knows why this was a three day event, there was barely enough action to fill four hours on the one day we attended. At $55 a ticket, I expect a premium show. Unfortunately  I feel incredibly ripped off. This show seemed to be all talk and no action. Jetman was great, but we wouldn't have paid $110 just to see him!

The pilots were great commentators. That irritating guy from Target on TV3, however - I can only think that nobody else was available, because he was a terrible MC. He knew nothing about aircraft, but that didn't stop him talking over the experts. His constant digs at Australians (cheap shot to keep suggesting that their pilots are cheaters!), and his repeated description of Melissa Pemberton as a beautiful/gorgeous 'lady pilot' were both insulting and idiotic. For goodness sake, she's one of the world's best aerobatic pilots - she wasn't invited just for her looks or X chromosomes!

I have sent the organisers a message expressing my disappointment, but I don't have high hopes of a good response.

Anyway, enjoy the photos - we have to get something enjoyable out of this, right?


  1. Ouch.

    Once I saw the line up on their website, I thought about it for a moment then decided to go ahead and buy tickets anyway, I figured that more planes would be added in due course. Of course, the line up did not improve.

    Once they changed the parking arrangements (which was probably for the best for most people), I decided to sell my tickets.

    Thank god.

    I've been to Leuchars ($50 entry), Avalon ($60) entry and Whenuapai Twice ($5 Entry!!!) all of which delivered dozens of aircraft of varying types. Even the Whenuapai ones brought us a C-17 and 2 x Australian F-18's! All of these airshows were intense one-day events.

    How the so called New Zealand 'International' Airshow could possibly have been staged over 3 days, with such a basic line up of very few planes is beyond me.

    All I can think of, is this was an attempt at making money. Sad.

    1. I agree, this must have been sold well to the sponsors - why else would it have run over three days? There weren't any significantly different displays each day.

      I went to Avalon regularly over the 24 years I lived in Melbourne, and I've been to the airshows at Whenuapai and last year at Ohakea. They were all crammed with things to see and do, and I'd pay up to $100 for a really good show.

      Unless there is a significant/compelling change, I wouldn't go to another show organised by these people.

  2. It just wasn't really needed.

    I had a look at the website and it seems to have been run by a chap called Peter Newport. Newport is chief executive of Airshow Systems Ltd


    Airshow Systems Ltd describe themselves as a specialist company providing advanced TV and marketing systems to the air show and air events industry.

    So I guess that for them the event was a success. It would appear that the tv systems worked well.

    1. It's a shame that Whenuapai isn't a more regular air show, because it would be good to have an Auckland event... but if this is the best that can be done, I agree that it's not needed!

      Interesting that it was organised by the TV/marketing people - in that respect, it was well-run. However, there's not much point having an awesome system if half of the broadcast is ads for TV3.

    2. I can't imagine why Whenuapai doesn't put on another event. They did such a great job in 2009 for the last one. Even if they charged $20 a head, they'd make a heap of money which I'm sure the RNZAF could put to good use!

  3. Whenuapai Airshow Programme 2009 for $5

    9.15am-10.30am - RNZAF Morning Display featuring:
    Solo Airtrainer aerobatics
    Kiwi Blue Parachute Team
    Hercules display
    Harvard aerobatics
    Red Checkers aerobatics
    Boeing 757 display

    10.30am -12.15pm - Warbirds Display featuring:
    A37 Dragonfly
    Roaring Forties Harvards
    DC3 Dakota
    T28 Trojan
    Yak formation
    F4 Corsair
    P51 Mustang
    L39 Albatross
    12.15pm-1.10pm - Lunch Break featuring:
    Warbirds scenic flights for public (DC3, Catalina, Yak, Vampire, Albatross)
    Wing walking
    Gliding aerobatics display
    MX-2 vs V8 Car drag race
    Westpac Helicopter display
    Dog Handling display
    Maori Culture Group performance
    1.10pm-1.25pm - USAF Display featuring:
    C-17 GlobemasterIII

    1.25pm-4.05pm - RNZAF Afternoon Display featuring:
    Helicopter line-up
    Kiwi Blue Parachute Team
    RNZAF maritime rescue display
    RNZAF airfield insertion display
    Iroquois role demonstration
    Sioux handling display
    P3 Orion display
    Iroquois role demonstration
    Harvard display
    757 handling display
    Iroquois handling display
    9-ship airtrainer formation flypast
    Hercules handling display
    Red Checkers aerobatics
    Formation Thunder

    4.05pm-4.20pm - RAAF Display featuring
    F/A -18 Hornet
    4.20pm-4.40pm - Afternoon Activity featuring:
    Warbirds scenic flights for public (DC3, Catalina, Yak)
    Iroquois flight

    1700 - Gates closed

    NZ 'International' Airshow Programme for $55! (Monday)

    Vintage aircraft and model aircraft displays.
    Introduction of TV Helicopters and Crew
    Aerobatic Display - Richard Hood - Giles 202
    International Air Racing - Grand Final - NZ vs. Rest of the World Series 1. Head to head racing.
    BAC Mk 88 Strikemaster jet display
    Red Checkers - Royal New Zealand Air Force Formation Team
    Stuntman Chuck Berry (Red Bull)
    US Squirrel Skydiving Stunt Team
    Boeing 757 - Royal NZ Air Force
    International Air Racing - Grand Final - NZ vs. Rest of the World Series 2. Head to head racing.
    Aerobatics Display - Wayne Ormrod (Extra 300) Sponsored by the Rock FM

    The difference is like night and day!

    1. Nailed it. Whenuapai (and others) manage to cram in a massive programme, and also have interesting static displays.

      I'd happily pay ten times the price to go to another Whenuapai show!

  4. Anyone care to estimate crowd figures?

    It will be interesting to see if it broke even. Here are some figures you may like to mull over.

    Airshow Systems Ltd made an application to Auckland Council for a grant to pay for the anniversary day harbour flyover component of the event. Because of this, the event's financials were published on the internet on 19 November 2012 (two months out) and read as follows:

    Total running cost: $1,400,000
    Projected revenue: $1,800,000

    Revenue sources

    Trade exhibitions: $72,000
    Parking and buses: $53,000
    Sponsorship contracts: $232,000
    Commercial sponsors: $143,000
    Food vendors: $26,000
    Ticket sales: $1,200,000

    Ticket sales were projected to be 30,000 at $42 each. I am assuming this is the $60 or $55 less tax.

    1. I'm no expert on estimating crowds... but I'd say that Sunday had somewhat less than 5000 people. Which makes it nigh-on impossible that they broke even, especially with discounted prices on Monday.

      Hopefully this encourages them to either seriously improve their line-up or not bother next time.

  5. The company Airshow Systems Ltd. went into liquidation on 4th February 2013.


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