Large Waco biplane line-up expected at Classic Fighters Airshow

Five Waco Biplanes, representing potentially the largest gathering of the brand ever assembled in Australasia, will be on the flight line at Omaka's Classic Fighters Airshow in New Zealand next Easter.

Two are originals built in 1936 and 1941 and imported from the United States. The former is a rare custom cabin biplane, one of only three ever built; bought new by the Marlborough Aero Club and operated from Omaka until 1948. Its restoration by locals Jay McIntyre and Rex Newman is fast nearing completion. The latter, a strikingly red aircraft built in 1941, was imported from the US earlier this year by North Island-based owner Simon Holdsworth.

Waco T-10 Taperwing and (below) Waco YMF-F5C.
Waco T-10 Taperwing and (below) Waco YMF-F5C. Gavin Conroy

The remaining three aircraft are classic 1930s Waco designs recreated and returned to production by the Classic Aircraft Corporation/WACO. Self-confessed Waco fanatic Marty Cantlon from Tauranga owns two of these, including a Taper Wing model, and will be sharing flying duties with Phil Hooker. Finally, well-known display pilot Keith Skilling (who often flew in the UK, from Duxford), rounds out the five aircraft with his beautiful YMF-5.

Newly appointed Classic Fighters Airshow director Gavin Conroy says: "Since Classic Fighters started in 2001, we have never seen a Waco display at Omaka. Each of these machines is a work of art, so to have five in 2023 will be quite a spectacle".