The Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow is promising an electrifying experience for its visitors next year as it lifts the lid on the future of aviation.
The sonic snarls of vintage Harvards is synonymous with Warbirds and there will still be many combustion engine-powered aircraft at next Easter’s show.
But the event has gone stratospheric with its plans to display electric and solar powered aircraft and drones.
The Future of Aviation exhibition features Wisk, a US joint venture company that is at present trialling its all-electric, self-flying air taxi in the Mackenzie Country.
Wisk will be joined at Wanaka by Christchurch companies ElectricAir, Kea Aerospace and Australian outfit, Swoop Aero.
ElectricAir operates the first and only electric passenger plane in New Zealand and its Electro flying display at Warbirds Over Wanaka will be the first for a Kiwi airshow.
The Rangiora and Christchurch-based Pipistrel Alpha Electro is a two-seat light sport aircraft designed for pilot training.
It is entirely composite with carbon fibre wings and fuselage, making it light and strong.
About 70% quieter than a petrol equivalent, it produces zero exhaust emissions.
The Electro can fly for about an hour plus reserves at a fuel cost of approximately $2.
Kea Aerospace is exhibiting a solar-powered, remotely piloted aircraft, the Kea Atmos.
Once fully developed, the zero-emission Kea Atmos will be capable of flying continuously in the stratosphere (about 20km above ground) for months at a time to collect high-resolution aerial images.
With a wingspan of 32m, the Kea Atmos will be the largest un-crewed aircraft designed and built in the southern hemisphere.
Swoop Aero is a drone-powered logistics company founded in 2017 in Australia.
It aims to be providing services to one billion people in 2030, including workers in the health, transport, disaster anagement, and search and rescue industries.
Swoop Aero’s drones have been already delivering Covid-19 vaccines to remote communities around the world.
Warbirds Over Wanaka is to be held at Wanaka Airport between April 15-17.