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Salvaged from Siberia and restored by Sir Tim Wallis in the 1990s, a World War 2 Polikarpov I-16 Russian fighter will be one of the stars of the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow at Easter.

The aircraft is one of nine restored by airshow founder Sir Tim.

The nine flew at Wanaka airshows until 2008 when the collection was broken up and sold to Warbird owners around the world.

Now owned by a collector in Germany the aircraft brought back for this event is Polikarpov No9.

Warbirds Over Wanaka enlisted the help of sponsors Hamburg Sud and Mainfreight to ship the aircraft from central Germany to Wanaka.

Twenty24 Ltd chief engineer Callum Smith led the team getting the aircraft out of the container, putting it back together and running the engine.

“These are pretty straightforward aircraft but there’s always the chance that something has got out of kilter during the whole process of shipping it halfway around the world.

“It was an unusually tight fit so we had to be ultra-careful, but it all seems to be fine and when we fired up the engine it sounded a treat,” Mr Smith said.

The aircraft will be piloted by two-time world aerobatic champion Jurgis Kairys, of Lithuania.Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow is being held at Wanaka Airport from April 10-12.

STAFF REPORTER