As I sit here looking at the daffodils poking their heads out of the garden beneath my window, I’m reminded that here in the Southern Hemisphere we don’t have too long to go until the warmer spring weather will be upon us, and we’ll be back into the swing of ‘airshow season’ — that has to be something to look forward to.
Here in New Zealand the coming of the daffodils always heralds the annual fund raising appeal of the New Zealand Cancer Society – their annual ‘Daffodil Day’ — and this year it’s a little more poignant for us. In the last few months the small community of aviation photographers in New Zealand lost a long time photographer and illustrator — Pete West (the one-legged Pom). Most of you will not recognise his name, but as he provided aircraft profiles and illustrations for several UK aviation magazines over the years, you may well have seen some of his work without realising it. I (Allan) only met Pete a few years ago, and while we didn’t run into each other often, when we did it was always enjoyable sharing a yarn and joke with him. So the next time you have a chance to donate a coin or two to your local cancer research organisation, please do so and spare a thought for Pete, and all the other unsung photographers, writers, illustrators, editors, pilots and mechani cs who have gone before us, but who have enabled us to watch or read about the exciting aircraft that we all enjoy so much.
New Widescreen and Blu-Ray Video We’ve been whiling-away our dark winter nights by going over some of our older video footage, specifically the materal from the first four Classic Fighters Airshows held at Omaka Aerodrome in Blenheim (NZ), and we’ve finally had a chance to upscale the footage to make it look as good as we can for playback on widescreen TV’s. We’ve now completed the task and have created new 16:9 widescreen format DVD’s and full HD Blu-Ray versions of our Classic WW1 and WW2 Fighters disks. The Feature Video this month is the trailer video for the World War Two disk.
Given that the original footage was 4:3 format Standard Definition, the upscaling process can only do so much, so it’ll never be as sharp and crisp as materal shot on more modern widescreen High Definition cameras. To that end, if you’ve already got either of the two disks, it’s probably not worthwhile getting these latest versions. On the otherhand, if you haven’t got the earlier standard versions yet, then these new disks provide some very entertaining watching – particularly given that each provides over two full hours of aviation action and that for the most part they contain dual soundtracks so you can turn the narration off, and just listen to the sound of the aircraft in action. Magic!
Unfortunately for those of you in North America and Japan (and some South American locations), these new widescreen disks are only available in the PAL TV format, and not the NTSC-format that your telvisions require (but they’ll still play back in a computer OK). However the good news is that you don’t have to miss out entirley as all this high definition material, and much more, is available to stream over the internet from our HD subscription video channel: The Machine Channel. We’ve been very particular on the channel to make sure that both the narrated and ‘engine-only’ versions of the clips are available so you can choose to view whichever one you prefer.
Old Aeroplanes – A New Magazine It’s not often that a new printed aviation magazine raises it’s head above the parapet, but we’re really glad that Leslie Quagraine has decided to start publishing Old Aeroplanes in this format on a quarterly basis. We’ve been able to review a copy of Issue 1, and we have to say it’s a stunner! The feature articles in this 100-page, full colour, glossy magazine include:
* Cole Palen’s Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome,
* Swedish aviation pioneer Baron Carl Cederstrom and his amphibian aircraft, the Flying Fish,
* The Messerschmitt Bf-109 in Finnish Air Force service,
* A photo essay on P-51 Mustangs flown at the Imperial War Museum Duxford
Old Aeroplanes contains page after page of glorious photographs, paintings and profiles, and there’s no advertising taking up extra space — this is 100% aviation features and nothing more. This is a magazine that you’re going to want to pick up and browse through time and time again. Leslie, and the magazine, is based in Finland, which means that the shipping costs of a 100 page magazine are not insignificant, but having looked through this first issue we’d have to say that it’s worth the expense. We thoroughly recommend that you check out the Old Aeroplanes website and grab at least one of the back issues to take a look at — we’re pretty sure that you’ll be hooked just as we are — we’re already looking forward to seeing future issues.
The End Of The VCR Many of you may have seen the news item in recent months that the VCR (video cassette recorder) is now officially extinct and a part of technological history. The last company that was producing VCRs and spare parts has now ceased doing so which means it’s no longer possible to buy new recorders. If you haven’t thought about doing it previously, you should now seriously think about getting some of your old home movies transfered from VCR to more modern digital formats if you want to keep them — and this of course also applies to older formats like 8mm and 16mm film — the longer these sit around in your cupboards and attics, the more they’ll deteriorate. We recently took possession of a number of 8mm film archives from the early 1970’s and we’ve had that material digitized, thereby hopefully preserving it for many more years yet — check out the video link above to see a snippet of this material. Feel free to talk to us if you have aviation or motorsport material that you’d like to save from the ravages of time.
For those of you in the Northern Hempisphere, we hope you enjoy the next couple of months and what will probably be the final events of your airshow season. For those of you ‘down under’, it’s time you started to get your camera gear ready, dust off your binoculars, and start planning which events you’ll head to this summer — we hope we’ll see you at one or two shows.
Allan & Alex
NZ EVENT REMINDER – 26th & 27th November 2016: The Vintage Aviator WW1 Flying Weekend – This is the first of five flying weekends at Hood Aerodrome in Masterton during the 2016-2017 summer season. Flying is scheduled from 10.00am – 12.00pm and 2.00pm to 4.00pm both days, with a Saturday only option of 6.00pm – 8.00pm if flying has been held up with weather. If you want to see TVAL’s originals or rare reproduction WW1 flying aircraft, you’ll need to attend a TVAL flying weekend. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children. Hangar tours will also be offered outside of flying hours at $15 for adults and $10 for children. See The Vintage Aviator website for details.
NZ EVENT REMINDER – 17th-19th February 2017: Wings Over Wairarapa – Excitement is building for the 10th Wings Over Wairarapa in February 2017. From the world’s rarest vintage aircraft to a glimpse of the future there’ll be something for everyone, and that’s just in the air. Tickets will be on sale on 1st September 2016. For more information keep an eye on the Wings Over Wairarapa website. The event will be held at Hood Aerodrome, in Masterton.
NZ EVENT REMINDER – 25th & 26th February 2017: RNZAF 80th Anniversary Air Tattoo – In celebration of the 80th Anniversary of the formation of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, the RNZAF are planning a major airshow event at RNZAF Base Ohaeka in Februray 2017. The Air Force does not yet have a web site dedicated to the event, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted when it is made available.
NZ EVENT REMINDER – 14th – 16th April 2017: Classic Fighters 2017 – All the old favourites and maybe one or two new aircraft will be back at Omaka Aerodrome in Blenheim for the 9th Classic Fighters show. For more information keep an eye on the Classic Fighters website. The event will be held at Omaka Aerodrome, in Blenheim.
The Old Stick And Rudder Co’s Curtiss P40-E Kittyhawk is one of only a handful of surviving P40’s that were operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force during the Second World War. Flown by well known UK warbird pilot Stu Goldspink, this aircraft features heavily in the Classic WW2 Fighters disks available from HAFU. The aircraft is based at Hood Aerodrome in Masterton, New Zealand.
Click the image above to open the page containing a link to the full size photo you can download and install on your computer as a desktop wallpaper image.