Category Archives: Uncategorized

Old Fighters Footage Widened & Upscaled

Classic World War 2 Fighters – Click the thumbnail to watch the video

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!

More Video

Click To See The Channel

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.


Vol1 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.

More Video

Footage From 1968

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

More Video

Video: TVAL WW1 Aircraft

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.

More Video

Video: Spitfires At Wairarapa

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.

More Video

Video: C-17 At Ohakea

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.

More Video

Video: P40’s At Omaka

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.

Wallpaper Download — Curtiss P40-E Kittyhawk Connect to the internet if you can't see the photo here

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.

NZ Flag Referendum – Red Is Better

A Personal Message From HAFU Editor, Allan Udy

Generally speaking, here at HAFU we try to remain as politically neutral as we can, preferring to concentrate on the stuff that gives us enjoyment, such as producing great aviation and vehicle videos and photos for all of you who support and follow our endeavours. Having said that, once in a blue-moon there comes along a topic about which we feel strongly, and one which we simply feel that we must say something about — in this case it’s the New Zealand Flag Referendum process.

redsilveranimI urge all of you to support the ‘Red Won Campaign’ and on-line petition to convince the New Zealand Government of the need to take a step back and change the Preferred Alternative flag to the more popular Red Silver Fern flag design instead of the Black version.

Importantly this also applies to those of you who support retaining the current New Zealand flag — do you really want to risk the situation where the Second Referendum result brings a new national flag which turns out to be a sombre and dark, blue and black design?

NZ Flag

Click here to watch the video

Red or Black – What Should It Be?

Back in August 2015 I posted this video (at right) to our online channel, and suggested that as proud Kiwis we should all get behind the Flag Referendum and ensure that it’s a valid democratic process. I didn’t try to push the Red, White and Blue Silver Fern design created by Kyle Lockwood, but as that flag option had been my preferred alternative New Zealand flag for several years, it’s obviously the one that I had at hand when the video was shot.

Since then the First Referendum has been held and it’s the Black, White and Blue Silver Fern design which came out as the Preferred Alternative, and that’s the one that will go head-to-head against the current New Zealand flag in the Second Referendum in March 2016. The thing to note about the referendum result was that not only did the Red design win more First Preference votes, but by the end of the second vote count it was still leading the Black-variant by almost 20,000 votes. It was only after the Third and Fourth Preference votes were counted that the Black version came out as the ‘victor’ in the referendum. Click here to see the actual referendum results.

Many New Zealanders, myself included, believe that the results of this first referendum were corrupted by the ‘Red Peak’ fiasco (where a fifth flag contender was added to the referendum at the last moment), and we feel that had this not happened, it’s more than likely that the Red Silver Fern design would have prevailed as the peoples choice. We fully understand that many people voted for the Black version on the back of a wave of patriotism after the All Blacks successful defence of the Rugby World Cup, but we strongly believe that the warm and vibrant Red Silver Fern design is a far better option for a new national flag than the cold and sombre Black version (which at heart is a ‘sports’ version of the design).

To this end we’re calling on all New Zealanders to support the ‘Red Won Campaign’ and on-line petition, to urge the New Zealand Government to take a step back and change the Preferred Alternative flag to the more popular Red design instead of the Black one.

This is a vitally important discussion that needs to be had now, by all New Zealander’s no matter what their flag preference is.

* If you voted for Red in the first Referendum, please support the on-line petition and join the Facebook page

* If you support retaining the current NZ Flag, you should still support the Red Won Campaign because if the unthinkable (to you) happens and we do get a new flag after the Second Referendum, do you really want it to be the Black version which doesn’t use the same red, white and blue colour palette of our existing flag?

* If you voted Black in the first Referendum, are you REALLY sure that you want a cold and dull looking flag? While we fully support the use of the white on black silver fern motif to represent the All Blacks and other Kiwi sportsmen and women, we believe that this should not be our national flag. Please consider changing your allegiance to the more colourful and vibrant option.

If we let the dull and flat Black Silver Fern option become our national flag it will not change again in our lifetime. If you agree with what Red Won are trying to achieve please support the campaign. Red is better!

An Example Of Red Versus Black – Flags On A Busy Background

Below is an example image of the initial four flag options near the New Zealand section of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery at Monte Cassino in Italy… it doesn’t take much to see that on a busy background (as opposed to a clear blue sky), that the black flags don’t quite cut it. The Red Silver Fern design is the only one that really stands out.

Alt Flags

Thanks for bearing with me on this one — please rest assured that we will return to our normal aviation and motorsport blogging from here on it! 🙂

Best Regards,

Allan Udy

Join Us For Our 2014 UK Tour

We’re taking the Historical Aviation Film Unit on the road during our usual off-season this year, and we’re visiting the UK in August and early September.

Shuttleworth F2b.jpgIt would be great if you’d join us, virtually of course, for the tour.  You can follow along with what we’re doing and where we are by keeping an eye on our Facebook at, on our Twitter feed at, and here on this Blog. We’ll be posting updates of where we are, and where we’re headed next, photos, and hopefully a few video clips as well. 

During the four-five week tour period we’ll be attending a number of weekend shows, and then mid-week we’ll travel to a variety of other collections, museums and locations so we can shoot and gather content for our Online Video Channel (, and for a couple of other projects we’re working on.


Our schedule will be hectic (particularly during the week), but we’re keen to meet up with anyone in the UK who’s keen to say hello — let us know if you’ll be at any of the events we’ll be at (see the list below). If you think you might be on our route from one place to another, let us know, you never know when we might just be passing through your neck of the woods and need to stop for a drink and a chat!

If anyone has any suggestions for any museums, collections, or airfields with interesting aircraft (or vehicles) that you think we should visit during our whirlwind trip, please let us know by posting a comment below, or email us.

Our Current Event Schedule  (subject to change if the weather’s no good)


  • Sunday 10th – Shuttleworth WW1 Airshow
  • Monday 11th – BRF Deployment Commemorations Dover/Arras
  • Wednesday 13th – HMS Victory – Portsmouth
  • Thursday 14th – Bovington Tank Museum
  • Saturday 16th – Moth Club Tiger Rally, Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire
  • Sunday 17th – Sywell Airshow
  • Thursday 21st – North Yorkshire steam railway
  • Sunday 24th – Little Granston Airshow
  • Monday 25th – Military Odyssey, The Kent Show Ground, Detling
  • Friday 29th – Steam Gala, Norfolk
  • Saturday 30th – Steam Gala, Norfolk
  • Sunday 31st – Shuttleworth Edwardian Picnic & evening airshow.


  • Saturday 6th – Victory Show, Cosby, Leicestershire
  • Sunday 7th – Shuttleworth Pageant, or possibly Stow Maries Fly in


Best regards and hope to see some of you soon,

Alex & Allan

Historical Aviation Film Unit


Walk a mile in my shoes – and don’t talk to me!

Copyright © Graham Meiklejohn

Photo courtesey and © Graham Meiklejohn

I’ve been filming events for other people for almost 15 years now, and the one thing that I’ve discovered is that virtually no-one has any respect or sympathy for the poor old cameraman (yes, or woman), hard at work trying to shoot footage so that someone else can enjoy the event (on video) at some point in the future.

In many ways that’s not too surprising as few people actually use their video cameras for anything more than short family shots at birthdays and Christmas—as such there’s no general awareness of what an event camera-person actually does, and what issues they have to face. This means that more often than not the job is more difficult than it needs to be, simply because few people have the ability to ‘walk a mile in someone else’s shoes’.

At aviation events I’m there to film the aircraft. Others like many of my esteemed colleagues are there to take still photographs, while lots of enthusiasts are there just to enjoy the sights and sounds of the aircraft flying past. And therein lies the crux of the matter — for me it’s all about movement and sound — movies and talkies if you will. But the issue is that it’s not just for me, if it were I’d simply put the camera down and enjoy the show like everyone else.

The thing is, I’m there to try and record the action as it unfolds, and as far as aviation (and motorsport) is concerned, the sound is hugely important — you can shoot brilliant video footage, but if it’s silent, or if the audio is really bad, no-one likes it or wants to watch it. On the other-hand average footage, with great sound is usually reasonably pleasant to watch and hear.

Sometimes I just can’t avoid getting rubbishy sound. A great example of this was when I shot Jerry Yagen’s de Havilland Mosquito (KA114) landing at Ardmore Airport in New Zealand after its maiden flight.  Just as the aircraft touched down and rolled out past me along the runway, a small twin-engine commuter airliner was taxying in the opposite direction, so rather than capturing the magic of twin Rolls-Royce Merlins, all I got to hear was the high pitched whine of two modern engines.  Not the best, but thankfully I managed to shoot another landing, and we did capture the Merlin magic. But sometimes, it’s just not feasible or even possible to get a second bite at the cherry.

But more often than not, the problem is that I can’t get sufficiently far away from either the stills photographers whose cameras are continually going click-click-click-click-click as they’re shooting images, or from members of the general public who are just having a good time and chatting as the aircraft are flying by. All very well and good, shoot your photos and have a great time, but please, Please, PLEASE — if I (or any other event cameraman) politely asks you if you can either move away a bit, stop following me when I move, or just stop laughing and talking quite so loudly as the aircraft flies past, I would really really appreciate it.  And I’m pretty sure that anyone else with a video camera nearby will as well.

In the main, most people are reasonably OK with it when I explain that it’s really important that I get good sound, and could they perhaps just quieten down a little, thanks very much. But you’d be surprised at the number of arrogant sods that I’ve come across, who despite my major efforts to be very polite about it, take it as a huge affront, and think that they’re fully entitled to jabber away wherever and whenever they want.  I guess in general they are. But I bet that these will also be some of the first to complain when they spend their hard earned cash on a DVD to watch some airshow event, and instead of great audio all they hear is someone in the crowd commenting on how much better they could fly the aircraft.

A couple of years back I was filming at a New Zealand airshow, as part of the official photo/video team. Just as I was trying to film a very rare aircraft make a final approach and landing, one of the show’s security volunteers rode up to me on a quad bike. He sat their idling, not more than three meters from me to watch the aircraft come in.  When I asked him if he could switch the bike off he actually got quite abusive, despite the fact that I tried to point out that I was there, like him, to do a job for the show organisers, and his presence with his motorbike was making it impossible for me to do the job to the best of my ability. Really?  Are you serious? Could you be any more arrogant? In this case he could, because he did an almost identical thing the day after the airshow finished when I was trying to get some final shots of another rare aircraft starting up! As Jim Morrison and the Doors said back in the 60’s, ‘People Are Strange’.

So what about it?  The next time you’re at an airshow or similar, taking photos, or just having a good time, and you see someone with a video camera not far away, trying to shoot the action, just put yourself in their shoes. If you’re clicking a camera and you have the opportunity and ability to move to a slightly different position further away and yet still get the types of shots you’re after, then why not do that?  Or if you’re talking to your mates, have a bit of consideration and try and do it quietly, or better yet move away 20 or 30 meters — it’s not going to make a big difference to your enjoyment of the display you’re watching in most cases, but it’ll likely make a huge difference to the poor sod that’s trying to film it.

And do bear in mind that for a cameraman, it’s the sound of the aircraft (or vehicle) coming towards you, or heading away from you at a distance which is probably more important than when it’s whizzing past your face.  By the time it’s coming right past you the chances are the volume of the noise is sufficently loud to drown out other nearby sounds. But it’s the quieter sound of the aircraft approaching, and moving away, that’s really important to a video editor.

It’s all about common courtesy really.  If you don’t click your camera or talk inanely near me, then I won’t shoot some video of you doing something really stupid and then post it on the internet!  🙂

Keep an eye on this blog — in a few weeks we’ll be covering our 2014 HAFU UK tour in great detail as it happens — we’d love you to join us on our journey to some of England’s great airshow events and museums.

All the best,









Introducing The HAFU Blog

Hi all,

While the Historical Aviation Film Unit has been in existence since 2007, we’ve not previously been too concerned about the idea of ‘blogging’, preferring instead that our photos and video footage tell our story.  However, things change and so we’re starting this addition to our web presence so that we have an outlet to connect with those of you who wish to read what we have to say.

If you’re not overly familiar with this type of blog you should remember that you can click the ‘Follow’ button in the lower right hand corner of this window to sign up and subscribe—that means that you’ll get an email notification whenever we add a new post to our blog.

So join us now, and watch this space!

Best Regards,

Allan Udy  (videographer) and Alex Mitchell (chief photographer)