February 7th, 1998 - Matamata

Sportavex is the national get together held every other year by New Zealand's Sport Aircraft Association. The last couple have been held at the Waharoa airfield at Matamata. I missed the 1996 event, so this year I was keen to attend. I dragged my poor partner out there at 9.00am, and then abandoned her while I went off to check out the aircraft.

Pitts Special Jodel D.11 Jodel D.11 Lake Buccaneer Variviggen Sadler vampire

One of the advantages of being early, is that you get to wander up close to the aircraft - the organisers of this event are particularly kind allowing visitors to wander amongst the aircraft on a 'look but don't touch' basis. There aren't too many people to get in the way when you get photographs , and you also get to see some of the aircraft arriving. Sportavex is held over three days - the first is a competition/trade day, and the airshow is on the second day. That meant most of the sport aircraft were already there - but I did get to see some others (particularly the Warbirds) arrive.

Taylor Coots Piper Cub Wilga Slepcev Storch CT-4 DH-82a

Some of the aircraft that were coming and going are shown above. I didn't abandon Louise entirely - and as she was indulging in a little Teddy Bear making (that's her obsession) she attracted a little attention herself! Amongst the official displays were a range of aircraft, some of the media trying to drum up subscriptions, various clubs, and extras like the Di Blasi folding motorbikes.

Louises Di Blasi Bikes Pulsar

The weather decided to be distinctly odd - after a week of dry, very hot days we got fog which cleared before the cloud rolled in, and produced rain. This cleared away leaving a humid cloudy day which when the sun came out left us scorched! Oh well - it didn't stop the show which started about one o'clock with model aircraft, and then lots of the real thing.

Lancair IV Slepcev Storch Corby Starlet

Hignlights for me were numerous - the Jodel's celebrating their 50th anniversary, the amazing Slepcev Storch, the Lancair IV, Sir Kenneth Hayr's Yak-52 display, and the Westland Scout, now in agricultural guise ....

Bill Mudgeway Parachutists TV Camera Pitts Special

I particularly enjoyed the totally over the top Pitts Special display by Richard Hood. There was also parachutists, along with warbird participation - Harvards and the DC-3, as well as Vintage aircraft like the DH84 Dragon, and the RNZAF display team, the 'Red Checkers'.

DC-3 DH84 Harvards CT-4 Scout CT-4s

All in all, a pretty good day, and then I got to look at the aircraft some more! At the conclusion of the show, the airfield was opened again for the joyriders - the DC-3 kept up a steady flow all day, as well as the Rotorua based Stearman, and the Catalina Club attracted some new members. (I didn't make it out to day 3 - but this was a fun day, with lots of rides, trial flights and the like!).

Stearman DC-3 BD-5 Twin Beech Bf108 Taifun DH104 Devon

I finished up by wandering round and discovering some of the attractions back in the hangars - like a partially completed BD-5 (for sale, only NZ$5000), before checking out the warbirds. Not being in a hurry to leave (who wants to sit in a traffic queue), it was fun watching some of the aircraft depart - like the Bf108 Taifun!

So I'd like to say thankyou to the Sport Aircraft Association for a fun day (and for mentioning my site in the printed airshow programme)!

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