With the issues of the previous fifteen months relating to the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and all the associated difficulties for travel and gatherings, the organisers of the Wings Over Wairarapa Air Festival 2021 must have been ’on edge’ in the lead-up to the event. The airshow scene in New Zealand and Australia had been ravaged since early-2020 due to the effect of these travel and gathering restrictions after the COVID-19 pandemic that had raised its ugly head over a year previous. Therefore the expectation was that the 2021 Wings Over Wairarapa Air Festival would be one of the first large airshow events to be held in this part of the world.
As the time approached for the event to be held, the weather across the region remained suitable for the set-up of Masterton’s Hood Aerodrome. This was a welcome and promising aspect appreciated by the organisers plus all the stallholders and aircraft operators, as in the back of their minds I am certain were memories of the previous two events that were affected by the weather…the airshow scheduled for 17–19 February 2017 was cancelled entirely while the second airshow day of the 2021 event was also cancelled due to unsuitable weather conditions.
The long-range weather forecasts for the weekend of 27–28 February 2021 looked promising, ticket sales were encouraging for a sizeable crowd to attend, and the participating aircraft from ‘out-of-town’ were positioning into the airport ahead of the weekend. Meanwhile in the months prior to the airshow, locally-based The Vintage Aviator Ltd had organised and run weekends for their pilots and ground crew members to build up their display routines. The routines they arranged involved a varied fleet of aircraft that the organisation owns and operates. Some of these World War I vintage aircraft are originals, while many others are reproductions plus a few are replicas.