Tag Archives: Rotorua

Red Checkers over Lake Rotorua

Kia Ora Fellow Gallopers,

The Red Checkers is the only aerobatic team of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. Using Harvards, the RNZAF first flew display aerobatics in the immediate post-WWII years. In 1967, the Central Flying School (CFS) team was officially called the ‘Red Checkers’, the name being derived from the red and white checkered cowls on the five Harvards that made up this team. After being disbanded in 1973, the team reformed in 1980 but this time flying the CT-4B Airtrainer. The first Airtrainer team comprised four aircraft but this was soon increased to the current team size of five. In 1999, the team moved onto the aircraft that is currently used – the CT-4E Airtrainers. The aircrafts used by the team had a nose painted in a red and white checkered pattern but this has now been reduced to a small checkered stripe. Red Checker pilots are senior flying instructors from the RNZAF Central Flying School and the Pilot Training Squadron situated at RNZAF Base Ohakea.

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On 9th April, 2013, the Red Checkers performed a 15 minute flying display routine over Lake Rotorua as part of their tour of the North Island. The display comprised of the mirror maneuver (seen below) – a maneuver the team is well known for.

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You can see all the images from the 15 minute routine here. Enjoy!!!

Till next time, take care and gallop free.

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Karearea – The New Zealand Falcon

Kia Ora Fellow Gallopers,

The Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre was established in Rotorua, NZ in 2002 and at Wingspan’s core is a commitment to the conservation of the threatened ‘Karearea’ New Zealand Falcon.  Being part of New Zealand’s unique natural heritage, falcons are a taonga (treasured) species to tangata whenua (Māori, people of the land).

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A few days ago I visited the Centre to see these magnificent birds. In addition to getting up close with the falcon, the pièce de résistance of my visit was the one hour flying display – that’s held every single day – when one gets to see, first hand, the speed and agility with which these birds fly. The accompanying talk is highly informative and complements the flying display very well.

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If you live in Rotorua or happen to be passing through Rotorua and you’d like to see the New Zealand Falcon, then a visit to New Zealand’s first and only Bird of Prey centre is a must. In the meantime, feel free to click here to see all the images from my recent visit to Wingspan.

Till next time, take care and gallop free.

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PS: If you’d like to see my latest images including the birds I’ve been studying and photographing of late, why not follow Black Stallion Photography’s Facebook Page…

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