Aero club marks 50 years in Te Anau

Fiordland Aero Club former presidents (from left) Chris Frew (Tussock) 1990-1996, Sam Chartres 1979-1981 and life member 2000, Graeme Bell (Dingle) 1981-1984, Murray Hagan 2006-2017 and life member 2017, current president Lindsay Baird and George Taylor 2017-2020.

NEARLY 100 people spent the weekend reminiscing about the past 50 years at the Fiordland Aero Club’s celebration last weekend.

The 50th celebrations started with a gathering at the clubrooms, followed by the dinner in the evening. A barbecue lunch was also held the following day.

Fifty-seven pilots, past, present or student, attended an evening function at the Te Anau Club, hosted by life member Murray Hagan.

The evening included videos of the past including an air show held at the Waiau Airstrip in January 1981, and some early members shared memories and anecdotes.

The oldest original surviving member to attend the weekend was Vaughan Campbell with his wife Ann.

Mr Campbell was president from 1977-1979.

Eventgoers were witness to a display of airmanship and aerobatics by Ivan Krippner, of Wings & Water from Te Anau.

Mr Krippner is a commercial aerobatic pilot and instructor, a two-time national aerobatic champion and six-time national title holder.

He was selected as part of an Australia-based aerobatics team who performed at airshows around the world, including in China in recent years prior to Covid-19.

Hamish Blomfield also showed just what a modern aerobatic remote-controlled helicopter could do, with a spectacular show of agility and control.

The club has 61 members from Gore, Winton, Invercargill, Tuatapere, Waimea, Te Anau, Queenstown and Alexandra.