Plane crash at Warbirds over Wanaka

The plane crashed 20 metres off the runway (Dave Goosselink)
The plane crashed 20 metres off the runway (Dave Goosselink)

Two people have walked away uninjured after a plane crashed this morning at Warbirds over Wanaka.

The classic 1943 Harvard display aircraft was part of the show at the weekend, and crashed on landing before skidding 20 metres off the Wanaka Airport runway around 9:30am.

The crash landing is believed to be caused by a mechanical fault with a wheel.

The North American Harvard plane is part of the five-plane "Roaring Forties" aerobatic flying display team at the airshow.

Wanaka Airport operations manager Ralph Fegan says it could have been much worse.

"It's just parked about 20m off the edge of the runway, sitting on its belly. The pilot got out, the passenger got out, nobody hurt, no fuel leaks."

The plane has now been cleared from the edge of the runway and the Civil Aviation Authority will investigate.

The aircraft is one of 202 American-built Harvards delivered to the Royal New Zealand Air Force in the 1940s.

Earlier this morning a young man visiting from Brisbane also had a lucky escape after the Harvard plane he was in suffered a mechanical failure in the takeoff phase.

The 24-year-old man who didn't want to be identified had booked a recreational rode at 8:30am in the classic warplane, as a passenger alongside an experienced pilot.

"I'm not exactly sure what happened, but as we were coming down the runway for takeoff there was a problem and one wing actually clipped the tarmac. There were big sparks and it was a bit unnerving."

The flight was abandoned and Wanaka Airport has been temporarily closed to air traffic while the second Harvard plane is cleared.

The Harvard plane being towed (Dave Goosselink)

It's the last day for the Warbirds over Wanaka International Airshow, which runs over four days.