B-52 bomber abandons Wings Over Wairarapa after maintenance problems

The star of the Wings Over Wairarapa show has failed to appear after being grounded in Australia with maintenance problems.

The B-52 bomber was supposed to be the headline act at the show. But instead plane enthusiasts in Masterton watching an impromptu flyover by a New Zealand Air Force P-3 Orion.

After two years of organising, the B-52 was a major drawcard for the airshow's 20th anniversary, which attracts a crowd of 20,000 people from around the world. But at the last minute the B-52 ran into trouble.

"We are devastated. When we were first asked two years ago... we were thrilled to help," says US Embassy defence attache Colonel Jamie McAden.

It was a huge blow to the festival, and a blow to the punters. But the show must go on and the Orion was called in from Auckland at the very last minute.

And there was still plenty to see, including a daring helicopter performance from the New Zealand Defence Force and Police.

Despite being in US service for more than fifty years already, the B52 has a bit more life in it and the US Embassy in Wellington's already indicated it should make its debut flight over New Zealand in the future.


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