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RNZAF Black Falcons to turn heads skywards at Napier's Art Deco Festival

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) aerobatics display team, the Black Falcons, will appear in Hawke’s Bay skies three times this weekend.

14 February, 2024

As part of the Art Deco Festival, the five-strong team, flying the T-6C Texan II aircraft, will conduct displays centred on the Soundshell on Napier’s Marine Parade on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Royal New Zealand Navy is also in town for the occasion, with HMNZS Manawanui in port.

Squadron Leader Michael Williams said the pilots were looking forward to flying in Hawke’s Bay again.

“It’s a real pleasure to bring our displays to people any time, and on this trip we’ll be part of the Art Deco Festival, so we’re hoping lots of people will be able to see us,” he said.

“For us it’s a chance to demonstrate a key element of our Air Force’s range of capabilities.

“This type of flying is fantastic to be part of as a pilot, but it also practises and sharpens key military flying skills. So while it’s great to watch and hopefully showcases an Air Force that New Zealanders can be proud of, there’s a serious side to the extra training and practice involved in display flying.

“Our Texan aircraft is the one on which all RNZAF pilots learn to fly, so we also hope this weekend’s displays will inspire some of the young people who see us. It could be them up there one day.

“This week also marks the anniversary of Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle hitting Hawke’s Bay, and we are pleased that we can acknowledge that as well as the Art Deco Festival – it’s been a tough year for many people in the area,” he said.

Black Falcons display details 

Displays will take place in the vicinity of the Soundshell on Marine Parade. The timings may be subject to changes, and all displays are subject to weather and other operational considerations. Follow the team Facebook page for any updates.

  •  Friday 16 February: 7.30pm
  •  Saturday 17 February: 12.45pm
  •  Sunday 18 February: 2.30pm