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Royal New Zealand Air Force’s aerobatic team Black Falcons take flight

After nearly three years of COVID-19 disrupted display seasons, the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s Black Falcons are back in the sky.

25 January, 2023

The aerobatic team has a bustling schedule this display season, which goes until early April, with the coming weekend seeing them showcase their skills in the upper North Island.

Mount Maunganui Beach will be treated to a Black Falcons display on Friday 27 January about 6pm. 

Over Auckland Anniversary weekend, the team will be doing displays on Saturday, 28 January over Mission Bay about 11am and later over Orewa Beach about 3pm.

To round out the weekend, on Sunday 29 January, the team will perform a display over Takapuna Beach about 11am.

Six Black Falcon pilots stand in front of the black Texan aircraft. They are wearing green overalls as they stand on the tarmac at Base Ohakea with scattered cloud and blue sky behind them.

From left to right: Squadron Leader Anthony Rose, Squadron Leader Stuart Anderson, Flight Lieutenant Edward Drane, Squadron Leader Paul Stockley, Flight Lieutenant AJ Quinn and Squadron Leader Hamish Reichardt.

Central Flying School Officer Commanding Squadron Leader Paul Stockley said it was great for the team to be back in the sky.

“While the RNZAF has been very active during the last three years conducting operations both here and overseas, the opportunities to publicly engage with New Zealanders through air displays have been few and far between."

“The RNZAF Black Falcons formation aerobatic team, led by Squadron Leader Stuart Anderson, is representative of the training, character and skill of everyone in the military and we are very much looking forward to presenting to the public the professionalism of their Air Force in an entertaining format.”

The Black Falcons team members are all instructors with the Central Flying School, who are responsible for training flying instructors and maintaining flying instructional standards across the Air Force, or with No. 14 Squadron, which train new pilots to the RNZAF. 

There are eight team members in the RNZAF Black Falcons; six pilots, a team manager and a team support officer.