Watch: RNZAF Orions final flight across South Island

Tue, Jan 31

South Island plane watchers were treated to a final flyover by the Royal New Zealand Air Force's (RNZAF) last two P-3K2 Orions as they head into retirement.

The two aircraft were a part of the RNZAF's larger fleet of Orions and have been in service for nearly 60 years.

Their route covered much of the South Island, including a close formation flyby of the Air Force Museum at Wigram in Christchurch.

They started by heading south towards Invercargill before the aircraft turned north towards Queenstown, the West Coast and Nelson before finally landing at RNZAF Base Woodbourne.

Chief of Defence Force Air Marshal Kevin Short and Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark joined the flight. Both are high-ranking officers who got their start on board the Orions.

The planes have served around the world over the past six decades, being used for aerial surveillance across the South Pacific, Southern Ocean and Antarctica.

They were used for disaster relief and search and rescue, saving hundreds.

The Air Force's fleet of Orions will be replaced by four Boeing P-8A Poseidons.


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