Warhorse of the skies drops in

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Planes head to Warbirds over Wanaka

She was here, a grand warhorse of the skies, and there were just an handful of people at Ashburton Airport to see her.

This is Avro Anson K 6183, believed to be the only Mk 1 version of the plane still flying.

The Avro Anson is a twin-engined multi-role plane built by Avro. By the end of production in 1952, more than 8000 Ansons were built in nine variants.

The Anson, and others, stopped at Ashburton for fuel on the way to Warbirds Over Wanaka, affording Ashburton aviation fans a chance to see classic planes up close – and for nothing.

After refuelling, the props were set, the Anson fired up, taxied across the mown lucerne to the far corner of the field, throttled up, and then rose into a nor-west sky.

The pilot headed north then swung south and the small crowd of onlookers drew breath as the two 350hp Armstrong Siddeley seven-cyclinder engines roared overhead.

It is understood the Mark 1 plane seen at Ashburton was restored and given the number K 6183 in memory of one of the first air losses of World War 2 when an Avro was shot down over Germany in a dogfight.

Planes head to Warbirds over Wanaka