Flying Scholarships

The aim of the Warbirds Over Wanaka Community Trust Flying Scholarships is to address one of the risks identified around the future sustainability of our Airshow – a possible lack of Warbird display pilots in future years. The Trust is looking for pilots, passionate about Warbirds, who wish to have access to these aircraft with a view to flying them.

To date the Trust has awarded eight scholarships which has enabled the recipients to achieve a number of milestones on their personal journeys towards becoming Warbird display pilots, ranging from obtaining a T-6 Harvard rating to becoming proficient in flying a Spitfire.  A number of these pilots flew at Warbirds Over Wanaka 2024 while others were involved in critical organisational roles at the Airshow.

The scholarships have been on hold for some years due to a lack of available funds because of two airshow cancellations.  The Trust hopes to make a decision later this year about resuming the scholarship programme.  Once a decision has been made on a possible resumption and the scholarship format, details will be posted here. 


This quote in a letter to Warbirds Over Wanaka from 2017 scholarship winner Michael Williams  says it all:

"As you are aware, I put my Scholarship towards type-rating training in the P-40 Kittyhawk. We didn't get to complete all of the flying at the one time and it has taken until now to "line up the planets" in order to get the aircraft, Frank Parker and myself in the same place and time. Suffice to say however, as of now I am officially type rated in the P-40, with the final flight being one of the best 30 minutes of my life whilst trialling a display routine just south of Ardmore. I just wanted to say a huge thank you for the opportunity. The Scholarship was the critical factor that enabled all of this to happen, and for that I cannot thank you enough."