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Richard Pearse centenary air pageant

Big crowds expected at Richard Pearse centenary air pageant

At least 10,000 people are expected to attend the Richard Pearse are pageant in Timaru in March.

World media attention will be focused on South Canterbury as the months count down towards this year's centenary air show to mark the feats of pioneer aviator Richard Pearse.

The air show celebrations will be one of the finest ever seen in the South Island and will be held on March 29-31 - almost 100 years to the day eyewitnesses saw Pearse lift his plane off the ground for the first time.

Pearse is regarded as one of the first people in the world to achieve powered take off.

The Pearse centenary celebrations lift off on Saturday March 29 featuring homebuilt aircraft, microlights, gyrocopters, gliders, aerobatics and warbirds.

Air pageant event manager Beth O’Loughlin said NZ Open aerobatics champion Steve Taylor will fly his Edge 540, which has the latest of technology in the field of sport aviation.

A replica of Pearse’s plane recently completed by the South Canterbury Aviation Heritage Centre will also be on show.

The Richard Pearse Centenary air pageant will be held on Sunday, March 30 and the skies above South Canterbury, will be full of the most diverse collection of aircraft ever seen in the region at one time.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force will provide a vast array of aircraft which will be seen in the skies above Timaru.

Pearse, of Waitohi, just north of Timaru, was a man of genius whose achievements went almost unrecognised by the rest of the world for decades.

``To celebrate the actual 100 year anniversary of the Richard Pearse flight, a special day has been organised by the Waitohi residents,’’ Ms O’Loughlin said.

A procession of international achievement of the decades has been organised with flyovers by aircraft from each era, culminating with the re-enactment of the actual flight with a Richard Pearse replica plane especially constructed by Motat in Auckland.

The magnitude of Pearse’s achievements are featured in a book just released, The History Makers by Vaughan Yarwood.

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