THE bright lights of hospitality drew a whisper of moths to a South Otago town at the weekend.
It was a case of less whisper, more roar, however, given the moths were of the tigerish variety, in the shape of the classic World War 2 training aircraft.
NZ Tiger Moth Club spokesman John Haynes, of Gore, said eight of the highly recognisable de Havilland biplanes were visiting Balclutha during the weekend for the club’s AGM Fly-In.
Mr Haynes said the club chose a ‘‘community-minded’’ township each year to hold its annual meeting, and was delighted to be visiting South Otago on this occasion.
‘‘I suggested Balclutha to the committee, and our visit has lived up to all our expectations. They’ve looked after us wonderfully.’’
Alongside more formal annual meeting matters, club members also took part in friendly competition over the weekend, and provided ‘‘joyrides’’ for locals, he said.
‘‘We have various challenges such as dropping a tennis ball on to a target from the air, landing with precision and aerobatic loops.
‘‘Then we’ll have our meeting tomorrow before making our way back to our various destinations.’’
Given optimal conditions, the craft would fly at about 150kmh for up to three hours.
‘‘You don’t hurry anywhere in a Tiger Moth.’’
Visiting from Masterton, in an aircraft she rescued from a shed near Ranfurly last year, was professional pilot Lucy Newell.
Miss Newell said the plane had languished at Kokonga for about 25 years before she discovered it, and returned it to airworthy condition.
She now planned to use it for commercial pleasure flights in the Wairarapa.
People tended to fall in love with Tiger Moths quickly, Miss Newell said.
‘‘They’re a romantic aircraft to fly.
‘‘It’s old-fashioned, authentic flying, with the wind in your face, exposed to the elements.
‘‘Everything you do in a Tiger Moth takes time, in a good way. It’s all about the journey.’’