Opened in November 2016, the exhibition Dangerous Skies broadens the Omaka experience into the more familiar territory of World War Two, even while breaking new ground. Taking visitors on a journey the through lesser-known stories of the war on the Eastern front, those of the world’s only female fighter aces and the most famous of all women regiments; Russia’s 588th Night Bombers, or ‘Night Witches’ as the Germans called them.
Like World War One’s Knights of the Sky, Dangerous Skies features mannequins made by Weta Workshop, and original, flyable static aircraft in larger-than-life dioramas, capturing specific snapshots in history. The Avro Anson Mk. I, the only airworthy remaining of its type in the world, crouches in the shadow of its home airfield’s guard house, whilst the Griffon-powered Spitfire Mk. XIV (one of fewer than a handful of flying spitfires in Australasia), is under shade in the steamy climes of 1940’s Burma. The Russian Yak-3Ua, normally on display here alongside fighter ace Lydia Litvyak, has been away for several months successfully competing in the Reno Air Races in Nevada, USA. Upon its return in January, there is the unique opportunity to take a joy flight in this fighter; capable of speeds up to 407 mph.
One of the highlights of Dangerous Skies is the Stalingrad Experience, which utilises CGI, laser projectors, surround sound and lighting effects to immerse the visitor in one of the most brutal battles of the Second World War. Considered by many historians to be the turning point of the war in Europe, visitors will find themselves looking out at a heavily damaged Stalingrad from within a ruined factory building as it is bombed by the Luftwaffe. This immersive experience is followed by an excerpt from Neil Halloran’s SXSW award winning data driven documentary highlighting the ‘Fallen of the Second World War’, particularly those of the Eastern Front.
All proceeds go towards the future development and expansion of the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. For more information, phone (03) 579 1305 or email firstname.lastname@example.org