Do you harbour a secret desire to be a top gun fighter pilot? Perhaps even fantasize about a dogfight with the Red Baron or Snoopy?

Aerobatic action flights are a relatively new development on the adventure tourism scene. This is moderate to extreme adventure for thrill seekers and would be ‘fly boys’ and ‘fly girls’. Looping the loop in a Pitts Special stunt plane is not for the faint hearted. Shooting the breeze in the open cockpit of a Tiger Moth trainer is less daunting – until the pilot does a triple roll over.

Wanaka steals the show in the vintage aircraft scene with its superb Skyshow and Warbirds Museum. The town boasts the largest collection of airworthy WWII fighter aircraft in the Southern Hemisphere. Put yourself in the driver’s seat with the dual control Mustang or Harvard for a special treat – the skies the limit. Chug along in the more sedate Chipmunk or dabble in a daring dogfight in the simulator suite.

Other centres have aerobatic and vintage aircraft to enable you to experience the unique feeling of open cockpit flying. Auckland has a good selection of vintage ‘cloud-riders’, as does Rotorua. In the South Island, local airports at Nelson, Tekapo, Queenstown and Te Anau are amongst those that invite visitors to experience adventure aviation. Gore, in Southland, has an impressive collection of vintage planes.

This has to be an opportunity that’s too good to miss. You can fly ‘by the seat of the pants’ just like the great aviators of history – those incredible men in their flying machines.