Category Archives: Airshow news

Sea Fury T.20 WG566 makes crash-landing near Duxford

DUXFORD | A pilot and passenger made a lucky escape as The Fighter Collection’s Sea Fury T.20 crashed during the Imperial War Museum’s first Duxford Showcase Day of the year today (4th August 2020).

Sea Fury T.20 WG566 was severely damaged in a forced landing in an area of woods near the village of Harston during a routine flight from Duxford with two people on board.

The aircraft was seen departing Runway 24 at around 4pm, following the conclusion of the event’s official flying display, and photos emerged of the aircraft lying, badly damaged, among bushes and trees. The Imperial War Museum said the aircraft sustained “significant damage” and suffered a fuel leak. The two occupants survived with minor injuries.

Duxford’s firefighting team assisted the Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service at the scene of the crash, causing Duxford airfield to temporarily close to traffic.

WG566 flew in the UK during the late 1980s before suffering an engine failure, and was taken to New Zealand and later the United States for repairs. It returned to the UK in 2009 and was a regular sight on the airshow circuit until it was grounded by long-running engine problems. The aircraft flew again in 2018 and is now operated by the Aircraft Restoration Company and owned by the Norwegian Spitfire Foundation. Since then, it has performed at several airshows and offered pleasure flights.

Biało-Czerwone Skrzydła’s second TS-11 Iskra takes flight, paving the way for formation displays

WARSAW | Biało-Czerwone Skrzydła (the Red & White Wings foundation) have successfully flown their second TS-11 Iskra, which will allow them to perform formation aerobatic displays at airshows.

Zrobiliśmy to! Po 6 miesiącach odbudowy oblataliśmy naszą drugą Iskrę. ✈️✈️Czy nie prezentują się cudownie? 😍…….

Posted by Fundacja Biało-Czerwone Skrzydła on Monday, 27 July 2020

Following a six-month rebuild, the foundation announced on the 27th July that they had flown their second jet, posting a video of their two Iskras flying in formation. The new two-ship airshow performance had been expected to be debuted at Gdynia AeroBaltic in August, which has unfortunately been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The TS-11 Iskra (Polish for “Spark”) is a single engine training and light attack aircraft which first flew in 1960, and was the first Polish-built jet aircraft. Originally intended to serve as the primary advanced jet trainer for the Warsaw Pact, the Iskra lost out to the L-29 Delfin, but nonetheless served with the Polish Air Force, Polish Navy and Indian Air Force.

A small number of TS-11s remain in service with the Polish Air Force, most notably with their main aerobatic team, Team Iskra. However, they are expected to be retired by 2021, being replaced by the Leonardo M-346 Bielik. Several Iskras also fly in civilian hands, mainly in the United States, with Biało-Czerwone Skrzydła operating the only two civilian examples flying in Europe.

Biało-Czerwone Skrzydła’s first Iskra was recieved from Poland’s Military Property Agency in November 2013, and was returned to flight six months later. Last year at AeroBaltic, the aircraft performed solo displays and car races, as well as a pyrotechnic display at sunset in formation with Artur Keilak in his XA-42 – possibly the first jet aircraft to attempt such a feat.

In addition to the pair of TS-11s, Biało-Czerwone Skrzydła also operate an Antonov An-2 and the 3AT3 formation team, flying a trio of AT-3 light aircraft, built and designed by Polish company Aero Aircraft Technologies. They are also restoring a further aircraft, although details have not been made public. The organisation’s aim is to promote Polish military aviation at home and abroad.

Patrouille de France 2020 airshow schedule

SALON-DE-PROVENCE | The Patrouille de France will make a belated start to their 2020 airshow season next month, with demonstrations at up to eight public events planned this year.

The French Air Force team are not currently due to fly any shows outside France, but have a number of domestic events scheduled, subject to local restrictions. The team will also fly at military events not open to the general public.

Already this year, the Patrouille de France have participated in flypasts over Paris and London with the Red Arrows in June, visited Normandy to mark the 76th anniversary of D-Day and participated in July’s annual Bastille Day parade. They have more recently performed flypasts across the country as a tribute to healthcare workers.

The Patrouille de France have worked up a full display routine for 2020, which includes new manoeuvres not flown for several seasons.

Date Show Location
Aug 15 France Meeting Aérien Toulon, France
Aug 30 France Fête de l’Air Alpe d’Huez, France
Sep 6 France La Bataille Aérienne de France: Meeting Aérien Cambrai – Niergnies, France
Sep 12-13 France Villaroche Air Legend Melun, France
Sep 20 France Tour de France (flypast only) Paris, France
Sep 27 France Meeting Plage Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France
Oct 3-4 France Cervolix Clermont – Ferrand, France
Oct 10-11 France Meeting Aérien de Ste-Maxime: Free Flight World Masters Sainte-Maxime, France
Oct 17-18 France Meeting Aérien La Ferté Alais: Les Temps de Hélices Cerny – La Ferté Alais

“Antidote” Airshow planned for Leszno this August

LESZNO | Organisers of the Leszno SoundAir Festival will stage a special airshow this August, after their main event was cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic.

This year’s AirSound Festival was scheduled for the 26th-28th June, but was cancelled in May as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged Europe. It was announced yesterday (23rd July) that an airshow is back on the cards at Leszno, with the “Antidote Airshow” scheduled for the 28th-29th August.

The airshow will feature a mix of day and night performances, with the UK’s FireFlies aerobatic team, an SB Lim-2 (a Polish license-built MiG-15) and Austria’s Team Blanix, flying a pair of L-13 Blanik gliders. More performers will be added on due course.

To minimise the risk of the virus spreading, visitors must stay 2 metres apart from each other and will be required to wear a face mask while attending the show. They will also be asked to santise their hands regularly and remain in certain zones of the showground.

Ticket vendor eBilet promises a four hour flying display, running from 5pm until 9pm. Gates will open in the early afternoon, and other attractions will include live music and pleasure flights. Tickets start at 10 złoty and will increase to 20 złoty closer to the show.

Leszno has hosted a chain of popular airshows in recent years, with the much loved Air Picnic running annually until 2016. The same organising team then debuted a preliminary version of the SoundAir Festival in 2019, with an expanded version due in June 2020. The same organisers are now organising the Antidote Airshow. In May, organisers said they could not commit to bringing the SoundAir Festival back in 2021, but added: “If you know us – we like to create surprises. Should an opportunity present itself, we will use it to the fullest extent!”

What will the Red Arrows’ shortened 2020 display routine look like?

SCAMPTON | The RAF Red Arrows were awarded their Public Display Authority for 2020 today (Wednesday 8th July), but this year’s display routine will be a little different to usual.

With the majority of airshows cancelled, several RAF display teams suspended and the Red Arrows abandoning their annual training spring exercise in Cyprus, it seemed possible a few months ago that we might not be seeing the acclaimed aerobatic team display at all this year.

However, following a three-and-a-half week gap in their training, the Red Arrows resumed flying activities at their RAF Scampton base on April 15th, and have been working up a reduced display routine here in the UK, performing practice sorties at Scampton, Syerston and Donna Nook. This led them to achieve their Public Display Authority (PDA), their permission to perform in front of the public, around six weeks later than usual.

The 2020 display routine follows a largely familiar format, although is slightly shorter than in other years. The display will start with around seven minutes of nine-ship formation aerobatics, which in the case of the full display will include two loops and one barrel roll (down from a more typical two barrel rolls in recent seasons). This will be followed by the ever-popular Tornado, which has this year been upgraded to feature Reds 1-5 leading in line abreast, creating a Tango-eqsue formation.

The second half of this year’s full, flat and rolling shows all begin with the Detonator this year, a manoeuvre that typically features only the flat and rolling displays. This will be followed by some of the Red Arrows’ trademark opposition manoeuvres, including the Gypo Pass, Carosel and Goose, and the crowd favourite Heart. A new, flatter version of the Heart, known as the Rolling Heart, will allow the Red Arrows’ famed sky art to be flown in the rolling display for the first time.

Two manoeuvres have been dropped from the display at this point; typically Reds 1-5, 8 and 9 join up for a formation manoeuvre such as the Vertical Break, followed by an opposition pass by the Synchro Pair. Instead, the display will skip straight to a series of manoeuvres by Enid and Gypo, which will include the Python (replaced by the Slalom in the flat display), the Mirror Pass, the Rollbacks and the Gypo Break.

A new manoeuvre known as Crossbow – an opposition pass that combines the Opposition Barrel Rolls with Vice-Versa – will serve as the penultimate manoeuvre, before the display is concluded with the Vixen Break. Despite a shorter duration, and greater commonality between the full, flat and rolling display routines, the inclusion of several new or upgraded manoeuvres, as well as the retention of most crowd favourite manoeuvres, means fans will still enjoy a fresh and exciting performance.

However, the Red Arrows were seen practicing several manoeuvres before the lockdown which are no longer to be featured in this year’s display, including the Vertical Break, and a manoeuvre that appeared similar to the Twizzles, in which five or seven aircraft peel out of formation to execute synchronised barrel rolls. It has not been featured in a Red Arrows display for well over a decade. Until March, the Red Arrows were also seen practicing the Wall arrival part of the Red Arrows’ show in 2016 and 2017, but their final show instead sees them arriving in a more traditional Nine Arrow formation.

Already this year, the Red Arrows have performed three high-profile flypasts, marking VE Day in London and Armed Forces Day in Scarborough, as well as flying over London and Paris with the Patrouille de France on the 18th June. The Red Arrows said achieving PDA would allow them “to respond fully, with preparation completed, to any future national tasking across the UK,” although with most airshows cancelled and others still in doubt, it is not yet clear where and when the public will be able to see them in action.

At the time of writing, only three major UK airshows remain this season: the Jersey and Guernsey air displays, and the Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow, all in September. There are also a smattering of smaller events planned, and at least one foreign airshow has also told This is Flight reporters that they are in talks with the team. It is also possible that the Reds could participate in one-off aerial displays on their own around the country.

Red 10 Sqn Ldr Adam Collins said the team is “ready to display as soon as restrictions allow.”

Shuttleworth to hold first “drive-in” airshow this July

OLD WARDEN | The Shuttleworth Collection are to hold a drive-in airshow next month, in an effort to hold the first UK airshow since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The airshow, which will be for advance ticket holders only, is advertised as being “socially-distant”. Organisers say visitors can “drive in and set up your picnic next to your vehicle”, adding that the small crowd size will ensure visitors have a good view where ever they are parked. On-site catering, clean toilets and hand sanitiser stations will be available.

Gates will open at 3pm, with the flying starting at 5pm and continuing until 8:35, or later if the weather allows the Edwardians to fly. Alongside Shuttleworth regulars, such as the Lysander, Spitfire Mk.Vc, DH.88 Comet and Sea Hurricane, the display is also due to feature visiting aircraft, including an Extra 300 and Fournier RF-4D.

Cars and motorbikes are permitted to attend, although pedestrians will not be granted access. Visitors will park within a marked 25m² area from which they must watch the show, without gathering at the crowdline. Parking spaces will be grouped in “zones”, with each zone having its own welfare hub, including toilets, hand sanitisers and refreshments.

To help ensure all visitors can enjoy the view, there is a maximum vehicle height of two metres. Stepladders, raised tailgates and gazebos are not permitted, and visitors are not allowed to sit or stand on the roof of their vehicles.

UK laws on social distancing means that people who do not live in the same household cannot generally share cars or motorbikes, unless they are in a “support bubble”. Pedestrians will not be allowed to attend and there will be no shuttle bus from Biggleswade. In addition to being able to drive into the show, visitors must also have a working FM radio, as airshow commentary will be delivered on 87.8FM.

There will be no ground attractions at the show.

Tickets cost £50 per vehicle and can be purchased from the Shuttleworth Collection’s website. The Shuttleworth website advertises four further airshows in August, September and October, but none are currently advertised as drive-in shows. Tickets for these events are being sold in the normal manner.

Iran sets up bizarre aerobatic team with knock-off jets, paint scheme and logo

TEHRAN | The Iranian Air Force today took delivery of three indiginous HESA Kowsar fighters, seemingly destined for a new aerobatic team.


A newly-delivered Kowsar at the delivery ceremony today. Photo: Iran_Newsroom.

The Iranian Defence Ministry handed the three aircraft to the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) in a ceremony on Thursday 25th June, at which the specially-painted planes performed formation manoeuvres and flypasts.

Iran’s most recent official aerobatic team, Golden Crown, flew eight Northrop F-5Es up until the Imperial Iranian Air Force was dissolved in 1979. In recent years, Iran has harboured ambitions to create a new team, with the commander of the IRIAF stating in February this year that he hoped a three-ship Kowsar display would be ready in time for the Army Day parade in April. Although the deadline has been missed, the special paint schemes, along with the matching pilot helmets and routine of formation flybys, would suggest that the three jets delivered today are intended for aerial displays.

The Kowsar is an Iranian-built derivative of the Northrop F-5F, which made its first flight in 2018 and is claimed to be a 4th generation fighter. However, one of the Kowsars delivered today is a 43-year-old modified F-5F, still wearing Northrop decals on the ejection seat, despite Iran insisting that the Kowsar is entirely indiginously produced.

 File:RoKAF Black Eagles Singapore Airshow 2014.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Almost identical: The new Iranian jets (left) and the Black Eagles (right). Photos: Iran_Newsroom and Alert5 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Aside from the knock-off F-5s, airshow enthusiasts will note several more bizarre elements of the new team. The paint scheme is remarkably similar to the design applied to the underside of the Republic of Korea Air Force’s Black Eagles team, even mirroring several minor details of the Black Eagles’ design such as the number and position of the Black Eagles’ styalised trailing edge feathers.

Footage broadcast on Iranian television also shows the pilots wearing matching helmets, which very closely mirror the helmet design and logo used by the Italian aerobatic team, Frecce Tricolori. Again, even some minor details of the design have seemingly been copied, including the rough design and placement of the Frecce’s trademark three arrows.

 Aquile trentine nella storia delle « Frecce » - Storia delle ...
Spot the difference: The logo on the Iranian pilot’s helmet (left) is remarkably close to that of the Frecce Tricolori (right). Photos: @Iran_Newsroom and Frecce Tricolori.

While most teams strive to create an individual, recognisable brand and identity, Iran has a history of copying foreign aerobatic teams’ paint schemes. While flying the F-84G Thunderjet, the Golden Crowns’ paint scheme shared more than a passing similarity to that of the Thunderbirds. Upon graduating to the F-5A Freedom Fighter, and later the F-5E Tiger II, Golden Crown adopted a new scheme that was almost identical to that of the Thunderbirds, who were by this point flying the T-38 Talon.

6 Imperial Iranian Air Force F-5Es in an arobatic exhibit.jpg File:20141026 T-38 Talon Alliance Air Show 2014-7.jpg - Wikimedia ...
One image shows the Thunderbirds, one shows Golden Crown. It’s hard to tell which is which. Photos: Wikimedia Commons and Will Schlitzer (via Wikimedia Commons).

More recently, three HESA Saeqeh jets (modified F-5s, like the Kowsar) were painted in a near-replica of the US Navy Blue Angels’ paint scheme during test flights and flybys in 2007. The IRIAF even copied the Blue Angels’ famed cursive typeface, replacing the American team’s name with the words “Air Force”.

Unlike Golden Crown, neither the Blue Angels-livered Saeqehs nor the newly-delivered Kowsars appear to be fitted with smoke systems, on the basis of photos of the aircrafts’ tailpipes.

File:A HESA Saeqeh of IRIAF.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
A laughable likeness: Iranian jets (right) in a Blue Angels (left) colour scheme. Photos: Shahram Sharifi (via Wikimedia Commons) and David Leadingham (thisisflight.net).

It is extremely unlikely the aerobatic team will be seen outside Iran in the foreseeable future, but it’s probable that formation displays will be seen at domestic events such as military parades and the Iran Airshow in Kish. Iran’s claim that the fighters were domestically-produced will make the team a powerful propaganda tool, and senior officials have already declared today’s delivery as a sign of increasing strength in the face of international sanctions.

However, why the nation has, for over half a century, felt the need to repeatedly copy a selection of existing, seemingly-unrelated teams from around the world, rather than developing its own unique team identity, remains a mystery.

When to catch the Republic of Singapore Air Force practicing for NDP

SINGAPORE | The RSAF have begun rehearsing their aerial display for National Day Parade, with further rehearsals scheduled roughly once per week until the 9th August.

NDP 2020 celebrates Singapore’s 55th year of independence, which would usually call for a larger-than-usual military parade and aerial display. However, the event is to be scaled back amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the size of the parade reduced by 90 per cent or more compared to last year.

Unlike most years, when displays are centered on Marina Bay or the Padang, events this year will be spread across the island. This will include the mobile column and an aerial display, with the latter featuring a five-ship formation of F-15SGs from 149 Squadron at Paya Lebar, as well as the traditional state flag flypast, featuring a Chinook and two Apaches. The Red Lions freefall team will also participate throughout the day, landing in the heartlands for the first time, although the precise location of the drop zones is not yet publicly known.

Prime Minister Ng Eng Hen said: “if Singaporeans cannot perform or come to the NDP, why not bring the NDP right to the homes of all Singaporeans across the island?

“SAF helicopters will fly our National Flag in the sky to the strain of Majulah Singapura sung by her citizens over many parts of Singapore. SAF planes will take to the air and fly past housing estates. Look out also for the Red Lions that will land in selected destinations in the heartlands.”

Rehearsals will take place most Saturdays until National Day Parade itself on the 9th August.

Date Time Event
Thursday 25th June 09:00-11:30 RSAF Internal Rehearsal
Saturday 4th July 09:00-11:30 Combined Rehearsal 1
Saturday 11th July 09:00-11:30 Combined Rehearsal 2
Saturday 18th July 09:00-11:30 Combined Rehearsal 3
Saturday 25th July 09:00-11:30 Combined Rehearsal 4
Saturday 1st August 09:00-11:30 Combined Rehearsal 5
Sunday 9th August 09:00-11:30 National Day Parade (morning segment)
Sunday 9th August 18:30-20:30 National Day Parade (evening segment)
Monday 10th August 09:00-11:30 National Day Parade (reserve slot)

The most intense aerial activity is likely to be between 10:30 and 11:00 during CR1, CR2, CR3, CR4 and the NDP morning segment.

Red Arrows will move to Waddington after closure of RAF Scampton

LINCOLN |The RAF Red Arrows’ new base will be RAF Waddington, less than 10 miles south of their current base at Scampton, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.

RAF Scampton, which is expected to close in around 2022, has been the home of the Red Arrows since 1983, with a brief move to RAF Cranwell between 1995 and 2000. However, they continued to use the airspace over Scampton for training. Although Scampton is expected to be sold off for redevelopment, the Red Arrows will continue to use its airspace for training after their move.

Waddington is one of five front-line RAF bases, home to the UK’s Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) fleet. This includes aircraft such as the E-3D Sentry, RC-135 Rivet Joint and Sentinel R1. Waddington was previously named as the Red Arrows’ new home in 2008, but the move was cancelled several years later.

The closure of RAF Scampton was announced in 2018 as part of a major cost-cutting exercise. Two other RAF bases were considered as potential new Red Arrows bases: RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire and RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire, however there was a strong local movement in Lincoln to keep the Red Arrows nearby.

The Ministry of Defence said it would look at ways to preserve Scampton’s “rich history”. During the second world war, Scampton was home to the infamous 617 Squadron, who staged the daring Dambusters raid in 1943. It was later a base for Vulcan bombers.

One dies as Snowbirds jet crashes into residential area in Kamloops, BC

KAMLOOPS | A CT-114 Tutor belonging to the Canadian Forces Snowbirds has  crashed into a house in Kamloops, British Columbia, killing one and injuring another.

Two a jets belonging to the squadron took off from Kamloops bound for Comox at around 11:30 on Sunday 17th May, but one quickly turned back towards the airport, entered a steep dive and crashed with two people on board.

The Royal Canadian Air Force said: “It is with heavy hearts that we announce that one member of the CF Snowbirds team has died and one has sustained serious injuries.”

The team’s Public Affairs Officer, Captain Jennifer Casey, was killed in the accident. Capt. Casey joined the RCAF in 2014 and previously served as PAO for the CF-18 Demo Team, and joined the Snowbirds last year. On social media, the Snowbirds described Capt. Casey as a “dedicated member” of the team.

“We are deeply saddened and grieve alongside Jenn’s family and friends,” said Lieutenant General Al Meinzinger, Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force. “Our thoughts are also with the loved ones of Captain MacDougall. We hope for a swift recovery from his injuries.”

The second team member involved, Snowbird #11 Capt. Richard MacDougall, is the team’s advance pilot and coordinator, was able to eject and landed on the roof of a house. He was taken to hospital with serious injuries, but was not thought to be in a life-threatening condition, according to the RCAF.

There do not appear to have been any injuries on the ground.

The Snowbirds are Canada’s national aerobatic team and operate the ageing CT-114 Tutor, a former RCAF training aircraft which was retired from regular service in 2000. The team have recently been performing flypasts across Canada as part of Operation Inspiration, giving thanks to healthcare workers and boosting morale.

The team had been due to leave Kamloops for Kelowna, performing flypasts along the way as part of Operation Inspiration. However, low cloud forced a last-minute change of plan and the team instead announced they would be flying to Comox, from which they would later stage further flybys.

Last year, a Snowbirds aircraft crashed before the Atlanta Airshow following engine problems. The pilot was able to eject and survived with only minor injuries.