Category Archives: Airshow News Europe

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.

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.

Royal International Air Tattoo cancelled amid coronavirus outbreak

FAIRFORD | This year’s Royal International Air Tattoo, known as the world’s largest military airshow, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus, the first July airshow to be hit by the disease.

The airshow had been due to take place from the 17th-19th July at RAF Fairford, with performers such as the Patrouille Suisse, Royal Danish Air Force F-16AM and US Air Force F-16C expected to take part in the flying display.

The airshow organisers said: “This decision has not been taken lightly and a significant amount of work sits behind this course of action.  The crisis, which is worsening by the day, and the implications of which are becoming more profound, has led us to conclude that the most prudent course of action is to cease any further planning to deliver this significant event.

“The Air Tattoo is reliant on the support of a wide range of stakeholders, not least the participation of international air arms, medical professionals, military security teams and our Emergency Services, many of whom are delivering a fundamental contribution to fighting this crisis. We believe delivery of our event would distract them from this.

“At the heart of this difficult decision is our firm belief that staging the Air Tattoo this year would not only run counter to the current Government advice but would also be beyond what we could reasonably ask of our supporters. We recognise that our decision will have a negative financial impact on our valued suppliers and traders, on the local economy that benefits so much from the large influx of people who arrive in the area for one week in July, as well as on our parent charity. For this we apologise.”

Although dozens of airshows have already been cancelled globally due to the coronavirus, the Royal International Air Tattoo 2020 is the only one so far beyond mid-June to be scrapped. However, given its reliance on international air arms, the event is particularly vulnerable to global pandemics.

It is the third UK airshow to be officially cancelled, after the Midlands Air Festival and Duxford Air Festival were pulled from the calendar earlier in the week. Schools are to close to most pupils today, and 1.4 million Britons with underlying health conditions are being advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks, starting over the weekend. Follow the latest news as the outbreak continuis to affect the airshow industry on our coronavirus live blog.

The next Royal International Air Tattoo will be held on the 16th-18th July 2021, and will celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary. Remember if you want to re-live previous Air Tattoos, our 90-minute documentary on RIAT 2018 is available on our website!

Belgian Air Force Agusta A109BA solo display dates 2020

The Belgian Air Force’s Agusta A109BA solo display can be seen at the following events this year.

Date Show Location Country
May 16-17 France Portes Ouvertes BA116 Luxeuil Saint-Sauveur France
Jul 11/td> United Kingdom Royal Navy International Air Day Yeovilton UK
Jul 21-23/td> France Meeting Aérien International Albert – Picardie France
Sep 11 Belgium Sanicole Sunset Airshow Hechtel Belgium
Sep 13 Belgium Sanicole International Airshow Hechtel Belgium
Sep 19-20 Italy 60th Anniversary of the Frecce Tricolori Rivolto Italy

Belgian Air Force Red Devils 2020 airshow schedule

The Belgian Air Force’s official aerobatic team, the Red Devils, have published their 2020 airshow season. The team, who fly four Marchetti SF.260s, will perform at nine events, including two international shows.

Date Show Location Country
Jun 14 Denmark Danish Airshow Karup Denmark
Jun 21 France Aerotorshow Valence Chabeuil France
Jun 27-28 Belgium Aérodrome en Fete St Hubert – Cerfontaine Belgium
Jun 27-28 Belgium Cerfontaine Belgium
Jun 28 Belgium Le festival Des Ballons et des Ailes Le Roeulx Belgium
Jul 1 Belgium Open Door Koksijde Belgium
Jul 4-5 Belgium BOACK Koksijde Belgium
Jul 4-5 Belgium Navydays (flypast only) Zeebrugge Belgium
Sep 13 Belgium Sanicole International Airshow Hechtel Belgium

Spanish Air Force Patrulla Aspa 2020 airshow schedule

GRANADA | The Spanish Air Force’s EC-120 Colibri aerobatic team have released their 2020 airshow schedule, which includes two international shows.

Date Show Location Country
Mar 7 Spain Estaremos en las Jornadas Aeronauticas de Tablada Seville Spain
May 13-17 Germany Internationale Luft- und Raumfahrtausstellung (ILA) Berlin Germany
Jun 21 Spain Festival Aéreo de Motril Motril Spain
Jun 27 Spain Fiestas Patronales de Burgos San Pablo Spain
Jul 23-26 Spain XV Criterium Aeronautico y XXXVII Vuelta Aerea a Galica Lugo Spain
Jul 24-26 Spain Festival Aéreo de Gijón Gijón Spain
Jul 24-27 Spain Regata Tall Ship Race La Coruna Spain
Oct 10-11 France Free Flight World Masters Saint-Maxime France

 

Belgian Air Force F-16AM “Dark Falcon” 2020 display dates

The Belgian Air Force’s popular F_16AM Fighting Falcon solo display is due to participate in 16 events spanning eight countries this year. It will be the final year with Captain Stefan Darte, callsign “Vador”, flying his “Dark Falcon” jet.

Date Show Location Country
May 23-24 United Kingdom Duxford Air Festival Duxford UK
May 30 Croatia Croatian International Military Airshow Zadar Croatia
Jun 6 Norway Rygge Airshow Rygge Norway
Jun 13-14 France Meeting de l’Air Cognac – Châteaubernard France
Jun 28 Belgium Ursel Avia Ursel Belgium
Jun 28 Belgium Aérodrome en Fete St Hubert – Cerfontaine Belgium
Jul 1 Belgium Open Door Koksijde Belgium
Jul 4 Belgium BOACK Koksijde Belgium
Jul 17-19 United Kingdom Royal International Air Tattoo Fairford UK
Aug 1-2 Latvia Wings Over Baltics Jurmala Latvia
Aug 23-24 France Meeting Aérien International Albert – Picardie France
Aug 29-30 Slovakia Slovak International Air Fest Sliač Slovakia
Sep 6 France Meeting Aérien de Cambrai Cambrai – Niergnies France
Sep 11 Belgium Sanicole Sunset Airshow Hechtel Belgium
Sep 13 Belgium Sanicole International Airshow Hechtel Belgium
Sep 19-20 Italy 60th Anniversary of the Frecce Tricolori Rivolto Italy

 

Patrulla Aguila jet crashes near San Javier, killing solo pilot

SAN JAVIER | The solo pilot of the Patrulla Aguila was killed in an accident near the team’s base in Murcia today, Thursday 27th February.

The Spanish Air Force confirmed that a C-101 Aviojet from the General Air Academy crashed into the sea near La Manga in an area commonly used for training flights. It was being flown by Patrulla Aguila’s solo pilot, Aguila #5 Commander Eduardo Fermín Garvalena, who did not eject.

Patrulla Aguila said they were “broken with pain” over the loss of their team mate, who had over 2,300 hours of flying experience. He flew the Eurofighter Typhoon before joining the General Air Academy in San Javier in 2017, joining Patrulla Aguila as the solo pilot for the 2019 season.

The Air Force said Cmdr. Garvalena was conducting a routine training flight at the time of the crash. However, as all Patrulla Aguila pilots also serve as flight instructors, it is has not been made explicitly clear whether he was flying with the team on his final sortie.

According to Murcia Today, the jet which crashed was one of the oldest in service, having been flying for over 30 years.

Patrulla Aguila have been Spain’s main national aerobatic team since 1985, and currently perform with seven C-101 Aviojets. The solo pilot is responsible for some of the team’s most daring manoeuvres, such as the tailslide and outside loop.

It is the third fatal crash of a General Air Academy plane in Murcia in seven months, with one of the previous accidents taking the life of former Patrulla Aguila soloist Comandante Francisco Marín. The ageing C-101, which first flew in 1977, is used as an advanced and basic jet trainer in the Spanish Air Force, although it is soon to be replaced in the basic jet training role by the Pilatus PC-21.

The Spanish Air Force had previously attempted to procure Korea Aerospace Industries T-50B Golden Eagles as advanced jet trainers, which would be used by Patrulla Aguila, but the deal did not come to fruition.

Although the Alenia M-345 is seen as the front tunner, it is not yet clear which design will replace the C-101 and F-5B in the advanced trainint role, or which type will eventually equip Patrulla Aguila. However, the initial order of 24 PC-21s is likely to be insufficient for Patrulla Aguila’s C-101s to be replaced for at least the next few years.