Category Archives: Airshow News Europe

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!

Patrulla Águila suspended from aerobatic displays and training following crash

MURCIA | Aerobatic displays by Spain’s main aerobatic team have been suspended following three fatal accidents in just six months at the team’s base of San Javier.

According to El País, Spain’s second-largest daily newspaper, the Spanish Air Force have cancelled training and displays by Patrulla Águila while they perform a review of its training methods and the workload of its pilots. Patrulla Águila pilots must fly for the aerobatic team while also working as full-time flight instructors.

It had been speculated that the team could be grounded after its solo pilot, Commander Eduardo Garvalena, was killed in a training accident last month while flying a 40-year-old C-101 Aviojet belonging to the team. His predecessor, Cmdr. Francisco Marín, died flying a C-101 in Murcia last August, shortly after passing over the reigns to Cmdr. Garvalena. As Patrulla Águila solo pilots are trained by their predecessors, there is currently no way to quickly train a replacement pilot.

However, Spain’s ageing fleet of C-101s has not been grounded, and El País say that investigators have not found a technical fault on Cmdr. Garvalena’s aircraft, although the investigation is ongoing. This means that Patrulla Águila will continue to participate in parades and flypasts.

Spain’s fleet of over 60 C-101s are due to be replaced in some roles by the Pilatus PC-21 over the next few years, with the entire fleet expected to be retired before the end of the decade.

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


Croatian Air Force aerobatic team to debut new addition to their show this May

ZADAR | The Croatian Air Force’s aerobatic team, Krila Oluje (Wings of Storm), are planning to debut a new feature of their routine this season, which will start at the end of May.

The acclaimed team, best-known for challenging manoeuvres such as the formation tailslide, plan to perform with smoke for the first time this year, it was revealed by Croatia Week. The first aircraft was test-flown with its new smoke system on Monday 2nd March, with a total of nine aircraft expected to be fitted with smoke generators. Six are typically used in the display.

The modification was installed by American manufacturer Smoking Airplanes, one of the world’s top providers of smoke systems for aircraft, at the Aeronautical and Technical Center in Velika Gorica near Zagreb. A smoke tank has been fitted in the luggage compartment on the left of the fuselage behind the cockpit, feeding smoke oil to the engine exhaust on the front right hand side of the fuselage.

The new system will look visually similar to many other teams flying turboprop training aircraft, such as Switzerland’s PC-7 Team, which saw a near-identical system fitted in 2014.

It is planned that the new system will be debuted at the inaugural Croatian International Military Airshow (CROMAS) in Zadar on the 30th May this year.

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.

Apache Aviation in negotiations with new jet team sponsor

DIJON | Apache Aviation, operators of the now-defunct Breitling Jet Team, have confirmed they are planning to return to the airshow circuit in 2020.

Photo: Alex Ohde

The Dijon-based company said on Facebook today that team leader Jacques Bothelin had hoped to announce the team’s new identity at the European Airshow Council Convention in Brussels on the 28th February, but negotiations will not be completed in time.

“Unfortunately, negotiations will not be closed for that date, which means the announcement, if it is confirmed, is postponed,” the company said.

Photo: Alex Ohde

However, the company said they have already secured co-sponsors, enabling them to resume passenger flights and display flying for the first half of the 2020 airshow season.

Based in Dijon, France, Apache Aviation own a fleet of L-39C Albatross and TB-30 Epsilon training aircraft used for flight training and experience flights. Since 2003, the company’s L-39s also performed at airshows under the Breitling Jet Team name, flying as far afield as China and the United States. However, Breitling’s sponsorship was withdrawn at the end of the 2019 season and it was widely expected that the jet team would cease to operate.

The Breitling Jet Team was the world’s first full-time professional civilian jet team, and was for a time the world’s largest civilian jet aerobatic team, flying up to seven jets. However, they flew mainly six aircraft in their final two seasons.