Category Archives: Airshow News Europe

Malta Airport refuses to provide parking space for airshow

LUQA | The Malta Airshow, slated for September 2020, has been scrapped after Malta Airport declined to provide sufficient parking space for participating aircraft.

Yesterday the Malta Aviation Society announced that it had “worked hard” with the Ministry of Tourism to organise the show, but “it has now ceased all preparations for the event”. In a statement, the society said they had requested the use of two aprons at Malta’s only airport, in Luqa, but that this was declined by Malta International Airport PLC, who said the aprons formed a core part of their operations.

The Malta Aviation Society say they have gathered information about the airport over several days which indicates the two ramp areas are seldom used.

The Malta Airshow has had a troubled past, last being held in 2017 over the sea near Smart City, after the government of Malta forced the show away from the airport, where it had been held since 1993.

The airshow organisers say that a lack of support from the island’s government is “precluding Malta from having its own proper airshow like every other European country.”

RAF Tucano to bow out with final displays this weekend

SOUTHPORT | The Short Tucano T.1 is to make its final flying display appearance in RAF hands this weekend at the Southport Airshow.

The RAF’s Tucano Solo Display was resurrected this year for the first time since 2014 to mark the type’s retirement this autumn. This year’s display pilot, 24-year-old Flt. Lt. Liam Matthews of 72 Squadron, enjoyed a busy season, performing at 17 public airshows in the UK and one in Ireland.

The Short Tucano T.1 is a British license-built version of the EMB-312 Tucano basic fast jet trainer. It was introduced into RAF service in 1989, with a total of 130 airframes delivered. It is now being replaced by the T-6 Texan II.

The Blades to fly a “shiny new aeroplane” next year, says Arthur Williams

BOURNEMOUTH | The Blades aerobatic team could be flying the GameBird GB1 next year, as guest commentator Arthur Williams announced they are set to upgrade to a new aircraft.

Photo: James Connolly

TV presenter Mr Williams said at the Bournemouth Air Festival: “It’s the last year that we’ll be working with the Extra, as we’ll be getting a nice, shiny new aeroplane as of next year.”

Although he did not mention which aircraft will replace the Extra 300, Flying Magazine has reported that the team are planning to upgrade to the GameBird GB1. The UK-designed GB1 has double the range of the Extra 300LP, allowing the team to display further afield and in more remote locations at a lower cost, according to the Royal Aeronautical Society.

The Blades, part of 2Excel Aviation have flown the Extra 300LP since they were formed in 2006, which they use both in aerobatic displays and for passenger flights. Since 2018, they have also operated a modified single-seat Edge 540 V2.

Former Patrulla Aguila pilot killed in Murcia crash

MURCIA | A former pilot of the Patrulla Aguila was killed when his C-101 Aviojet crashed into the sea near La Manga during a training flight at 09:38 local time on Monday 26th August.

The European Council of Airshows confirmed several hours after the accident that Comandante Francisco “Paco” Marín Núñez, the team’s solo pilot for the 2018 season, died in the crash. La Informacion said that Cmdte. Marín had been conducting a familiarisation flight after his summer holiday, and that he was the only person on board at the time of the accident. He had been working as a flight instructor at the General Air Academy in San Javier, where Patrulla Aguila are also based.

The Spanish Air Force later said: “In the absence of confirmation from the forensic authority regarding the missing remains, everything indicates that our companion the pilot instructor of the General Air Academy accident, has died.”

The Spanish Ministry of Defence said that the pilot had managed to eject, sparking a search and rescue operation. It had earlier been reported by  La Confidencial that the downed jet had been part of Patrulla Aguilla, Spain’s main military aerobatic team, which fly seven C-101 Aviojets and often practice in the area.

The Spanish-built CASA C-101 entered service in 1980 and is used as an advanced jet trainer by the Spanish Air Force.

Abingdon Air & Country Show “reverse” cancellation of flying displays

DALTON BARRACKS | Organisers of the Abingdon Air & Country Show have re-instated the event’s flying displays, just months after they decided to scrap them.

This year’s show, held on the 5th May, was intended to be the last with a full flying display, due to increasing costs and tightening safety regulations. However, at the first board meeting to discuss the 2020 show, main organiser Niel Porter announced a “major re-think”, leaing to a “reversal” of the decision.

The re-instated flying display will mainly feature helicopters, which will allow the aerobatic box to fit within the confines of the airfield, meaning fewer road closures will be required. However, organisers added: “There is potential also for the odd other non-helicopter type to display but flypasts will also feature.”

It is hoped that the Air & Country Show will become one of the UK’s biggest “Helimeets”, with all three of the UK’s armed services requested to take part, as well as civilian operators. Some foreign air arms have also been invited.

Because the flying display has been re-instated, the event will remain on the eastern side of the airfield, rather than moving to the west as previously suggested.

In a sample schedule, organisers suggested that the flying display may be seperated into two slots in the afternoon, one of around an hour in duration and one of around half an hour. While this is smaller than previous offerings, the Country Fair is to be expanded, with vintage vehicles and traders. In previous announcements, the organisers also said the fly-in could more than double in size, and that pleasure flights would be offered in helicopters and warbirds.

The next Abingdon Air & Country Show will take place on Sunday 17th May 2020, with ticket prices expected to be the same as in 2019. The photographers’ nightshoot will also return on Saturday 16th May.

Patrouille de France suspend displays after jet crashes into road

PERPIGNAN | The Patrouille de France suspended all aerobatic displays after one of their jets crash-landed in a field and crashed into a wall by a main road on Thursday 25th July.

The French Air Force team had just performed a practice display at Saint-Cyprien and were returning to Perpignan – Rivesaltes Airport when ‘Athos 2’ landed in a field near the airport and skidded into a roadside barrier. The pilot managed to eject and was reportedly injured, but the Patrouille de France said there was “no cause for concern” about his health.

The team have halted their displays while an investigation determines the cause of the accident, but posted on Tuesday 30th July that practices and displays had been resumed. They expressed hope that Athos 2 will re-join the team soon, after his recovery.

The Patrouille de France are France’s national aerobatic team, flying eight Alpha Jets. They can trace their routes back to 1931. Today’s accident is the team’s first for almost a decade.


Torbay Airshow to return in 2020 under a new name

TORQUAY | The Torbay Airshow will get a new lease of life after its continuation was threatened last winter.

Councillors have agreed to pay £25,000 towards an airshow in 2020, scheduled for the 6th-7th June. This is far short of the £90,000 grant given to show organisers in 2018 – but funding was abruptly cancelled in November last year due to spending cuts. After fears of cancellation, sponsorship deals and donations ensured the event could go ahead again in 2019.

Next year’s show is expected to be re-branded the English Riviera Airshow to reflect the event’s major sponsor, the English Riviera Business Improvement District, who promote tourism in the area. They paid £10,000 towards the cost of the 2019 event, and Devon Live report that they are negotiating a further deal for the 2020 show.

The Torbay Airshow began in 2016 and is estimated to be worth £7 million to the local economy. It costs a total of £200,000 to stage each year.

Wildcat Aerobatics cancel remainder of 2019 season

Wildcat Aerobatics have cancelled the remainder of their display season due to aircraft unservicablility, it was announced on Monday.

Photo: James Connolly

The Norfolk-based team of Al Coutts and Willie Cruickshank fly two Pitts Specials, and are a common sight at several UK airshows. They said: “It is with an overwhelming sense of sadness and disappointment that, due to a significant aircraft unserviceability issue, one of our Pitts Special aircraft is out of action for the foreseeable future.

“Regrettably, despite our best efforts, we have been unable to source a stand-in aircraft which means that we are going to be unable to display for the remainder of the 2019 season. Wildcat [Aerobatics] will, however, be displaying at Aylsham Show in August as a singleton.”

Six shows have been cancelled so far: the Sunderland International Airshow, Old Buckenham Airshow, East Kirkby Airshow, Whitby Regatta, Cromer Carnival and AirWaves Portrush.

Australia’s Hall and Britain’s Murphy triumph at Lake Balaton

ZAMARDI | Matt Hall took an emphatic victory at the third round of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship 2019 over Lake Balaton in Hungary.

Hall started his day in style by knocking out his main rival, Yoshi Muroya, in the Round of 14. Yoshi misjudged the wind conditions, opting for a conservative racing line, and finishing in 12th place – enough to knock him off the top spot in the championship standings.

Ben Murphy and Pete McLeod had a frustrating start to the competition, flying some of the fastest net times of all the pilots, but picking up penalties in the vertical turn manoeuvres. Both pilots made it to the Final Four by flying more conservative lines earlier in the day, but each picked up a one second penalty in the final. Murphy had the fastest net time of the round, beating McLeod into second place by 0.009 seconds.

Martin Sonka, who was treating the Lake Balaton round as his home race, was odds-on favourite for the win. He won Qualifying and posted the fastest time in the Round of 14, but struck a pylon at an easy gate in the Final 4. The three second penalty pushed him down into fourth place, but pushed him into the lead in the title standings.

The championship has been thrown wide open ahead of the final race of the season in Chiba, Japan, this September.


Race finish Pilot Country Race points Final time Penalties Quali finish
1 Matt HALL AUS 25 0:58.839 6
2 Ben MURPHY GBR 22 0:58.957 +1 4
3 Pete MCLEOD CAN 20 0:58.966 +1 10
4 Martin SONKA CZE 18 1:02.391 +3 1
5 Juan VELARDE ESP 14 1:00.001 +1 2
6 Kirby CHAMBLISS USA 13 1:00.063 12
7 Michael GOULIAN USA 12 1:00.108 7
8 Cristian BOLTON CHI 11 1:00.525 13
9 Petr KOPFSTEIN CZE 5 1:00.307 8
10 MIka BRAGEOT FRA 4 1:00.446 +1 3
11 Nicolas IVANOFF FRA 3 1:00.607 +1 5
12 Yoshi MUROYA JPN 2 1:01.106 9
13 Matthias DOLDERER GER 1 1:02.555 +3 14
14 Francois LE VOT FRA 0 1:03.804 +4 11


Position Pilot Team Country Total points Change
1 Martin SONKA Red Bull Team Sonka CZE 65
2 Matt HALL Matt Hall Racing AUS 61
3 Yoshi MUROYA Team Falken JPN 55
4 Ben MURPHY The Blades Racing Team GBR 37
5 Michael GOULIAN Team Goulian USA 37
6 Nicolas IVANOFF Team Hamilton FRA 33
7 Juan VELARDE Team Velarde ESP 32
8 Mika BRAGEOT #11RACING Team Eyetime FRA 31
9 Pete MCLEOD Cashback World Racing CAN 30
10 Kirby CHAMBLISS Team Chambliss USA 26
11 Cristian BOLTON Cristian Bolton Racing CHI 24
12 Francois LE VOT FLV Racing Team 12 CAN 21
13 Petr KOPFSTEIN Team Spielberg CZE 10 =
14 Matthias DOLDERER Matthias Dolderer Racing GER 4 =


Malta Aviation Society in “advanced talks” to bring back airshow

LUQA | The Malta Aviation Society have announced that the popular Malta International Airshow may return in 2020 if talks with Malta’s Ministry of Tourism go well.

In a short statement, the show organisers said they were in “advanced talks” with the government department, with the aim of holding a show next year.

The island nation’s annual airshow began in 1993, but faced problems in 2016 when the flying display was forcibly moved from Luqa Airport to Smart City. The show was held again in 2017, but had to be cancelled the year after because organisers could get no reply from the Ministry of Tourism, whose support is vital. There were no plans to stage an airshow this year.

The Malta International Airshow is well known for attracting rare displays, with the last two editions featuring such rare acts as the Saudi Hawks, Turkish Stars, Ukrainian Su-27 Flanker and a pair of Polish Su-22 Fitters. The Red Arrows and Frecce Tricolori jetted in for the 2015 event, while in 2011, the airshow enjoyed a rare coup when a pair of defecting Mirage F.1ED fighters from the Libyan Air Force appeared on static display.