Category Archives: Airshow News Europe

World Championship Air Race partners with air sports governing body

LONDON | The governing body of air sports, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), has formally agreed to partner with the fledgling World Championship Air Race (WCAR), with racing to begin in 2022.

More than a year after rumours began circulating, WCAR and the FAI this month announced the official successor to the much-loved Red Bull Air Race (RBAR) series, which ended in 2019. Racing is due to resume in the first quarter of 2022.

WCAR series director Willie Cruickshank, who previously served as RBAR’s head of aviation and sport, said: “We are delighted to announce this exciting new agreement between the FAI and World Championship Air Race to bring city-centre air-racing back to the public.”

“World Championship Air Race now has the commitment from the best race pilots in the world, flying the best aircraft, under the exclusive jurisdiction of the world governing body, putting us in a very strong position as we build towards Season 1 which we plan to debut in early 2022.

The FAI have granted WCAR with exclusive staging rights for manned air-gated air racing for at least the next 15 years. They will also provide safety oversight and governence for the new series.

RBAR pilots including Cristian Bolton, Juan Velarde, Mika Brageot, Kevin Coleman and Matt Hall took to social media to celebrate the announcement. Yoshi Muroya’s race team said they were in talks with WCAR and will announce their official participation when possible, while Matthias Dolderer posted: “Time to retire from retirement!”

Ben Murphy said: “The fastest motorsport on the planet is back & we’re excited to see the return of a new series! Since our 4th place finish in the RBAR 2019, we’ve been desperate for a chance to get back in the track & climb higher. We hope that chance comes in 2022.

Many RBAR competitors and organisers are expected to take part in the new series, with Jimbo Reid, Paul Bonhomme, Jim Dimatteo and Nigel Lamb all confirmed as members of the advisory board.

Initially, WCAR will have two tiers of competition: Aero/GP1, consisting of 12 race pilots, will be similar to RBAR’s Masterclass series, and Aero/GT will serve as a feeder competition, with less experienced pilots competing in three teams. Competitors will fly raceplanes familiar to fans of RBAR, such as the Edge 540 and MXS-R, but organisers hope these will run on sustainable, low-emission fuel in future seasons.

By the fifth season, WCAR plan to add two further tiers: VTOL/J, for jet-powered Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft, and VTOL/E for electric VTOL aircraft.

They will also establish the WCAR Academy, helping to introduce new talent to the sport. The academy will be headquartered in the UK, with training facilities across the world.

Another major aim of WCAR is to expand the event to include side acts and live music performances. In advance of each race, an Aviation Tech Village will be established in each host city, to promote careers in the aviation industry.

Late last year, the sport got a boost from Greenpro, a capital investment company from Malaysia. Greenpro said the new series will be flying into cities around the world, with races planned in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Australia, India, China, South Africa, United Kingdom and France. WCAR say they are “in discussions with lots of potential locations,” and plan to announce the first locations for season one in “the coming months.”

UK government paves way for airshows to return as PM announces plans to end lockdown

LONDON | All restrictions on social contact could be scrapped in England as early as June, according to plans laid out by prime minister Boris Johnson in Parliament today.

Subject to four safety tests being met, non-essential retail, public buildings and leisure facilities will be allowed to reopen on the 12th April, which could pave the way for the reopening of museums and socially-distant drive-in airshows, at which the “rule of six” can be enforced. Outdoor sports and performances will then be allowed to resume on the 17th May. Private outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30 people, but up to 10,000 will be able to gather at the largest seated sports venues and 4,000 at all other outdoor events. Social distancing will continue to be enforced.

If all goes to plan, the government hopes to end all legal restrictions on social contact on the 21st June, although social distancing and mask-wearing may continue to be enforced.

Enabling a free flow of airshow spectators and participants across borders, the government are also planning to allow international leisure travel from the 17th May at the earliest. With new varients of coronavirus continuing to emerge around the world, the details of any new travel restrictions are not yet clear, but official documents state that this decision will be made based on the path of the pandemic and vaccination programmes at home and abroad. Last summer, the UK introduced a list of low-risk countries with no quarantine restrictions.

The prime minister’s announcement marks a shift in policy compared to last year, when lockdowns were eased or implemented based on infection rates and the R number. With vaccinations taking place at great pace, the number of infected individuals experiencing severe symptoms is expected to fall, meaning that this time around, decisions will be based on the likelihood of overwhelming health services and the UK’s vaccination programme.

The plan is dependent on infection rates remaining low enough to avoid a surge in hospital admissions, as well as the continued fast pace and effectiveness of the vaccination programme. New varients of coronavirus will also be taken into account. The government says that all its tests are currently being met, allowing the first stage of lockdown easing to begin on the 8th March.

The government will also consider whether those who have been vaccinated could be allowed more social contact than those who have not, although the prime minister stopped short of supporting the plan.

Some restrictions are expected to remain, potentially including border restrictions and social distancing in some settings, as the government predicts that around a third of the population will either choose not to be vaccinated or are ineligible to recieve the jab.

So far, four major 2021 UK airshows have been cancelled due to the coronavirus: the Royal Navy International Air Day, Torbay Airshow, Royal International Air Tattoo and Eastbourne International Airshow. Two others, the Abingdon Air & Country Show and RAF Cosford Airshow, have been postponed from June to September. Other event organisers are continuing to advertise public flying displays as early as April.

The devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as Crown Dependencies such as Jersey, will continue to set their own coronavirus laws.

Airbourne, the Eastbourne International Airshow 2021, cancelled due to coronavirus

EASTBOURNE | Airbourne, one of Europe’s largest seafront airshows, will not take place in 2021 in the interest of public safety.

In a statement on the Visit Eastbourne website, organisers said: “The decision to postpone the 2021 event has not been taken lightly, however we know that it is the responsible one to make taking into account the continuing forms of social distancing to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors.”

Airbourne is the fourth major UK airshow of the year to be cancelled due to the coronavirus. They said they hope the show will return in 2022. The event, scheduled for the 12th-15th August, usually attracts over 250,000 visitors to Eastbourne. It is organised by Eastbourne Borough Council.

Recent editions of the show have included performers such as the Red Arrows, Breitling Jet Team, The Blades, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, RAF Typhoon, RAF Chinook, Belgian Air Force F-16, Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron and more.

Swiss Hornet Solo Display 2021 airshow schedule

The Swiss Air Force’s F-18C Hornet solo display has released its 2021 airshow schedule, with dates in the UK, Malta, Belgium and France, as well as the team’s native Switzerland.

SWISS HORNET SOLO DISPLAY 2021 SCHEDULE

Date Show Location Country
Jun 26-27 Belgium Belgian Air Force Days Florennes Belgium
Jul 24-25 United Kingdom Duxford Air Festival Duxford UK (ENG)
Aug 14-15 Switzerland Air Festival 2021 Lommis Switzerland
Aug 20-22 Switzerland Sonchaux Acro Show Villeneuve Switzerland
Aug 28-29 Switzerland Dittinger Flugtage (Dittinger Airshow) Dittinger Switzerland
Sep 10-12 Belgium Sanicole International Airshow Hechtel Belgium
Sep 18-19 France Open Doors Day BA116 Luxeuil Saint-Sauveur France
Sep 25-26 Malta Malta International Airshow Luqa Malta
Sep 30 Switzerland 100 Years of Payerne Air Base Payerne Switzerland
Oct 1 Switzerland Parents’ Day, Ecole d’Aviation 81-2/21 Payerne Switzerland
Oct 19-20 Switzerland AXALP Flight Demonstrations Axalp Switzerland

 

“Still too many unknowns” – Royal International Air Tattoo 2021 cancelled

FAIRFORD | The Royal International Air Tattoo – the world’s largest military airshow – has been cancelled because there are “still too many unknowns” about the path of the coronavirus pandemic.

Scheduled for the 16th-18th July, RIAT 2021 was one of the most anticipated aviation events of the year, and had been due to mark the show’s 50th anniversary. Up to 300 aircraft from dozens of air forces were due to take part in the event’s seven-hour daily flying display and two-mile-long static park, drawing a crowd of over 150,000.

A statement released by organisers said: “RAFCTE Directors concluded that the ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 meant there were too many risks associated with pressing ahead with the airshow.

“Air Tattoo CEO Paul Atherton said he and his team had been working hard during the past six months to explore ways in which the Air Tattoo could take place against the backdrop of the pandemic but, with five months to the event, there still remained too many unknowns.”

Mr Atherton said that if they knew what the situation would be in ths summer, the event might have been able to go ahead. “We have reached a point where, to plan further, would involve us committing large sums of money to secure the event infrastructure,” he said. “Without any insurance being available this year, this money would be lost if the airshow had to cancel nearer the time. It was simply too big a risk to take.”

“We have a duty to protect the future of RIAT,” he added.

It is speculated that the hospitality industry may begin a phased reopening in April, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson due to announce a “road map” out of lockdown next week. However, social distancing and travel restrictions are not expected to be fully relaxed for months. More than most airshows, RIAT depends on international visitors, and the venue is likely not suitable for a drive-in event format seen at military airshows in North America.

A number of display items had already indicated their intention to participate in this year’s show, including the USAF A-10C Demo Team, the Swiss Air Force’s PC-7 TEAM and the Patrouille Suisse.

Ticket holders will be contacted later this month and offered a refund, or the chance to roll their tickets over to RIAT 2022, which will be held on the 15th-17th July.

Last year’s Air Tattoo – which was also cancelled – was replaced with a live broadcast, the Virtual Air Tattoo, hosted by RIAT’s lead commentator, Ben Dunnell. As well as dozens of video features submitted by many of the world’s air forces and display teams, the event also included interviews, excerpts from previous shows and virtual air displays performed in DCS World.

PC-7 TEAM release 2021 schedule; three international airshows planned

The PC-7 TEAM of the Swiss Air Force have released a provisional schedule for 2021, including displays in the UK, Spain and Malta.

PC-7 TEAM 2021 SCHEDULE

Date Show Location Country
Jun 26 Switzerland Armeetag (Army Day) Emmen Switzerland
Jun 29 Switzerland Transfer of Command Operations Dübendorf Switzerland
Jul 3 Switzerland Eroffnung Bucker Museum Teufen Switzerland
Jul 9-11 Spain Festival Aéreo international Torre del Mar Malaga Spain
Jul 16-18 United Kingdom Royal International Air Tattoo Fairford UK (ENG)
Jul 15 Switzerland Swiss Open Gstaad Switzerland
Sep 4 Switzerland 25 Jahre Hunterverein (25 Years of the Hunter Club) Mollis Switzerland
Sep 5 Switzerland Fluugerchilbi Langenthal Switzerland
Sep 11 Switzerland Gewerbernesse Aadorf Aadorf Switzerland
Sep 11-12 Switzerland Erlebnistage Flugplatz Sitterdorf (Adventure Days Sitterdorf Airfield) Sitterdorf Switzerland
Sep 18-19 Switzerland Montreux Acrobaties Montreux Switzerland
Sep 25-26 Malta Malta International Airshow Luqa Malta
Oct 9-10 Switzerland Olma Messen St. Gallen Switzerland
Oct 16-17 Switzerland Air & Space Days Luzern Switzerland

 

Five international airshows on Patrouille Suisse 2021 airshow schedule

The Patrouille Suisse will perform at five international airshows this year, as well as events in Switzerland, according to a schedule released on Thursday 11th February. The Patrouille, which performs with six F-5E Tiger IIs, will perform in the UK, Belgium, France, Ireland and the Czech Republic.

PATROUILLE SUISSE 2021 SCHEDULE

Date Show Location Country
Jun 4 Switzerland Certification of Pilot Class 14/1 Payerne Switzerland
Jun 6 Switzerland Kantonalschwingfest St. Galler Switzerland
Jun 26 Switzerland Armeetag (Army Day) Emmen Switzerland
Jul 3-4 France Meeting de l’Air BA709 Cognac – Châteaubernard France
Jul 16-18 United Kingdom Royal International Air Tattoo Fairford UK (ENG)
Jul 24-25 Ireland Bray International Air Display Bray Ireland
Aug 14 Switzerland Air Festival 2021 Lommis Switzerland
Aug 14 Switzerland Seenachtfest Rapperswil Switzerland
Aug 28 Switzerland Dittinger Flugtage (Dittinger Airshow) Dittinger Switzerland
Sep 5 Switzerland Eidgenössisches Jubiläums-Schwingfest Appenzell Switzerland
Sep 4 Switzerland 25 Jahre Hunterverein (25 Years of the Hunter Club) Mollis Switzerland
Sep 11-12 Belgium Sanicole International Airshow Hechtel Belgium
Sep 18-19 Czech Republic NATO Days & Czech Air Force Days (TBC) Ostrava Czech Republic
Sep 30 Switzerland 100 Years of Payerne Air Base Payerne Switzerland
Oct 19-20 Switzerland AXALP Flight Demonstrations Axalp Switzerland

 

English Riviera Airshow 2021 cancelled by councillors fearing “superspreader” event

TORBAY | This June’s English Riviera Airshow in Torbay has been cancelled by local councillors, according to a report by Devon Live.

The local news website said that councillors made the decision to cancel the show at an informal meeting on Tuesday 9th February, despite previous hopes that the airshow – which attracts 165,000 visitors and is worth an estimated £7 million to the local economy each year – could be a key part of the town’s post-coronavirus recovery.

In a statement via the airshow website, councillors said it was a difficult decision to cancel the event, and that they planned to revive it in 2022. “We were always hopeful that we would be able to host an airshow in 2021, but with cases of COVID-19 still high and the uncertainty around when life will return to some sort of normality the right decision is to postpone the event for a further year,” said Cllr Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture. “The health and safety of residents and visitors is paramount, and it is imperative that we follow all government guidance.”

According to Devon Live, the emergence of new, more contagious strains of coronavirus emerging over the last few months have forced councillors to reconsider. According to Devon Live, some had come to fear that the airshow could be a “superspreader event”. Like most seaside airshows, it would have been virtually impossible to control spectator numbers or enforce social distancing.

Although much of the UK population is expected to be vaccinated against coronavirus by the summer, Devon Live said councillors were forced to make a definitive decision on this year’s airshow or face difficulties in securing aircraft and sponsorship later in the year.

Scheduled for the 5th-6th June, the English Riviera Airshow would have been the first major airshow of the UK’s 2021 season. Two other events scheduled for June have been postponed to September, while one UK airshow in July has already been cancelled.

“Smaller, socially-distant” Cosford Airshow planned for September

WOLVERHAMPTON | This year’s RAF Cosford Airshow has been postponed from June to September, and will be a socially-distant affair, organisers announced today.

Citing ongoing coronavirus restrictions in the UK and uncertainty over the future path of the pandemic, airshow organisers said they had taken the “difficult decision” to reschedule the event from its planned date on Sunday 13th June to the weekend of the 11th-12th September.

“We are working hard to develop options for a smaller, socially-distant event,” organisers said, telling fans to “watch this space for further details. Customers who have already purchased a ticket for the June airshow can either request a refund or use their ticket at a future event.

The Cosford Airshow is the last remaining airshow hosted by the Royal Air Force. The cancellation of other RAF shows has seen it grow significantly in recent years, and it is now one of the most anticipated international airshows in the UK. Following the cancellation of the Royal Navy International Air Day last week, Cosford is currently due to be the only military-run airshow in the country this year.

Recent editions of the show have attracted performers such as the Italian Air Force A-200 Tornado, Swiss PC-7 Team, Czech Air Force JAS-39C Gripen, Swiss Air Force F-18C Hornet, Polish Air Force MiG-29 and Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757, as well as all the RAF’s display teams.

Royal Navy International Air Day 2021 cancelled due to coronavirus

YEOVILTON | The Royal Navy’s only annual airshow will not go ahead in 2021, with organisers citing UK government policies on public gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement on their website, airshow organisers said: “With great regret, we must announce that the Royal Navy International Air Day (RNIAD) will not take place this year as scheduled at RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset, on Saturday 10 July.

“Due to the ongoing uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic and current government policy on large outdoor gatherings, the risks associated with hosting a large-scale international event in July is too significant for all parties involved,” they added.

The statement was also noticably non-committal about the airshow’s return in next year. A paragraph titled “Will there be an Air Day in 2022?” simply read: “We will announce updates through social media and direct emails in due course to keep you up to date with any news.”

The Royal Navy International Air Day is the first major UK airshow of 2021 to be cancelled. It is one of the UK’s largest military airshows and the Royal Navy’s only surviving airshow, attracting 35,000 spectators and dozens of aircraft from multiple air arms each year.