COSFORD | This year’s RAF Cosford Airshow has been cancelled due to coronavirus uncertainty, but event organisers are planning a “grand return” in 2022.
Organisers blamed the decision on the rapid spread of the Delta varient, as well as the UK government’s decision to delay the scrapping of remaining coronavirus restrictions until at least the 19th July, which they said amounted to “too much uncertainty.”
Originally scheduled for June, the Cosford Airshow was extended to a two day event and postponed until the 11th-12th September, in the hope it would increase the show’s chances of going ahead. The Red Arrows, RAF Typhoon solo display and RAF Falcons had announced their intention to participate.
“Taking this decision now ensures that the future of RAF Cosford Air Shows is secure and we can now focus on our grand return to the skies in 2022,” they said. “We are devastated to be in this position once again but, as with many events, the health and safety of the public, as well as our serving personnel, and the financial security of future shows must be our priorities.”
Next year’s show will tell the story of aviation and royalty, and commemorate aviation and engineering achievements during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, who celebrates her Platinum Jubilee next June. Dates are yet to be announced.
Ticket holders can opt to roll their tickets over until next year or request a refund.
The Saudi Hawks are seeingly planning a European tour in late August – their first since 2019.
The Kecskemet Airshow in Hungary has announced the team for its 2021 show, due to be held on the 28th-29th August. It will be the team’s first visit to Hungary.
Although not officially announced, the website of Gdynia AeroBaltic in Poland also features images of the Saudi Hawks – the only team featured on their site which doesn’t yet appear in the official programme. The Hawks have also been included in promotional images on Facebook, alongside other acts that have been officially confirmed.
AeroBaltic’s organisers already have a relationship with the team, and hosted them at their most recent show in 2019. This year’s event is scheduled for the 21st-22nd August, just one week before Kecskemet.
If Gdynia was to host the Saudi Hawks, it would be the first time that three aerobatic teams flying the Hawk have performed at a single airshow; the Red Arrows and Midnight Hawks have already been announced.
The week after Kecskemet is Athens Flying Week – another show which the Saudi Hawks have visited in the past. However, there is no public indication yet that they are planning a return visit to Greece this year.
The team first visited Europe in 2011, and have returned several times since, displaying in countries such as Greece, Poland, the UK, Belgium and Austria. They currently fly seven BAE Hawk Mk.65s.
Aerobatic Team Orlik, one of the Polish Air Force’s two major aerobatic teams, have released their 2021 airshow schedule, including overseas dates in Hungary, Slovakia and Italy.
After the cancellation of their planned appearance at Airshow Margonin due to poor weather, the team made their 2021 debut at Antidotum Airshow Leszno in late June. Despite earlier indicating they would fly as a five-ship team this year, the team staged a limited three-ship show, recorded here by This is Flight. Now, they say that, with new pilots being trained up, the remainder of this year’s season will see a minimum of six aircraft taking part in the display.
Team Orlik, which draws on Poland’s small fleet of fully operational PZL-130 Orlik aircraft and flight instructors, has seen big fluctuations in size, ranging from nine aircraft in the late 2000s to as few as one plane in 2018. A six-ship display would be the team’s largest in four years.
Poland’s other aerobatic team, Bialo-Czerwone Iskry, will be taking part in its final full display season this summer, ahead of the retirement of their TS-11 Iskra jets in 2022. Like Team Orlik, their numbers have risen as high as nine in the past, but are expected to be a maximum of five in 2021.
|| Antidotum Airshow
|| Święto 42 Baza Lotnictwa Szkolnego
||Ketrzyn – Gizycko
|| Gdynia AeroBaltic Airshow
|| Kecskemét International Airshow
|| Festyn Lotniczy Mirosławiec
|| Slovak International Air Fest
|| 75 Lecie Aeroklub Mielecky
|| Frecce Tricolori 60th Anniversary
PRAGUE | The Flying Bulls’ T-28B Trojan has crashed fatally during a ferry flight near the Czech village of Zvíkovské Podhradí.
The accident took place at around 5pm local time on Sunday 20th June as the aircraft returned to its base in Salzburg, Austria, after participating in Antidotum Airshow Leszno in Poland. The organisation’s B-25 Mitchell, P-38 Lightning, P-51 Mustang and Bolkow Bo.105 also participated.
According to a statement from the Flying Bulls, two people were on board at the time of the accident. The pilot, 54-year-old Rainer Steinberger, was killed in the accident, while a passenger was seriously injured and was taken to hospital in Prague.
“Rainer was a greatly respected and experienced pilot as well as a dear friend to all of us,” the collection said on Facebook. “Rainer’s friends in the Flying Bulls are shocked beyond words by this tragedy and hold in their thoughts the family of Rainer and his other very many friends.”
Antidotum Airshow Leszno said there were no words to express their sorrow.
COGNAC | The French Air & Space Force have announced yet another new unit joining their fast-growing selection of aerobatic display teams.
Photo: Armee de l’Air et de l’Espace (via Facebook)
Coming from BA709 Cognac – Chateaubernard, the new team, known as Mustang X-Ray, will fly two Pilatus PC-21s. It is the first time the PC-21 will be part of a formal French Air Force display team, having entered service in 2019. The base’s Facebook page says the display will highlight “several aerial figures illustrating the work done in training aircrew.”
The team will comprise two display pilots, Captain Nicolas ′′Ebay′′ and Captain Laurent ′′Dave”, as well as team coach and former Alpha Jet display pilot Captain Laurent “Jim”. All three are full-time flight instructors at Cognac.
Their first public display will be at the Sports et Collection airshow and racing event in Poitiers on the 12th-13th June.
New French Air Force demonstration teams announced since 2020 include:
- Mustang X-Ray (x2 PC-21)
- Gusto Tactical Display (x2 Mirage 2000C)
- Rafale Solo Display: Requin Mike (x2 Rafale B)
- Rafale Solo Display: Bravo Vautour (x2 Rafale C)
They are added to the existing Rafale Solo Display, Equipe de Voltige, A400M Tactical Display and the Patrouille de France.
RIVOLTO | The Italian Air Force have given five of the Frecce Tricolori’s MB-339A/PAN jets a makeover to mark the team’s 60th anniversary, with six more to follow.
Photo: Aeronautica Militaire
The team debuted some of the new schemes during their first public display of 2021 – a special show at their home base, Rivolto, for members of their fan club, marking the end of the annual training season. The rest of the special paint schemes are yet to be applied.
Five special tail designs (each of which will be applied to two of the display jets) commemorate the Frecce Tricolori’s predecessors, while the spare aircraft will be given in a modern tail design, featuring the team’s 60th anniversary badge.
The six special schemes were created by Mirco Pecorari of AircraftSutdioDesign. Pecorari’s previous clients have included Michael Goulian, Pemberton Aerosports, Scandinavian Airshow, the Mayzus Jet Team, Matthias Dolderer Racing, Greg Connell Airshows, Rolls Royce, Gary Ward, Aude Lemordant and others.
The past Italian Air Force teams represented on the Frecce’s modern day display jets are:
- Cavallino Rampante (Prancing Horse): Active in 1956 and 1957, flying five red, white and blue Canadair Sabre Mk.4 jets. Two jets today will bear the team’s logo on its tail, although the design bears only a limited resemblance to the original paint scheme.
- Getti Tonanti (Thunder Jets): A six-ship team of F-84F Thunderstreaks active in 1959 and 1960. The wings of each jet were painted in the Italian national colours, while the nose, tail and spine of each aircraft wore the colours of one of the Olympic rings. The tail also featured an image of the rings themselves, as the team featured in the 1960 Olympic Games opening ceremony. This year, two aircraft feature Getti Tonanti’s orange tail design, the colour worn by the lead aircraft in 1960.
- Tigri Bianche (White Tigers): Active in 1955 and 1956, Tigri Bianche was a five-ship team of F-86G Thunderjets. They were the first Italian aerobatic team to visit the United States. The original aircraft had the Italian flag on their tail, but in 2021, the two aircraft’s tails will wear orange, yellow and blue – Tigri Bianche’s team colours.
- Diavoli Rossi (Red Devils): Active from 1957-1959, another six-ship team of Thunderstreaks. Like Tigri Bianche, they undertook a US tour (in this case, in 1959). This year, at least one Frecce Tricolori jet wears Diavoli Rossi’s original tail design.
- Lanceri Neri (Black Lancers): A six-ship team of Canadair Sabre Mk.4s active in 1958 and 1959. The aircraft were painted all-black, except for the underside of the wings, which featured the colours of the Italian flag. In 2021, the Frecce Tricolori jet pays tribute to the team with a black tail featuring the original team crest.
The current Frecce Tricolori team was founded on the 1st March 1961 and is the joint largest jet aerobatic team in the world today. They are shortly due to swap their ageing MB-339A/PANs for the M345 High Efficiency Trainer.
To find out more about the Frecce Tricolori, click here.
SYWELL | The first edition of Flying Legends to be held at Sywell Airfield has been cancelled due to coronavirus uncertainty.
The show’s forced eviction from its former home of IWM Duxford, combined with the coronavirus pandemic, had left the event’s future hanging in the balance, but tickets for this year’s event were finally put on sale only two weeks ago on the 12th May. Over 30 aircraft had already been confirmed.
Airshow director Nick Grey attributed the decision to comments made by the Prime Minister yesterday (Thursday 27th May) which cast doubt on plans to fully scrap lockdown rules on June 21st.
“It is with deep regret and a heavy heart that we must cancel this year’s event,” he said. “We understand the government’s careful position but cannot safely stay the course in the light of the potential loss and lack of clarity so close to show time.”
“On a personal note and in the name of the whole team at The Fighter Collection who have worked so hard this past year to prepare the aircraft and the show itself, please know that this decision has not come lightly. We are very sad but pray that next year will be COVID free for all and that Flying Legends 2022 will be a classic.”
The airshow had in place a money-back guarantee in the event of a coronavirus-related cancellation, and the show have promised to reimburse all customers who have already purchased tickets.
The French Air & Space Force today released a short video debuting the Rafale Solo Display’s 2021 paint scheme.
Photo: Armee de l’Air et de l’Espace (via Facebook)
The Rafale Solo Display typically introduce a new special-scheme aircraft each spring, with the design being removed at the end of the airshow season. This year’s design
The French Air Force releases its display schedules later than most, and dates for the Rafale Solo Display are yet to be published.