Category Archives: Airshow News Europe

The Victory Show to be held for the final time in 2020

COSBY | One of Britain’s largest Second World War-themed events is to be staged for the final time next year, the organisers announced today.

The 2020 show, which is expected to bring together vintage aircraft, vehicles and combat re-enactors, will mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

However, the event organisers said on social media today: “The Victory Show dates for 2020 will be 11th, 12th & 13th September. This will be our FINAL SHOW!! After fifteen amazing years of running the best event of its type in the UK we will be closing our gates for the last time.

“We would like to thank all who have contributed to the show in every capacity, especially our lovely friends of WWII.”

In the past, The Victory Show was regarded as one of Britain’s premier warbird airshows. However, it ran into problems in 2016, when restrictions on the display box imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority made flying all but impossible, and forced the cancellation of the aerial displays.

The show returned in 2018 with a modified curved display line, which proved popular with photographers, but precluded traditional aerobatic performances.

Russian Knights to get four Su-35SM Flanker-Es this month

MOSCOW | The Russian Knights will recieve four Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E jets this month, according to Russian media reports.

The jets will be handed over at a ceremony at Kubinka Air Base, home of the Russian Knights and the Swifts, on Thursday 7th November. However, the team will continue to perform with the Su-30SM for the time being, with the Defence Ministry stressing that the new single-seat Su-35s will supplement the two-seat Su-30s, rather than replace them.

The Russian Knights flew the Su-27 since they were founded in 1991 until 2016, making their debut with the Su-30 at the Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition 2017. In March 2019, it was reported that the team may upgrade to the Su-35, but it was not known how soon this may occur.

Russia’s second major jet aerobatic team, the Swifts, are also awaiting new planes. Their MiG-29A and MiG-29UB Fulcrums are to be replaced with MiG-35, but the timescale of the switch is not yet known. A third aerobatic team, the Falcons of Russia, already fly four Su-35 Flanker Es.

“Very likely” Red Arrows pilot was fatigued during fatal crash

An inquiry into the fatal crash of a Red Arrows jet during a simulated emergency landing has found that the pilot was probably “fatigued and distracted” at the time of the accident.

The Hawk T.1A crashed at RAF Valley on Anglesey while simulating an engine failure on the 20th March 2018. Its pilot, 39-year-old Flt. Lt. David Stark, ejected half a second before the crash following the “dramatic realisation that the aircraft would impact the ground,” the inquiry said. However, there was not time for him to warn his passenger, RAF engineer Cpl. Jonathan Bayliss, 41, who died in the accident.

Flt. Lt. Stark was a first year Red Arrows pilot training for the Red 3 role, with Cpl. Bayliss being a member of the ‘Circus’, an elite team of ground crew who travel with the team, usually flying in the display jets. However, the inquiry found that there was “limited justification” for carrying Circus members during the exercise, and recommended that they are only carried on board the aircraft on sorties “directly associated with their primary role.”

The inquiry identified several human factors as a “contributory factors”, including his work routine and possible fatigue. While heavily redacted in parts, the inquiry revealed that Red 3 had five additional duties ranging from Duty Pilot to Officer In Charge of Rations, which the inquiry described as “not difficult but time consuming”. As a result, Flt. Lt. Stark said he did not have enough time to apply as much thought as he would have liked to consider what he had done during sorties, or what he would do next.

The document summarised: “The pilot’s working routine was detrimentally affecting his morale, not allowing him sufficient time for rest, consolidation and affecting his fatigue levels.”

Other contributory factors included the lack of an artificial stall warning on the aircraft and the low altitude at which the exercise had been undertaken, which the pilot unknowingly performed below the officially recommended height.

The Board also said a radio call from Air Traffic Control moments before the accident, asking Flt. Lt. Stark to confirm his landing gear had been extended, may have distracted and disorientated the pilot in the seconds before the crash.

The family of Cpl. Bayliss, who was killed in the accident, said through their solicitor: “Whilst the inquest into Corporal Bayliss’ death is awaited, we welcome the findings of this report, which attaches no blame whatsoever to Jonathan for this tragic accident.

“Today’s report provides a number of recommendations based on learnings from this accident. The family understand that the MOD and RAF have already begun to implement some of these recommendations and hope that they continue to do so in order to avoid further similar tragedies in the future.”

Flt. Lt. Stark suffered major injuries in the accident and was replaced by former Red Arrows pilot Sqn. Ldr. Mike Ling for the 2018 display season.

XtremeAir XA-41 and XA-42 banned from flying aerobatics

HECKLINGTON | Aircraft from the XtremeAir XA-41/Sbach 300 and XA-42/Sbach 342 family have been banned from aerobatic manoeuvres by the aircraft’s manufacturer.

Photo: James Connolly

XtremeAir GmbH placed restrictions on the highly advanced aerobatic aircraft family in a Service Bulletin on Monday 23rd September, which said both the left and right hand diagonal struts of the engine mount had been found to have separated during a routine inspection of an XA-42. The bulletin bans all aerobatic manoeuvres with immediate effect and requires a placard reading “AEROBATIC MANOEUVRES PROHIBITED” to be placed in the cockpit, in view of the pilot.

The manufacturer also says a ten-minute visual inspection of the engine mount must be completed before each flight. This inspection was previously required only once every ten aerobatic flights.

EASA published an Emergency Airworthy Directive the following day, which said cracks had been found on the engine mount, which “could lead to in-flight detachment of the engine, possibly resulting in loss of control of the aeroplane”.

Photo: Jim Lucas

The XA-41 and XA-42 are popular with airshow and competition aerobatic pilots, and are also used by aerobatic teams including Team Xtreme from South Africa, the Flying Bulls of the Czech Republic and the UK’s Matadors Aerobatic Team.

The aircraft had already been under the spotlight after cracks were detected in the engine mount during a separate inspection last year.

Breitling Jet Team thank fans after final public display

DIJON | The Breitling Jet Team have announced that they have flown their last ever public display after Breitling decided to withdraw their sponsorship at the end of the 2019 season.

In a message on Facebook, team leader Jacques Bothelin, said: “Yesterday we performed the last public display of the Breitling Jet Team, concluding our 17th season under Breitling’s colours. We have written together a major saga of the world of airshow, which I am sure will remain a reference for many years…

“If I cannot hide a hint of frustration with this shutdown of our activities, I am proud to have brought our team to all these countries, to have performed thousands of displays there, to have flown thousands of passengers, in safety!

“Thank you to all those who accompanied, supported, financed, and performed as actors in this incredible dream… but whose reality has carried us further than my most audacious craziness… we can be proud together! With my sincere gratitude.”

Photo: Alex Ohde

The Dijon-based Breitling Jet Team were formed in 2003, and at their peak, flew seven L-39 Albatross jets – although they have been flying mostly as a six-ship for the last few seasons. They are the latest in a series of major aerobatic teams lead by Mr Bothelin, who is the president of the jet team’s parent company, Apache Aviation. Under his leadership, the Breitling Jet Team flew across Europe, as well as in the USA, Canada, Japan, Thailand and 35 other nations.

In July this year, Breitling decided not to continue sponsoring the team beyond the end of the 2019 season. They had previously pulled their support for several other aviation initiatives, including the Breitling Wingwalkers and Super Constellation. Efforts had been made to find a new title sponsor, but seem not to have come to fruition.

The final display came in Cervolix, France, on Saturday 21st September.

Malta Airshow back on again after government backs event

LUQA | The Malta International Airshow will go ahead in 2020, despite officially cancelling the show in September.

The Malta Aviation Society, who organise the show, said on the 17th October 2019 that the airshow will return on the 26th-27th September next year, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism.

Minister for Tourism, Konrad Mizzi, said: “The Malta International Airshow will be another key addition to the Visit Malta calendar of events and will attract a number of visitors and enhance niche tourism. We will keep working closely with all stakeholders involved to make sure that this event is successful.”

The announcement comes less than a month since the airshow was cancelled because Malta Airport declined, at the time, to provide sufficient parking space for participating aircraft. Then, the Malta Aviation Society said they had “ceased all preparations for the event.” A lack of government support has also been cited as a key reason for the show’s failure in recent years.

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 latest announcement does not make it clear whether the airshow will again be held over the sea, or if it will return to the airport.

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.

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.