Category Archives: Airshow News Military

Blue Angels retire long-serving C-130T “Fat Albert”

PENSACOLA | The US Navy Blue Angels officially retired their C-130 support plane, affectionately known as “Fat Albert”, on Wednesday 22nd May.

Photo: David Leadingham

The aircraft, which joined the team in 2002, has had a decreased presence on the airshow circuit for the past few years after long-running maintenance and fleet groundings.

The Blue Angels described the retirement as “a bittersweet day”, saying that Fat Albert had served the Blue Angels “honorably” and accumulated over 30,000 flight hours with the team. They said: “While this may come as a shock to many of our fans, we have known this day was coming. Fat Albert will enjoy her retirement as a ground-based training aid in Fort Worth, Texas.”

The C-130T, which was formerly a much-loved part of the Blue Angels’ show, made its flying display debut at the Blue Angels Homecoming Airshow at Pensacola in 2002. In 2009 it became the last Hercules to use JATO rockets on take-off.

The aircraft was grounded in August 2016 for maintenance, when it was discovered that a complete overhaul was required. A year later, the entire C-130T fleet was grounded after a fatal accident. She re-joined the team in July 2018, but has rarely flown for the public since then.

The Blue Angels will use fleet-provided aircraft for transport and logistics until a permanent replacement can be identified. It has been speculated that the US Navy may acquire a C-130J Hercules C.5 from the Royal Air Force for this purpose.

“Incorrect formation” caused fatal Surya Kiran crash at Aero India

Pilot error has been identified as the probable cause of a fatal crash at Aero India in February, according to the Hindustan Times.

One pilot was killed and two were injured when a pair of Hawk Mk.132 jet trainers of the Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team made contact during a display rehearsal on the 19th February.

The aircraft were performing a mirror pass – a manoeuvre which sees one jet fly inverted above a second jet flying erect. To minimise the risk of a collision, there should be both lateral and vertical separation between the two aircraft. However, an anonymous official quoted by the Times said that the two aircraft were flying in an “incorrect formation”, with one jet directly below the other.

Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi, who was flying the inverted jet, was killed when his aircraft descended into the second jet and broke apart. The two pilots in the second jet were able to eject safely.

The official investigation is still going, with the Indian Air Force warning that there could be “serious implications for the erring pilot”.

Surya Kiran flew a 7-ship display as a tribute to their fallen colleague at Aero India, but have not displayed since.

Major update to USAF Demo Team schedules sees RIAT, Oshkosh gain displays

Three of the USAF’s acclaimed solo demonstration teams have announced sweeping updates to their display schedules.

The announcements began in the past few days with the F-35A Demo Team adding EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh to their schedule. More recently, the A-10 Demo Team did likewise, cancelling its performance at Grand Junction to attend AirVenture and the Miwaukee Air & Water Show.

It looked briefly as though all four demo teams would be attending AirVenture (albeit limited to “mini-demonstrations” due to the small size of the aerobatic box at Oshkosh) until the F-16C Viper Demo Team announced their own schedule update, dropping AirVenture from the list. Milwaukee was also removed.

Several shows were added, however, including Grand Junction (replacing the A-10), the Chicago Air & Water Show and Wings Over North Georgia in Rome. The team will also perform a Heritage Flight at the Indy 500 on the 26th May.

Most notably, though, the Viper Demo Team have added the Royal International Air Tattoo in the UK. They are the first display act from outside Europe and the Middle East on the flying display lineup this year.


RAF F-35B to fly at Royal Navy International Air Day

YEOVILTON | The RAF’s latest multirole fighter’s first airshow appearance of 2019 has been confirmed, with the jet set to fly at the Royal Navy International Air Day at Yeovilton.

The jet will be making two flypasts – one slow and one fast – likely in a similar style to the jet’s appearance at the Royal International Air Tattoo last year. The display is particularly symbolic as the jets are to be operated jointly by the RAF and the Royal Navy.

The aircraft will be in the flying display only, but a full-size model will be parked up in the static display.

The first British F-35s arrived in the UK last summer and have flown at just one airshow since, but today’s announcement is a good sign that more airshows could get a brief appearance from the Lightning in the coming year.

The Royal Navy International Air Day will be held at RNAS Yeovilton on Saturday 13th July.

Blue Impulse cancels all shows until July due to aircraft fault

MATSUSHIMA | The aerobatic team of the Japanese Air Self-Defence Force have cancelled several shows due to a fault with the Kawasaki T-4 aircraft they fly.

The JASDF announced that four shows have been cancelled due to unspecified problems with the T-4’s engine. This includes performances at Kanoya Air Base on the 28th April, the Iwakuni Friendship Day on the 5th May, the Kurofune Festival in Shimoda on the 18th May and the Miho Air Festival on the 2nd June.

The team will resume their schedule in Matsushima on the 21st July, followed by a further nine scheduled events across Japan.

Blue Impulse are Japan’s sole formation aerobatic team, flying six blue and white Kawasaki T-4s. Their display is best known for its bomb burst and star figure. The team have only once performed outside of Japan, when they visited Nellis AFB in the United States in 1997.

Rob Reider: “Miramar just got the Red Arrows”

MIRAMAR | One of the largest airshows in the USA will feature the RAF Red Arrows this year, according to veteran airshow announcer Rob Reider.

The announcement was made in the fifth episode the Ric, Rob, Matt Air Show Podcast, featuring Ric Peterson, Rob Reider and Matt Jolley.

Towards the end of the episode, Matt says he “just got the word” of a major announcement, adding “I don’t know if it’s public yet.” Rob replies: “You know what, I’m going to say it anyway because Chris Van Stelle got in touch with me. Miramar just got the Red Arrows, so Matt and I will be able to enjoy those guys.”

Chris Van Stelle is the director of the Miramar Airshow, a large-scale military airshow near San Diego scheduled for the 27th-29th September. In addition to the Reds, the show has also confirmed the Blue Angels, USAF F-16 Demo Team and displays from the United States Marine Corps, including the AV-8 Harrier and MAGTF Demo.

The Red Arrows will be engaging in a nine-week tour of North America in August and September this year, with the bulk of the team’s schedule already confirmed. However, there were two open weekends in the schedule, including during the Miramar Airshow.

The Red Arrows are the national aerobatic team of the United Kingdom and fly an attractive 25-minute display with nine Hawk T.1 jet trainers.

Polish Air Force aerobatic teams release 2019 schedules

The two aerobatic teams of the Polish Air Force have released their display dates for 2019. The announcement comes as uncertainty continues as to the status of some of Poland’s much-acclaimed solo displays.

Photo: James Connolly

Team Orlik, who fly a varying number of PZL-130 Orlik turboprop trainers, will be the only team to leave Poland this year. They will also perform heritage displays at two shows with a mixed formation of Orliks and T-6 Harvards. Flypasts and static appearances are not included in this schedule

Date Show Notes
Apr 30 Radom, Poland Team
May 18-19 AEROS Airshow, Maribor, Slovenia Solos
Jun 15-16 Turku Airshow, Turku, Finland Team
Jun 22-23 Krakow, Poland Heritage
Jun 30 Festival Aéreo de Motril, Granada, Spain Team
Jul 13 Estonian Air Force 100th anniversary, Arari, Estonia Team
Jul 20-21 Wings Over Baltics, Jurmala, Latvia Team
Aug 16-18 AeroBaltic, Gdynia, Poland Heritage
Aug 24-25 Meeting International de la Somme, Albert – Picardie, France Team
Aug 31 Miroslawiec, Poland Solos
Aug 6-7 AirPower, Zeltweg, Austria Team
Sep 14 Leszno, Poland Team
Sep 14 Sandomierz, Poland Team
Aug 22-21 Athens Flying Week, Tanagra, Greece Team

Team Iskry, the country’s sole jet aerobatic team, fly six TS-11 Iskra jets. They will not be leaving Poland this year. We have not included flypasts in this schedule

Date Show
Apr 30 Radom, Poland
May 17 Powidz, Poland
May 18 Piknik Smoglowcowy, Inowroclaw, Poland
Jun 2 Podkarpackie Pokazy Lotnicze, Turbia, Poland
Jun 8 Swidnik Air Festival, Swidnik, Poland
Jun 14 Deblin, Poland
Jun 29 Swindwin, Poland
Jul 1 Lublin, Poland
Jul 5 Deblin, Poland
Jul 11 Gdynia, Poland
Aug 7 Deblin, Poland
Aug 31 Centenary of Polskiego Aeroclub, Rzeszow Jasionka, Poland
Sep 7 Poznan, Poland
Sep 20 Deblin, Poland
Oct 6 Deblin, Poland

Ukrainian Flanker is Air Tattoo Easter Egg

FAIRFORD | The Ukrainian Air Force will contribute a trio of aircraft to the Air Tattoo for the third year running.

Taking to the air once again will be a Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker, which flew to much acclaim at the previous two shows, including an award-winning performance in 2017. The display comes from the 831st Tactical Aviation Brigade.

It will be joined by a second Flanker on static display and an Il-76 Candid support aircraft.

RAF Typhoon solo display schedule released

The RAF will stage Typhoon FGR.4 solo displays at a number of venues this year, including at two international events.

Date Show
May 25-26 Duxford Air Festival, IWM Duxford, ENG, UK
Jun 1-2 Torbay Airshow, Torquay, ENG, UK
Jun 9 RAF Cosford Airshow, Cosford, ENG, UK
Jun 14-15 Turku Airshow, Turki, Finland
Jun 29 Scarborough Armed Forces Day, Scarborough, ENG, UK
Jun 30 North East Lincolnshire Armed Forces Day, Cleethorpes, ENG, UK
Jul 6 Teignmouth Airshow, Teignmouth, ENG, UK
Jul 6-7 Wales National Airshow, Swansea, WAL, UK
Jul 13 Royal Navy International Air Day, RNAS Yeovilton, ENG, UK
Jul 19-21 Royal International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford, ENG, UK
Jul 26-28 Sunderland International Airshow, Tyne & Wear, ENG, UK
Jul 27 Scotland’s National Airshow, East Fortune, SCT, UK
Aug 10-11 Blackpool Airshow, Blackpool, ENG, UK
Aug 10-11 Whitby Regatta, Whitby, ENG, UK
Aug 16 Cowes Week, Isle of Wight, ENG, UK
Aug 16-18 Airbourne: Eastbourne International Airshow, Eastbourne, ENG, UK
Aug 17-18 Biggin Hill Festival of Flight, London, ENG, UK
Aug 23 Clacton Airshow, Clacton-on-Sea, ENG, UK
Aug 24-25 Rhyl Airshow, Rhyl, WAL, UK
Aug 30-Sep 1 Bournemouth Air Festival, Bournemouth, ENG, UK
Sep 6-8 Southport Airshow, Southport, ENG, UK
Sep 21-22 NATO Days & Czech Air Force Days, Ostrava, Czech Republic

Finnish Air Force release 2019 air display calendar

The Finnish Air Force has released its 2019 display schedule, including twto international displays each for the Midnight Hawks team, F/A-18C Hornet and BAE Hawk solo displays. Other aircraft, including the L-70 Vinka, CASA C-295 and Pilatus PC-12, will also fly at domestic events.

Date Show Aircraft
May 9 Utin Journey Regiment Open Day, Utti, Finland Midnight Hawks, F18
May 14 Military Aviation Professional Event, Pirkkala, Finland Midnight Hawks, F18, Hawk, T70
May 28 Military Aviation Professional Event, Tikkakoski, Finland Midnight Hawks, F18, Hawk, PC12
Jun 4 Puolustusvoimain lippujuhlapäivän paraati Rovaniemellä, Finland F-18, flypasts
Jun 7 Sun Pampas City Festival, Ylivieska, Finland Midnight Hawks
Jun 8 Latvian Air Force 100th Anniversary, Lielvarde, Latvia Hawk
Jun 12 Defense Force Summer Tour, Joensuu, Finland Midnight Hawks
Jun 13 Defense Force Summer Tour, Kupio, Finland Midnight Hawks, F18
Jun 15 Jukola Relay, Kangasala, Finland F18, C295, PC12
Jun 15-16 Turku Airshow, Turku, Finland Midnight Hawks, F18, Hawk, T17
Jun 15 Puolustusvoimien kesäkiertue Suomenlinnassa, Helsinki, Finland Midnight Hawks
Jul 8 Helsinki-CUP Opening Ceremony, Helsinki, Finland Midnight Hawks
Jul 19-21 Royal International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford, UK F18
Jul 27 Falcon Wings Airshow, Liettua Falcon Wings Airshow, Lithuania Hawk
Aug 1 Neste Rally, Jyväskylä Harbour, Finland Midnight Hawks
Aug 16-18 Roskilde Airshow, Copenhagen Airport, Denmark Midnight Hawks
Aug 22 Military Aviation Professional Event, Rovaniemi, Finland Midnight Hawks, F18, Hawk, T70, PC12
Aug 25 Försvarsmaktens flygdag, Ronneby, Sweden F18
Sep 4 Intti tutuksi -tapahtuma, Kouvola, Finland F-18
Sep 21-22 NATO Days & Czech Air Force Days, Ostrava, Czech Republic Midnight Hawks