Category Archives: Airshow News Military

India’s Sarang helicopter team abandon Singapore Airshow plans

SINGAPORE | One of the Indian Air Force’s aerobatic teams has had to cancel its planned performance at the Singapore Airshow next month after the Ministry of Defence failed to approve the plans.

According to The Hindu, the Sarang aerobatic team were due to perform at the show, scheduled to be held on the 11th-16th February, at the invitation of the Singaporean authorities, but approvals within the Indian government were delayed at “various levels”, sources said.

According to the article, the final decision rested with India’s Ministry of Defence for over a month, with no action taken. Despite allowing extra time, Singaporean authorities have finally been forced to pull the plug on the team’s participation, saying there was no longer time to resolve airspace and safety concerns.

With just days to go, the Singapore Airshow have still not confirmed their flying display line up. However, the Republic of Korea Air Force’s Black Eagles and the United States Air Force’s F-22A Raptor Demonstration Team have self-confirmed their participation. India’s HAL Tejas fighter is also rumoured to be planning an appearance.

Based at Yelahanka Air Force Station, Sarang fly four HAL Dhruv helicopters in a display that lasts approximately 15 minutes. Formed in 2003, their first international display was at Asian Aerospace in Singapore the following year, although they have not returned to Singapore since. Their first and only European tour came in 2008, with the team flying at Farnborough and Biggin Hill.

Sarang were most recently due to fly abroad at the Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition 2017 in Malaysia, but this display was cancelled at short notice. A Ministry of Defence spokesperson at the time told This is Flight that there were no plans for the team to participate at the show, despite the team being featured prominently on the event’s website for several weeks.

Blue Impulse told to “be ready” to participate in Olympic Games

MATSUSHIMA | The aerobatic team of the Japanese Air Self-Defence Force have been told to “be ready” to participate in this year’s Olympic Games, which are to be held in Tokyo.

On Friday 17th January, jets of the Blue Impulse began practicing drawing large rings in the sky over Higashi-Matsushima City, where the Olympic Torch is due to touch down on the 20th March.

The Air Self-Defence Force said it has not been decided whether Blue Impulse will participate in this year’s Games, but the team began practicing on Friday after the Olympic Organising Committee told them to prepare to participate in the torch arrival ceremony and other events.

Blue Impulse famously drew the Olympic rings during the opening ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo summer Games, with five F-86 Sabres drawing the interlocking rings with white smoke at a height of around 10,000 feet. They also performed a short demonstration with coloured smoke, matching the colours of the Olympic rings, at the opening ceremony of the 1998 winter Games in Nagano.

The team have generally refrained from using coloured smoke in recent years amid concerns that chemicals could stain the ground. However, the Japan Times reported last month that the Air Self-Defence Force has improved its smoke and that the team are expected to draw the Olympic rings in full colour at March’s arrival ceremony.

The Blue Angels are no stranger to major international sporting fixtures. In 2002, the team performed a display over the first match of the FIFA World Cup. In September 2019, the team drew a cherry blossom with white smoke to mark the start of the Rugby World Cup. Blue Impulse are also well-known for drawing patterns in the sky during their display, including a five-pointed star.

Based at Matsushima, Blue Impulse currently fly six Kawasaki T-4 intermediate jet trainers in a white and blue paint scheme.

Rhode Island Airshow rescheduled to bag Thunderbirds

QUONSET | This year’s Rhode Island Airshow has been set back by a week to bag a performance by the USAF Thunderbirds.

The show was originally scheduled for the 13th-14th June and was to be headlined by the USAF’s F-22A Raptor Demonstration Team. However, it was not due to feature either of the USA’s two military aerobatic teams, the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels, who are slated to fly that weekend in Ocean City and Chippewa Valley respectively.

However, the cancellation of the Thunder Over the Valley Airshow at Youngstown ARB on the 20th-21st June saw the Thunderbirds unexpectedly gain an open slot on their schedule. The Rhode Island Airshow has since been postponed by a week, with the Thunderbirds replacing the F-22 as the headline act.

The Rhode Island Airshow has had a turbulent few years. The show did not go ahead in 2019 because of troop deployments, and in 2017 the event lost its headline act, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, at short notice, when the team leader decided additional training was required.

Black Eagles will return to the Singapore Airshow this year

SINGAPORE | The Republic of Korea’s aerobatic team will be returning to the Singapore Airshow once again this year, according to the team’s Facebook page.

Photo: Adam Landau

The Black Eagles, who fly eight KAI T-50B Golden Eagle jets, posted an image containing the words “Singapore Airshow – We Challenge Again”. The acclaimed team made their Singaporean debut in 2014 and returned in 2016, but had to withdraw from 2018’s show at short notice after an accident during take off on the opening day.

The team are best-known for their daring synchronised aerobatics, including manoeuvres such as the ‘Rainfall’, ‘Dizzying Break’ and ‘Taeguek’, when two jets draw Korea’s national symbol in the sky with their smoke trails.

The Black Eagles will join the USAF’s F-22A Raptor Demo Team in the flying display lineup, which is also expected to feature a Republic of Singapore Air Force F-15SG Eagle, which has been spotted practicing an aerobatic routine over Pulau Sudong. Last year, HAL also said they expected to exhibit the Tejas at the show.

Also from India, the Sarang helicopter formation team were due to return to Singapore this February. However, it has since come to light that the Indian Ministry of Defence failed to approve the plans in time, and the team’s participation had to be cancelled.

The Singapore Airshow takes place on the 11th-16th February 2020. The final two days will be open to the public. You can read our guide to the show here.

Royal Navy Black Cats become Wildcat Demo Team

YEOVILTON | The Royal Navy’s helicopter display team have been temporarily re-branded to reflect the team’s continued status as a solo display.

The Black Cats, as the team was formerly known, announced they will be changing names to the Wildcat Demo Team on Instagram on Wednesday 8th January. They also confirmed that, as with the 2019 display season, they will perform only solo displays in 2020.

“While flying one helicopter, the title of The Black Cats just didn’t seem to fit,” the team said. “We hope to return to a dynamic pair of Wildcat[s] in the future, however, until then we are proud to fly onto the 2020 display circuit as the Royal Navy Wildcat Demo Team.

Photo: James Connolly

The Black Cats were formed in 2001, then known as the Lynx Pair and flying two Lynx HMA.8s, and gaining the Black Cats name in 2004. As the Navy transitioned from the Lynx to the Wildcat HMA.2, the Black Cats downgraded to a solo Lynx in 2013, performed with one Lynx and one Wildcat in 2014, and finally performed with two Wildcats in 2015 and 2016.

The team, which comes from 825 Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton, did not perform in 2017 or 2018 due to operational commitments. They returned as a solo display in 2019, and initially expressed hopes to resume two-ship displays in 2020. Sadly, airshow fans must wait at least another year to see the Black Cats flying with two Wildcats again.

Frecce Tricolori’s 60th anniversary season to end with international airshow at Rivolto

RIVOLTO | Italy’s national aerobatic team will celebrate their 60th anniversary this year with a special logo and an international airshow at their home base.

The Italian Air Force revealed the new logo on Saturday 21st December 2019. The design features a stylised number 60 and the three red, white and green arrows from the Frecce Tricolori’s official emblem. An airshow will be held on the 19th-20th September 2020 to mark the occasion.

The Frecce Tricolori usually mark anniversaries once every five years with major international shows at Rivolto. The last show, held on the 5th-6th September 2015, featured the Midnight Hawks, Patrulla Aguila, Saudi Hawks, Team Iskra, Patrouille Suisse and Turkish Stars, as well as solo displays from a Polish Air Force MiG-29, Italian F-2000A Typhoon and Austrian Saab 105, among many others. Historic aircraft, including several which served with the Italian Air Force, also participated.

The team is the joint largest jet aerobatic team in the world, flying ten MB-339PANs. They are famous for their dynamic solo manoeuvres, large formations and impressive crosses, as well as their distinctive red, white and green smoke.

Red Arrows Supervisor teases “some semblance of a tour” in 2020 during podcast

LAS VEGAS | Red 10 Sqn. Ldr. Adam Collins has teased a Red Arrows mini-tour in 2020, indicating the team will be heading to mainland Europe in the second half of the season.

Collins was speaking on the Show Centre Airshow Podcast with Ric Peterson, Matt Jolley and Rob Reider at the International Council of Air Shows Convention in Las Vegas when he was asked about his team’s 2020 season.

“I’m busy planning the season at the moment,” he said. “We’re going to be primarily in the UK this year. We’re then dipping in and out of [mainland] Europe for some semblance of a tour later on in the season, and we’ll see what shape that takes in a couple of months’ time.”

Ric Peterson, the commentator for the Sanicole Airshow in Belgium, then added: “I’ll get a chance to see you over in Europe again, without giving too much away from an upcoming schedule, but it looks like you may possibly be at Sanicole, and we’re looking forward to that.”

“Well, we’re looking at it at the moment. We still need to have our season ratified, but fingers crossed we’ll be at an airshow in Europe near you soon,” replied Collins.

The Red Arrows have recently returned from an 11-week tour of North America and are currently training for their 2020 season at RAF Scampton. Large-scale tours, like the team’s North America visit and their Far East tour of 2016, are typically up to two years in the making.

US Navy hopes to step up airshow participation with F-35C, F/A-18F demonstrations

LAS VEGAS | The US Navy is planning to step up its airshow commitments this year, with F/A-18F “Tac Demos”, Legacy Flights and F-35C mini-demonstrations.

Although the headlines have largely eluded the US Navy at the International Council of Air Shows Convention so far, news on the Navy’s 2020 plans came at a session on Wednesday 11th November.

According to AirshowStuff.com, it is now clear that the Navy plan to support 42 F/A-18F Super Hornet Tactical Demonstrations and Legacy Flights in 2020, with Tactical Demonstrations coming from VFA-106 in Oceana, VA, and Legacy Flights from VFA-122 in Lemoore, CA. These will take place at shows which are not due to host the Blue Angels, with the exception of Oceana.

The full schedule is awaiting approval, and is not typically published until the spring. However, it could see an increase in “Tac Demos” from the last few seasons, when the Navy has only been able to support a very small number of displays.

The news also confirms that the Tailhook Legacy Flight program will continue into 2020, although it is not clear whether this will include aircraft other than VFA-122’s F/A-18Fs. The program was resurrected in 2018, and expanded in 2019 to include aircraft from multiple units, such as the T-45 Goshawk, T-6 Texan II and EA-18G Growler, all of which are otherwise rare airshow performers.

Perhaps most exciting, however, is the news that the Navy will be setting up a new F-35C Demonstration Team in 2020, flown by VFA-125 in Lemoore. The news was first released over the summer by ICAS, but quickly rebutted by the Navy, and finally confirmed at the Convention. However, the team will not yet perform a full demonstration profile.

The F-35C has already flown a small number of mini-demonstrations in US Navy hands, most recently at the Fort Worth Alliance Airshow, so next year’s displays may be similar to those previewed this year. However, forming an official demonstration team is a major step towards flying full, regular demonstrations in the future.

Thunderbirds and Blue Angels release schedules up until 2021

LAS VEGAS | The Thunderbirds and Blue Angels released updated 2020 schedules and tentative 2021 schedules at the International Council of Air Shows Convention in Las Vegas.

THUNDERBIRDS 2020 SCHEDULE

Date Show Location Country
Mar 14 United States Laughling AFB: Fiesta Of Flight Del Rio USA (TX)
Mar 21-22 United States Luke Days Air & Space Expo Glendale USA ()
Mar 28-29 United States March Field Air & Space Expo: Thunder Over the Empire March USA ()
Apr 4-5 United States Sun ‘n Fun Fly-in Lakeland USA (FL)
Apr 18-19 United States Maxwell AFB: Beyond the Horizon Air & Space Expo Montgomery USA (AL)
Apr 25-26 United States Wings Over Columbus Columbus USA (MS)
May 2-3 United States Fort Lauderdale Airshow Fort Lauderdale USA (FL)
May 9-10 United States Beale AFB: Winfgs Over Recce Town Marysville USA (CA)
May 16-17 United States Shaw Air Expo: Thunder Over the Midlands Sumter USA (SC)
May 23-24 United States Miami Beach Air & Sea Show Miami Beach USA (FL)
Jun 6-7 United States California Int’l Airshow Salinas USA (CA)
Jun 13-14 United States OC Airshow Ocean City USA (MD)
Jun 20-21 United States Youngstown ARB Airshow: Thunder Over the Valley Vienna USA (OH)
Jun 20-21 United States Rhode Island Airshow Quonset USA (RI)
Jun 27-28 United States Hill AFB: Utah Air Show – Warriors Over the Wasatch Ogden USA (UT)
Jul 4-5 United States Battle Creek Field of Flight Airshow & Balloon Festival Battle Creek USA (MI)
Jul 11-12 United States JB Elmendorf: Arctic Thunder Open House Anchorage USA (AK)
Jul 18-19 United States Duluth Air & Aviation Expo Duluth USA (MN)
Jul 22 United States Warren AFB: Cheyenne Frontier Days Cheyenne USA (WY)
Jul 25-26 United States Ellsworth Air & Space Show Rapid City USA (SD)
Aug 1-2 United States Grand Forks AFB Airshow Grand Forks USA (ND)
Aug 15-16 United States Chicago Air & Water Show Chicago USA (IL)
Aug 22-23 United States Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Armed Forces Airshow Avoca USA (PA)
Aug 26 United States Thunder Over The Boardwalk Atlantic City USA (NJ)
Aug 29-30 United States New York Airshow New Windsor USA (NY)
Aug 5-6 United States KC Airshow Gardner USA (KS)
Sep 12-13 Canada Airshow London London Canada (ON)
Sep 19-20 United States Great Pacific Airshow Huntington Beach USA (CA)
Oct 3-4 United States Minden-Tahoe Aviation Roundup Minden USA (NV)
Oct 10-11 United States Edwards AFB: Aerospace Valley Airshow Edwards USA (CA)
Oct 17-18 United States Fort Worth Alliance Airshow Dallas/Fort Worth USA (TX)
Oct 24-25 United States Wings Over North Georgia Rome USA (GA)
Oct 31-Nov 1 United States Central Florida Space & Air Show Sanford USA (FL)
Nov 7-8 United States New Orleans Airshow New Orleans USA (LA)
Nov 14-15 United States JB San Antonio Open House & Airshow San Antonio USA (TX)

BLUE ANGELS 2020 SCHEDULE

Date Show Location Country
Mar 14 United States El Centro Airshow: Wings Over the Desert El Centro USA (CA)
Mar 21-22 United States Los Angeles County Air Show Lancaster USA (CA)
Mar 28-29 United States MacDill AFB: Tampa Bay AirFest Tampa USA (FL)
Apr 4-5 United States Wings Over South Texas Kingsville USA (TX)
Apr 18-19 United States JB Charleston Air & Space Expo Charleston USA (SC)
Apr 25-26 United States Vero Beach Airshow Vero Beach USA (FL)
May 2-3 United States MCAS Cherry Point Airshow Havelock USA (NC)
May 9-10 United States Dyess Big Country AirFest Abilene USA (TX)
May 16-17 United States JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst: Power in the Pines Wrightstown USA (NJ)
May 22-23 United States Bethpage Airshow at Jones Beach Wantugh USA (NY)
May 30-31 United States Scott AFB Air & Space Show Belleville USA (SC)
Jun 13-14 United States Chippewa Valley Air Show Eau Claire USA (WI)
Jun 20-21 United States Memphis Air Show Millington USA (TN)
Jun 27-28 United States Dayton Air Show Dayton USA (OH)
Jul 4-5 United States National Cherry Festival Traverse City USA (MI)
Jul 11 United States Pensacola Beach Airshow Pensacola USA (FL)
Jul 18-19 Canada 4 Wing Cold Lake Airshow Cold Lake Canada (AB)
Jul 25-26 United States Milwaukee Air & Water Show Milwaukee USA (WI)
Aug 1-2 United States Seafair Airshow Seattle USA (WA)
Aug 15-16 United States Great State of Maine Air Show Brunswick USA (ME)
Aug 29-30 United States Thunder Over Michigan Air Show Ypsilanti USA (MI)
Sep 5-7 United States Cleveland National Air Show Cleveland USA (OH)
Sep 12-13 United States Maryland Fleet Week & Airshow Baltimore Baltimore USA (MD)
Sep 19-20 United States NAS Oceana Airshow Virginia Beach USA (VA)
Sep 25-27 United States MCAS Miramar Airshow San Diego USA (CA)
Oct 3-4 United States Naval Base Ventura County Airshow Point Mugu USA (CA)
Oct 10-11 United States San Francisco Fleet Week San Francisco USA (FL)
Oct 16-17 United States NAS Pensacola: Blue Angels Homecoming Airshow Pensacola USA (FL)

THUNDERBIRDS 2021 SCHEDULE

Date Show Location Country
Apr 10-11 United States Tyndall AFB: Gulf Coast Salute Panama City USA (FL)
Apr 17-18 United States Space Coast Warbird Airshow Titusville USA (FL)
Apr 24-25 United States Davis-Monthan ARB: Thunder & Lightning Over Arizona Tuscon USA (AZ)
May 1-2 United States Sound of Speed Airshow St. Joseph USA (MO)
May 8-9 United States Barksdale AFB: Defenders of Liberty Airshow Shreveport USA (LA)
May 30-31 United States Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach Watugh USA (NY)
Jun 5-6 United States The Great Tennessee Air Show Smyrna USA (TN)
Jun 12-13 United States Fairchild AFB: Inland Northwest Skyfest Spokane USA (WA)
Jun 19-20 United States Tinker AFB: Star Spangled Salute Air & Space Show Oklahoma City USA (OK)
Jun 26-27 Canada Bagotville International Airshow Bagotville Canada (QC)
Jul 3-4 United States National Cherry Festival Traverse City USA (MI)
Jul 10-11 United States Dayton Airshow Dayton USA (OH)
Jul 21 United States Warren AFB: Cheyenne Frontier Days Cheyenn USA (WY)
Jul 24-25 United States Milwaukee Air & Water Show Milwaukee USA (WI)
Jul 31-Aug 1 United States Oregon International Air Show McMinnville USA (OR)
Aug 14-15 United States Barnes ARGB: Westfield International Airshow Springfield USA (MA)
Aug 18 United States Thunder Over the Boardwalk Atlantic City USA (NJ)
Aug 28-29 United States Gowen Thunder Open House & Airshow Boise USA (ID)
Sep 4-6 United States Cleveland National Airshow Cleveland USA (OH)
Sep 11-12 United States Pease Open House Newington USA (NH)
Sep 18-19 United States National Championship Air Races Reno USA (NV)
Sep 15-16 United States California Capital Airshow Sacramento USA (CA)
Oct 2-3 Puerto Rico Puerto Rico International Airshow San Juan Puerto Rico
Oct 9-10 United States Wings Over Houston Houston USA (TX)

BLUE ANGELS 2021 SCHEDULE

Date Show Location Country
Apr 10-11 United States NAS JAX Airshow Jacksonville USA (FL)
Apr 17-18 United States Sun ‘n Fun Fly-in Lakeland USA (FL)
Apr 24-25 United States MCAS Beaufort Air Show Beaufort USA (SC)
May 1-2 United States Wings Over South Texas Corpus Christi USA (TX)
May 8-9 United States Fort Lauderdale Airshow Fort Lauderdale USA (FL)
May 15-16 United States Dobbins ARB: Wings Over Atlanta Marietta USA (GA)
May 29-30 United States Westmoreland County Airshow Latrobe USA (PA)
Jun 5-6 United States Chennault International Airshow Lake Charles USA (LA)
Jun 12-13 United States Deke Slayton Airfest La Crosse USA (WI)
Jun 19-20 United States Thunder of Niagara Open House Niagara Falls USA (NY)
Jun 26-27 United States Duluth Air and Aviation Expo Duluth USA (MN)
Jul 3-4 United States KC Airshow Kansas City USA (MO)
Jul 10-11 United States Pensacola Beach Airshow Pensacola USA (FL)
Jul 24-25 United States Fargo Airsho Fargo USA (ND)
Jul 31-Aug 1 United States Arctic Lightning Air Show Eielson USA (AK)
Aug 7-8 United States Seafair Airshow Seattle USA (WA)
Aug 14-15 United States Owensboro Airshow Owensboro USA (KY)
Aug 21-22 United States Chicago Air & Water Show Chicago USA (IL)
Aug 28-29 Canada Airshow London London Canada (ON)
Sep 4-5 United States Cape Cod Airshow & Open House Cape Cod USA (MA)
Sep 18-19 United States NAS Oceana Airshow Virginia Beach USA (VA)
Sep 25-26 United States MCAS Miramar Airshow San Diego USA (CA)
Oct 2-3 United States Great Pacific Airshow Huntington Beach USA (CA)
Oct 9-10 United States San Francisco Fleet Week San Francisco USA (CA)
Oct 16-17 United States Northern Colorado Airshow Loveland USA (CO)
Oct 23-24 United States Fort Worth Alliance Airshow Dallas/Fort Worth USA (TX)
Oct 30-31 United States Wings over North Georgia Rome USA (GA)
Nov 5-6 United States NAS Pensacola: Blue Angels Homecoming Airshow Pensacola USA (FL)

USMC Harrier and Osprey 2020 demonstration schedules announced

LAS VEGAS | The US Marine Corps will perform at several US airshows next year, according to schedules released at the International Council of Air Shows Convention.

Displays will come from the MV-22 Osprey and AV-8B Harrier. One Harrier display location and four Osprey locations have been named, along with several alternates.

Date Show Location Country Aircraft
Apr 4 United States Heart of Texas Airshow Waco TX MV-22
Apr 18 United States Thunder Over Louisville Louisville USA (KY) MV-22
May 9-10 United States Wings Over Dalton Dalton USA (GA) AV-8B alternate
May 16-17 United States Atlanta Airshow Peachtree City USA (GA) AV-8B alternate
Jun 6-7 United States Selfridge ANGB Airshow & Open House Mt. Clemens USA (MI) AV-8B
Jul 25-26 United States Milwaukee Air & Water Show Milwaukee USA (WI) MV-22 alternate
Aug 15-16 United States Great State of Maine Airshow Brunswick USA (ME) MV-22
Sep 25-27 United States Oregon Int’l Airshow McMinnville USA (OR) MV-22
Oct 26-27 United States Wings Over Houston Houston USA (TX) MV-22 alternate
Oct 10-11 United States Florida Int’l Airshow Punta Gorda USA (FL) MV-22 alternate