Category Archives: Airshow News World

Jupiter Aerobatic Team turn back towards home after cancelling Singapore Airshow appearance

BATAM | Indonesia’s Jupiter Aerobatic Team made it within 30km of the Singapore Airshow before abruptly cancelling their visit and turning for home today.

Photo: Adam Landau

The team of six KT-1B Woongbis confirmed their participation in the prestigious show on Sunday 2nd February, flying to the event via the island of Batam, where they staged an aerial display. However, on Wednesday, the head of the Indonesian Air Force Information Service, Marsma Fajar Adriyanto, suddenly announced that the team would be turning back to their base in Yogyakarta.

Although no reason was given for the team’s cancellation, it could have been a move to protect the team from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, with 18 cases confirmed in Singapore so far. Also on Wednesday, China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force announced that their crack aerobatic team, August 1st, would be attending the event, supported by a pair of Il-76 transport aircraft based near the city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began.

Photo: Tom Wittevrongel

The Republic of Korea’s own aerobatic team, the Black Eagles, had already cancelled their appearance at the show, again citing the coronavirus outbreak, and several exhibitors have pulled out.

Jupiter Aerobatic Team have twice flown at the Singapore Airshow; the team made their debut in 2014, but a diplomatic spat between Indonesia and Singapore saw the team abandon the event early. They returned in 2018, performing for the duration of the show.

The Singapore Airshow will be held on the 11th-16th February and will be open to the public on the final two days. For more information, read our guide to the Singapore Airshow.

China’s August 1st team are shock last-minute addition to Singapore Airshow

SINGAPORE | China’s main aerobatic team, August 1st (Ba Yi), have made a surprise arrival into Singapore ahead of this month’s airshow.

Photo: Tom Wittevrongel

The team, who display six Chengdu J-10s, arrived with two Il-76 support aircraft on Wednesday 5th February. It is a rare overseas appearance for the team, who will be flying in Singapore for the first time, following their cancellation in 2014.

The team’s visit has raised eyebrows as the two Il-76 support planes and many members of the hundred-strong team come from a unit based near to the city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak began. Singapore is currently enforcing a wide-reaching travel ban on those who have recently stayed in China, and other Chinese exhibitors, such as COMAC, have been forced to cancel their participation at the airshow.

However, all personnel have been undergoing regular health checks and their participation has been approved by Singaporean authorities, according to Reuters.

Photo: Tom Wittevrongel

The coronavirus outbreak has caused the RoKAF Black Eagles to cancel their appearance at this year’s show, as part of the Republic of Korea’s efforts to protect its servicemen and stop the spread of the virus. So far, there have been at least 18 cases in Singapore, and around 500 people were in quarantine.

August 1st are the only one of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s display teams to have displayed abroad. Founded in 1962, the team made their international debut at the MAKS show in Russia in 2013. They also appeared at LIMA in Malaysia and at a one-off Sino-Thai friendship event in Thailand in 2015. More recently, they flew at the Dubai Airshow in 2017 and twice visited Pakistan in 2017 and 2019.

Despite cancellations, the Singapore Airshow is shaping up strongly this year, with Singapore, Indonesia and the USA contributing to the flying display. Along with August 1st, the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning will also be making their Singapore flying display debut.

The Singapore Airshow will be held on the 11th-16th February and will be open to the public on the final two days. For more information, read our guide to the Singapore Airshow.

US jets & Team Jupiter join Singapore Airshow lineup as Black Eagles pull out

SINGAPORE | The US military will be sending almost 20 aircraft to this year’s Singapore Airshow, while the Black Eagles and others pull out due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The US military commitment includes aerial demonstrations by the US Air Force F-22A Raptor Demo Team, a US Marine Corps F-35B Lightning from MCAS Iwakuni and the Pacific Air Force F-16C Demo Team. It will be the first time that the F-35 or F-22 have performed in Singapore.

On the ground, they will be displaying further F-22s, along with a C-17 Globemaster, E-3 Sentry, MQ-9 Reaper, RQ-4 Global Hawk, KC-135 Stratotanker, MV-22B Osprey, AH-1Z Viper, UH-1Y Venom, RQ-21 Blackjack, P-8A Poseidon, EA-18G Growlers and an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. A B-52H Stratofortress is also due to participate, possibly in the form of a flypast.

Members of Indonesia’s Jupiter Aerobatic Team, flying six KT-1B Woongbis, have also indicated their attendance in recent days, and the Republic of Singapore Air Force will participate with a display involving the F-15SG.

However, as some air arms bulk up their attendance, others have been pulling out. The Black Eagles, who confirmed their participation in January, said on Facebook on Monday 3rd January that their participation had been cancelled by the Air Force as part of a government-wide effort to prevent the spread of the disease and ensure the safety of its personnel.

A spokesperson added: ” I would like to express my sincere gratitude to both domestic and international fans who supported us and looked forward to our participation in the Singapore Airshow.”

The Black Eagles were due to be one of the main acts at the international trade show. They previously flew at the 2014 and 2016 events, and had been due to participate in the 2018 show, withdrawing only after a take-off accident on the first day.

Singapore is taking a hard line against coronavirus, and was the first nation to shut its borders to arrivals from China. Over 500 people are in quarantine and there are 18 confirmed cases, but all those affected are in a stable condition and most are improving, Channel News Asia reports.

The Singapore Airshow organisers, Experia Events, say that the show would continue as planned. However they acknowledged that the number of visitors would likely be lower than usual. Medics will be on standby in case visitors begin to feel unwell while at the event.

Several major exhibitors, including Textron and Gulfstream, have pulled out of the event as a precautionary measure to protect their staff, and Chinese exhibitors such as Comac are also unable to attend. Other companies, such as Rostec and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, appear to have reduced their participation at the show, according to state newspaper The Straits Times.

Recently, it was also revealed that India’s Sarang helicopter team would be unable to participate as the Indian Ministry of Defence failed to approve the trip in time. With only a week until the show, the line up remains in flux and no official list of aircraft participating in the aerial display has yet been published by the airshow organisers, despite repeated promises that the list would be made available by the end of January.

The Singapore Airshow will be held on the 11th-16th February and will be open to the public on the final two days. For more information, read our guide to the Singapore Airshow.

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.

US pilot and two spectators killed in Guatemala airshow crash

IZTAPA | An American airshow pilot and two spectators were killed during a practice flight for the LXV Anniversary Airshow in Iztapa, Guatemala, on Friday 24th January.

Steve Andelin was piloting a Zivko Edge 540T as part of Kirby Chambliss’ Red Bull-sponsored airshow act, according to local media. At least two spectators also died when the aircraft crashed in the showground area, and another was seriously injured. The aircraft wreckage came to rest in a nearby river.

A statement on the Team Chambliss Facebook page the day after the crash said: “It is with great sadness that Team Chambliss confirms that our friend and pilot, Steve Andelin, along with two spectators, lost their lives at a private air show in Guatemala on Friday, January 24th.

“Steve Andelin was flying a plane which carried Red Bull branding, owned by Kirby Chambliss. We are deeply shocked and extend our deepest sympathies to the families involved in this tragic accident.”

They asked the public not to circulate video footage of the accident, out of respect to those who lost their lives.

Mr Andelin was a test pilot for Zivko Aeronautics and an airline pilot. He had spent two years on the United States Aerobatic Team.

The Director General of Guatemala’s civil aviation regulator, Francis Argueta Aguirre, offered his deepest condolences to the friends and family of all those who lost their lives.

FAI World Air Games 2022 cancelled pending overall review

The next edition of the World Air Games, scheduled to be held in Turkey in the autumn of 2022, has been cancelled, as the FAI say they will review the event’s format.

The Turkish Aeronautical Association, who successfully bid to host the 2022 Games, asked the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) to postpone the event until 2025 due to “the current difficult economic situation in Turkey”, according to an FAI news release. However, the FAI and the Air Sports Commission President decided instead to cancel the 2022 Games altogether.

In their statement, the FAI also said that they would undertake an overall review of the event’s concept and format “before deciding on any future edition of the Games”.

FAI President Bob Henderson said: “This has not been an easy decision to make. However it has been taken with all interests at heart and with a long-term and strategic view. The FAI World Air Games is the flagship event of the Federation and, as such, we must make sure that it be held in optimal conditions.”

The World Air Games are the flagship event of the FAI, who are the world governing body of air sports. The Games have previously been hosted by Turkey in 1997, Spain in 2001, Italy in 2009 and, most recently, the United Arab Emirates in 2015. The 2015 Games saw competitions at 7 venues in 19 disciplines, which included racing, aerobatics and precision flying, encompassing drones, parachuting, helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, autogyros and paramotors. It also included air displays, headlined by Al Fursan.

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.

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.

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.

Matt Hall is crowned World Champion in final Red Bull Air Race

CHIBA | Australian pilot Matt Hall finally achieved his dream of being the Red Bull Air Race World Champion as Yoshi Muroya enjoyed a third emphatic victory at his home race.

Three times the runner-up, Hall soared to victory by claiming third place at the final race of the season, just behind home hero Yoshi Muroya and Kirby Chambliss. Muroya had a challenging day, losing his Round of 14 heat against Ben Murphds by 0.015 seconds, but progressed as the fastest loser and won every subsequent heat he flew.

RACE RESULTS

Race finish Pilot Country Race points Final time Penalties Quali finish
1 Yoshi MUROYA JPN 25 0:58.630 5
2 Kirby CHAMBLISS AUS 22 0:59.601 14
3 Matt HALL USA 20 1:00.052 7
4 Pete MCLEOD CAN 18 1:04.028 +5 11
5 Nicolas IVANOFF FRA 14 0:59.096 13
6 Mika BRAGEOT FRA 13 0:59.731 +1 9
7 Francois LE VOT FRA 12 1:02.936 +5 3
8 Ben MURPHY GBR 11 1:04.248 +5 10
9 Michael GOULIAN USA 5 0:58.032 8
10 Juan VELARDE ESP 4 0:58.180 1
11 Cristian BOLTON CHI 3 0:58.252 12
12 Matthias DOLDERER GER 2 0:58.409 4
13 Martin SONKA CZE 1 00:58.808 +1 2
14 Petr KOPFSTEIN CZE 0 00:59.774 6

2018 world champion Martin Sonka lead the title chase into the final race, but was knocked out in the Round of 14 heat against Nicolas Ivanoff when he picked up a one second Over-G penalty. He ended the season in third place overall. Ben Murphy, the latest pilot to join the tour, stunned with a fourth-place finish in only his second season.

CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS

Position Pilot Team Country Total points Change
1 Matt HALL Matt Hall Racing AUS 81
2 Yoshi MUROYA Team Falken JPN 80
3 Martin SONKA Red Bull Team Sonka CZE 68
4 Ben MURPHY The Blades Racing Team GBR 48 =
5 Kirby CHAMBLISS Team Chambliss USA 48
6 Pete MCLEOD Cashback World Racing CAN 48
7 Nicolas IVANOFF Team Hamilton FRA 47
8 Mika BRAGEOT #11RACING Team Eyetime FRA 44 =
9 Michael GOULIAN Team Goulian USA 42
10 Juan VELARDE Team Velarde ESP 39
11 Francois Le Vot FLV Racing Team 12 FRA 34
12 Cristian BOLTON Cristian Bolton Racing CHI 27
13 Petr Kopfstein Team Speilberg CZE 10 =
14 Matthias Dolderer Matthias Dolderer Racing GER 6 =

Earlier this year, Red Bull announced they would be ending their support for the series, which began in 2003, due to lower than expected interest. The race organisers shortened this year’s series from eight to four races, and announced the series would not return in 2020.