Category Archives: Airshow News World

Saudi Hawks will return to Europe for Polish airshow debut

GDYNIA | The Saudi Hawks will perform in Europe for the first time since getting their new paint scheme at the Gdynia Aerobaltic show in Poland.

Photo: Jim Lucas

The distinctive aerobatic team, flying seven Hawk Mk.65A jet trainers, was formed in 1999 and received training from the Red Arrows, performing a very similar style of display. They first performed in Europe in 2011 at the AirPower Zeltweg show in Austria, and have appeared at other major events including the Royal International Air Tattoo and the International Sanicole Airshow.

The jets were given new paint schemes ahead of the 2019 display season, wearing a smart dark green livery with white feather motifs.

Gdynia Aerobaltic said that their show will be the Saudi Hawk’s only European appearance of 2019. They will be joined by three C-130 Hercules support aircraft.

RSAF prepares for Singapore National Day Parade flypast

SINGAPORE | The Republic of Singapore Air Force have released a rehearsal schedule ahead of this year’s National Day Parade, marking the bicentennial of the founding of modern Singapore.

The event, which will this year be held at The Padang, traditionally features flypasts and, on occasion, a short aerial display segment, featuring a variety of helicopters, jets and transport types from the RSAF’s inventory. This year, that will include the NDP debut of the air force’s new A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport.

Traditional favourites include the Red Lions freefall team, the flag tow (featuring a Chinook and two Apaches) and the Salute to the Nation bomb burst, usually performed by five F-15SGs.

As well as the main public event on the 9th August, airshow fans can watch a number of rehearsal sessions, which often attract smaller crowds and can take place in better lighting conditions. The best viewing spots are usually found around Marina Bay, with many spotters ascending nearby skyscrapers for a birds-eye view. This year’s rehearsal schedule is as follows:

Date Time (local) Event
Jun 4 08:30-13:00 RSAF Internal Rehearsal 1
Jun 7 08:30-13:00 RSAF Internal Rehearsal 2
Jun 15 11:30-14:30 RSAF Internal Rehearsal 3
Jun 15 17:30-20:30 Combined Rehearsal 1
Jun 22 17:30-20:30 Combined Rehearsal 2
Jun 29 17:30-20:30 Combined Rehearsal 3
Jul 6 17:30-20:30 National Education Show 1
Jul 13 17:30-20:30 National Education Show 2
Jul 20 17:30-20:30 National Education Show 3
Jul 27 17:30-20:30 National Day Parade Preview 1*
Aug 3 17:30-20:30 National Day Parade Preview 2*
Aug 9 17:30-20:30 National Day Parade 2019*

*Reserve slot scheduled for the same time the next day in event of cancellation due to weather.

Red Bull pulls the plug on the Red Bull Air Race

The Red Bull Air Race will wrap up for good after an abbreviated 2019 season, it was announced today.

In a surprise announcement, the Air Race said that “Red Bull has decided not to continue the Red Bull Air Race World Championship beyond the 2019 season.”

They added: “The Red Bull Air Race provided sports entertainment of highest quality but did not attract the level of outside interest as many other Red Bull events across the world. Red Bull thanks the pilots, their teams, partners, the host cities as well as the Red Bull employees for all they have done to make these enjoyable and memorable events.”

Just four of the eight planned races will go ahead this year: the Abu Dhabi round, which has already been staged, Kazan, Russia June 15-16), Lake Balaton, Hungary (13-14 July) and Chiba, Japan (7-8 September). Planned races in the USA and Saudi Arabia have been dropped.

Confirming the American race had been cancelled, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway said they and their fans would be “disappointed” not to host the air race again. “We enjoyed watching the pilots navigate the unique course over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway grounds,” they said. “We were especially excited to see American pilot Michael Goulian celebrate a well-earned victory last year.”

Customers who have already purchased tickets will receive a refund.

Martin Sonka, the 2018 World Champion, was the first pilot to comment online, describing the announcement as “really sad news” and indicating he had only heard of the decision earlier that day.

In a statement, Matt Hall Racing said: “While disappointed that a sport, which had significant potential to succeed, will be no longer, Matt Hall Racing express their gratitude to Red Bull for the opportunity to compete at the top level of aviation for the past eight seasons.”

The unique motorsport, which began in 2003, sees a selection of elite pilot flying highly-modified raceplanes around a course of inflatable pylons. More than 90 races have taken place around the world, in locations as diverse as Longleat in the UK, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the USA and the Swan River in Perth, Australia.

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.

Royal Jordanian Falcons release 2019 European Tour schedule

AQABA | The national aerobatic team of Jordan today posted the schedule for their annual European tour.

UK and France make up the bulk of the schedule, including an appearence for the first time at Old Warden. The team will also perform in Belgium, Greece and the Republic of Ireland.

Date Show
Jun 29-30 Meeting de l’Air de Cazaux, BA120 Cazaux, France
Jul 7 Shuttleworth Military Airshow, Old Warden, UK
Jul 13 Royal Navy International Air Day, RNAS Yeovilton, UK
Jul 20-21 Royal International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford, UK
Jul 27-28 Bray Air Display, Dublin, Ireland
Aug 17-18 Biggin Hill Festival of Flight, London, UK
Aug 24-25 Meeting International de la Somme, Albert – Picardie, France
Sep 7-8 Fête de l’Air Lens, Lens – Benifontaine, France
Sep 15 Sanicole International Airshow, Hechtel, Belgium
Sep 21-22 Athens Flying Week, Tanagra AB, Athens, Greece

Magnificent Muroya takes double Abu Dhabi victory

ABU DHABI | Yoshi Muroya won the opening round of the Red Bull Air Race in Abu Dhabi today by the narrowest of margins, taking the win by just 0.003 seconds.

Photo: Joerg Mitter / Red Bull Content Pool

The 2017 world champion performed spectacularly all week, excelling in Free Practice, flying fastest in Qualifying and taking the victory on Race Day. Under the new format, this earned him the maximum 28 points available over the weekend.

Martin Sonka, the reigning world champion, showed his credentials by coming second, finishing a split second behind his Japanese rival. Michael Goulian finished third both in the race and in Qualifying, meaning he now sits just one point behind Sonka.

Photo: Naim Chidiac / Red Bull Content Pool

Nicolas Ivanoff was both the luckiest and unluckiest pilot of the day. After posting the slowest time of the field in Qualifying, he lost his Round of 14 heat against Yoshi Muroya, but made it through to the next round as the fastest loser. He then beat Kirby Chambliss in the Round of 8, but could not race in the Final 4 as his plane’s engine refused to start. The Frenchman, who won in Abu Dhabi in 2016, had to settle for fourth place.

The pilots battled challenging winds on race day which made gates 7 and 14 much harder than in the Free Practice and Qualifying sessions. Half of pilots picked up penalties in the Round of 8, including Kirby Chambliss, who was caught for climbing in gate 10 and ended with the slowest time of the round. Mika Brageot, who finished in seventh, incurred two penalties; one for insufficient smoke and one for exceeding 11G.

Photo: Joerg Mitter / Red Bull Content Pool

Almost two-thirds of the field picked up penalties in the Round of 14, including Cristian Bolton, who opted for a Safety Climb-Out when he exceeded 12G after gate 6 and was then unable to get his wings level for gate 7. As a result, the Chilean finished in 14th place.

Later, Matt Hall picked up a two-second Incorrect Level penalty at gate 7, which should have given Britain’s Ben Murphy a clear passage to the Round of 8. Instead, the British pilot exceeded 11G and then hit the outside pylon at gate 7. The combined four seconds of penalty knocked Murphy out of the round; he finished in 13th overall. He later said that an alternator failure had distracted him from what should have been an easy run.

Photo: Andreas Schaad / Red Bull Content Pool

Matthias Dolderer was another big name to bow out early. Visibly furious with himself for his Incorrect Level penalty at gate 14, the 2016 world champion ended the day in 11th place. Pete McLeod also had a frustrating week; his 9th place finish (caused by yet another penalty at gate 7) belied his fantastic runner-up performace in Qualifying. However, McLeod was not given the two points usually awarded to the Qualifying runner-up because he his magnito settings accidentally exceeded the regulations.

Muroya therefore starts the season with a spectacular six point lead over his closest rival, but Goulian and Sonka have proved that they are hungry to repeat last year’s success.

RACE RESULTS

Race finish Pilot Country Race points Final time Penalties Quali finish
1 Yoshi MUROYA JPN 25 0:53.780 1
2 Martin SONKA CZE 22 0:53.783 4
3 Michael GOULIAN USA 20 0:54.009 3
4 Nicolas IVANOFF FRA 18 DNS N/A 14
5 Matt HALL AUS 14 0:54.760 8
6 Juan VELARDE ESP 13 0:55.221 +2 6
7 Mika BRAGEOT FRA 12 0:56.263 +2 5
8 Kirby CHAMBLISS USA 11 0:56.341 +2 13
9 Pete MCLEOD CAN 5 0:55.196 +2 2
10 Petr KOPFSTEIN CZE 4 0:55.816 +2 12
11 Matthias DOLDERER GER 3 0:56.443 +2 10
12 Francois LE VOT FRA 2 0:58.109 +2 9
13 Ben MURPHY GBR 1 0:58.638 +4 7
14 Cristian BOLTON CHI 0 DNF +3 11

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Position Pilot Team Country Total points Change
1 Yoshi MUROYA Team Falken JPN 28 =
2 Martin SONKA Red Bull Team Sonka CZE 22 =
3 Michael GOULIAN Team Goulian USA 21 =
4 Nicolas IVANOFF Team Hamilton FRA 18 =
5 Matt HALL Matt Hall Racing AUS 14 =
6 Juan VELARDE Team Velarde ESP 13 =
7 Mika BRAGEOT #11RACING Team Eyetime FRA 12 =
8 Kirby CHAMBLISS Team Chambliss USA 11 =
9 Pete MCLEOD Cashback World Racing CAN 5 =
10 Petr KOPFSTEIN Team Spielberg CZE 4 =
11 Matthias DOLDERER Matthias Dolderer Racing GER 3 =
12 Francois LE VOT FLV Racing Team 12 FRA 2 =
13 Ben MURPHY The Blades Racing Team GBR 1 =
14 Cristian BOLTON Cristian Bolton Racing CHI 0 =

 

Red Bull Air Race 2019 tour calendar released

SALZBURG  | The Red Bull Air Race will be heading to new venues this year, with races expected across Europe, North America and Asia.

The race season will begin in Abu Dhabi in February for the traditional season opener before spending the next few months in Europe. This will be followed by two races in Asia and one in Saudi Arabia.

The location for the second date of the tour has not been decided, but an NBN news report last week said the series would feature a new venue “over the Mediterranean”.

A second unconfirmed venue is planned in Asia, however in previous years, events marked “Asia; TBC” on the Red Bull Air Race’s preliminary schedule have in fact been relocated to Europe. A number of Asian cities are known to have expressed interest in hosting the air race, including Singapore and Hong Kong, while Putrajaya in Malaysia hosted a one-off race in 2014.

Notably, the air race will not land in Budapest this year. While originally scheduled for July, the Mayor of Budapest refused to grant the organisers permission to hold the event. Instead, it will be staged at a new venue on the shore of Lake Balaton.

Some fans have criticised the air race organisers for the late release of their schedule, which was published just ten days before the first race and is still incomplete.

Dates Location Notes
Feb 8-9 The Corniche, Abu Dhabi, UAE RACE
Mar 21-23 Dammam Corniche, Dammam, Saudi Arabia DEMO
Jun 1-2 Aviatická Pouť Airshow, Pardubice, Czech Republic DEMO
Jun 15-16 Kazanka River, Kazan, Russia RACE
Jul 13-14 Zamárdi, Lake Balaton, Hungary RACE; Moved from Budapest
TBC Europe; TBC RACE; Postponed from May
Sep 7-8 Makuhari Beach, Chiba, Japan RACE
TBC Asia; TBC RACE
Oct 19-20 Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis, IN, USA RACE
Nov 8-9 Saudi Arabia RACE

Sri Lanka Air Force debuts first-ever aerobatic team

CHINA BAY | The Sri Lanka Air Force’s first ever aerobatic team, the Blue Eagles, staged their first ever performance on Friday 11th January.

The display featured five specially-painted Nanchang PT-6 training aircraft, and was piloted by Qualified Training Instructors from the No. 1 Flying Training Wing. The aircraft performed a number of formation manoeuvres, breaks and solo aerobatics.

The air arm also staged flypasts featuring the IAI Kfir, Chengdu F-7 and Hongdu JL-8, as well as a parachute display and Mil Mi-7 role demonstration.

In the past, the Sri Lanka Air Force have staged basic formation aerobatic displays with the PT-6 and Hongdu JL-8, but this is the first time they have set up a fully-fledged aerobatic team.

The Sri Lanka Air Force operates a fleet of six PT-6s, a Chinese basic trainer aircraft developed in the 1950s. The aircraft is used by other aerobatic teams including the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s ‘Sky Wing’ team and the Desert Rats, a civilian team from the United States.