Category Archives: Airshow news

USAF cancels all airshows and demo team appearances until mid-May

The United States Air Force will be suspending its outreach programmes due to uncertainty over the coronavirus outbreak.

After two days of individual show cancellations, the Brig. Gen Edward Thomas, the USAF’s director of public affairs, said: “The Air Force is committed to upholding the complete trust and confidence of Americans and our community engagement is the key to those connections. However, due to the uncertainty regarding COVID-19 and to protect our Airmen, their families and the communities that support us, the Department of the Air Force is suspending all outreach activities and support to community events through May 15.

“This includes, but is not limited to, on-base and civilian sponsored air shows, band performances and community engagements and meetings (speaking engagements, community meetings on installations, base tours, Pentagon visits, etc.).

“We will continue to support funeral flyovers on a case-by-case basis. The Air Force will continuously evaluate the situation and provide updates as needed.”

You can stay up to date on our LIVE BLOG.

WHICH SHOWS ARE IMPACTED?

USAF airshows in this period include:

  • Mar 14: Laughlin AFB Fiesta of Flight, TX
  • Mar 21-22: Luke Days Air & Space Expo, AZ
  • Mar 28-29: MacDill AFB Tampa Bay AirFest, FL
  • Apr 18-19: Maxwell AFB Beyond the Horizon Airshow, AL
  • Apr 18-19: JB Charleston Air & Space Expo, SC
  • Apr 25-26: Wings Over Columbus, MS
  • May 9-10: Beale AFB Thunder Over Recce Town, CA
  • May 9-10: Dyess Big Country AirFest, TX

Other shows still scheduled to go ahead will lose headline acts, such as the Fort Lauderdale Airshow, which was scheduled to host the Thunderbirds, Thunder Over Louisville, which was expected to feature USAF flyovers and solo demonstrations, and the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In, recently rescheduled to early May.

Belgian Air Force Agusta A109BA solo display dates 2020

The Belgian Air Force’s Agusta A109BA solo display can be seen at the following events this year.

Date Show Location Country
May 16-17 France Portes Ouvertes BA116 Luxeuil Saint-Sauveur France
Jul 11/td> United Kingdom Royal Navy International Air Day Yeovilton UK
Jul 21-23/td> France Meeting Aérien International Albert – Picardie France
Sep 11 Belgium Sanicole Sunset Airshow Hechtel Belgium
Sep 13 Belgium Sanicole International Airshow Hechtel Belgium
Sep 19-20 Italy 60th Anniversary of the Frecce Tricolori Rivolto Italy

Belgian Air Force Red Devils 2020 airshow schedule

The Belgian Air Force’s official aerobatic team, the Red Devils, have published their 2020 airshow season. The team, who fly four Marchetti SF.260s, will perform at nine events, including two international shows.

Date Show Location Country
Jun 14 Denmark Danish Airshow Karup Denmark
Jun 21 France Aerotorshow Valence Chabeuil France
Jun 27-28 Belgium Aérodrome en Fete St Hubert – Cerfontaine Belgium
Jun 27-28 Belgium Cerfontaine Belgium
Jun 28 Belgium Le festival Des Ballons et des Ailes Le Roeulx Belgium
Jul 1 Belgium Open Door Koksijde Belgium
Jul 4-5 Belgium BOACK Koksijde Belgium
Jul 4-5 Belgium Navydays (flypast only) Zeebrugge Belgium
Sep 13 Belgium Sanicole International Airshow Hechtel Belgium

Spanish Air Force Patrulla Aspa 2020 airshow schedule

GRANADA | The Spanish Air Force’s EC-120 Colibri aerobatic team have released their 2020 airshow schedule, which includes two international shows.

Date Show Location Country
Mar 7 Spain Estaremos en las Jornadas Aeronauticas de Tablada Seville Spain
May 13-17 Germany Internationale Luft- und Raumfahrtausstellung (ILA) Berlin Germany
Jun 21 Spain Festival Aéreo de Motril Motril Spain
Jun 27 Spain Fiestas Patronales de Burgos San Pablo Spain
Jul 23-26 Spain XV Criterium Aeronautico y XXXVII Vuelta Aerea a Galica Lugo Spain
Jul 24-26 Spain Festival Aéreo de Gijón Gijón Spain
Jul 24-27 Spain Regata Tall Ship Race La Coruna Spain
Oct 10-11 France Free Flight World Masters Saint-Maxime France

 

Belgian Air Force F-16AM “Dark Falcon” 2020 display dates

The Belgian Air Force’s popular F_16AM Fighting Falcon solo display is due to participate in 16 events spanning eight countries this year. It will be the final year with Captain Stefan Darte, callsign “Vador”, flying his “Dark Falcon” jet.

Date Show Location Country
May 23-24 United Kingdom Duxford Air Festival Duxford UK
May 30 Croatia Croatian International Military Airshow Zadar Croatia
Jun 6 Norway Rygge Airshow Rygge Norway
Jun 13-14 France Meeting de l’Air Cognac – Châteaubernard France
Jun 28 Belgium Ursel Avia Ursel Belgium
Jun 28 Belgium Aérodrome en Fete St Hubert – Cerfontaine Belgium
Jul 1 Belgium Open Door Koksijde Belgium
Jul 4 Belgium BOACK Koksijde Belgium
Jul 17-19 United Kingdom Royal International Air Tattoo Fairford UK
Aug 1-2 Latvia Wings Over Baltics Jurmala Latvia
Aug 23-24 France Meeting Aérien International Albert – Picardie France
Aug 29-30 Slovakia Slovak International Air Fest Sliač Slovakia
Sep 6 France Meeting Aérien de Cambrai Cambrai – Niergnies France
Sep 11 Belgium Sanicole Sunset Airshow Hechtel Belgium
Sep 13 Belgium Sanicole International Airshow Hechtel Belgium
Sep 19-20 Italy 60th Anniversary of the Frecce Tricolori Rivolto Italy

 

New air race series promises races in 10 countries; first season starting in December 2020

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since the publication of this article, the WCAR website has been taken down. This page refers to information available on the website before its removal.

A new website promoting the World Championship Air Race, the successor to the Red Bull Air Race, has been launched, appearing to provide the first official confirmation that the new series is under development.

The new website promises races in 10 countries spanning four continents, featuring 36 pilots. Although it is not yet clear who will be competing, photographs show former Red Bull Air Race Masterclass and Challenger Class pilots such as Juan Velarde, Kevin Coleman and Petr Kofpstein.

The race calendar, which is “coming soon”, will include “some of the world’s best cities”. The first series is scheduled to begin in December 2020, running until Q3 of 2021.

The World Championship Air Race claims to be “the new and improved continuation” of the Red Bull Air Race, which ended in 2019 after Red Bull pulled its support for the series. In January 2020, it was speculated that a continuation series had been set up by a Hong Kong investor, with the help of former Red Bull Air Race pilots and officials.

This includes Willie Cruickshank, the former head of aviation and sport at the Red Bull Air Race, who earlier told the Italian website MD80 that he had received a “positive response” from potential venues looking to host the new series. Mr Cuickshank will be the series director of the new sport.

Challenger Class pilot Dario Costa also confirmed he is involved in the development of the World Championship Air Race, while Masterclass racers Ben Murphy and Kirby Chambliss have expressed interest in racing again.

The 36 pilots promised on the new website is much more than the 14 Masterclass and 12 Challenger Class pilots who competed in the Red Bull Air Race, of whom several were also due to retire at the end of the 2019 season, meaning that an intake of new names is to be expected. These will likely be graduates of the WCAR Academy, a purpose-run course designed to teach prospective pilots the art of aerobatics and air racing.

Pilots will race in aircraft including the MXS-Racer, Edge 540 V2 and Edge 540 V3, according to the new website – all aircraft which competed in the final series of the Red Bull Air Race.

The website also promises other features, including live entertainment and hospitality.

While much remains unknown about the new racing series, fans will doubtless be delighted to see confident steps towards the revival of the much-loved Red Bull Air Race.

Patrulla Aguila jet crashes near San Javier, killing solo pilot

SAN JAVIER | The solo pilot of the Patrulla Aguila was killed in an accident near the team’s base in Murcia today, Thursday 27th February.

The Spanish Air Force confirmed that a C-101 Aviojet from the General Air Academy crashed into the sea near La Manga in an area commonly used for training flights. It was being flown by Patrulla Aguila’s solo pilot, Aguila #5 Commander Eduardo Fermín Garvalena, who did not eject.

Patrulla Aguila said they were “broken with pain” over the loss of their team mate, who had over 2,300 hours of flying experience. He flew the Eurofighter Typhoon before joining the General Air Academy in San Javier in 2017, joining Patrulla Aguila as the solo pilot for the 2019 season.

The Air Force said Cmdr. Garvalena was conducting a routine training flight at the time of the crash. However, as all Patrulla Aguila pilots also serve as flight instructors, it is has not been made explicitly clear whether he was flying with the team on his final sortie.

According to Murcia Today, the jet which crashed was one of the oldest in service, having been flying for over 30 years.

Patrulla Aguila have been Spain’s main national aerobatic team since 1985, and currently perform with seven C-101 Aviojets. The solo pilot is responsible for some of the team’s most daring manoeuvres, such as the tailslide and outside loop.

It is the third fatal crash of a General Air Academy plane in Murcia in seven months, with one of the previous accidents taking the life of former Patrulla Aguila soloist Comandante Francisco Marín. The ageing C-101, which first flew in 1977, is used as an advanced and basic jet trainer in the Spanish Air Force, although it is soon to be replaced in the basic jet training role by the Pilatus PC-21.

The Spanish Air Force had previously attempted to procure Korea Aerospace Industries T-50B Golden Eagles as advanced jet trainers, which would be used by Patrulla Aguila, but the deal did not come to fruition.

Although the Alenia M-345 is seen as the front tunner, it is not yet clear which design will replace the C-101 and F-5B in the advanced trainint role, or which type will eventually equip Patrulla Aguila. However, the initial order of 24 PC-21s is likely to be insufficient for Patrulla Aguila’s C-101s to be replaced for at least the next few years.

Apache Aviation in negotiations with new jet team sponsor

DIJON | Apache Aviation, operators of the now-defunct Breitling Jet Team, have confirmed they are planning to return to the airshow circuit in 2020.

Photo: Alex Ohde

The Dijon-based company said on Facebook today that team leader Jacques Bothelin had hoped to announce the team’s new identity at the European Airshow Council Convention in Brussels on the 28th February, but negotiations will not be completed in time.

“Unfortunately, negotiations will not be closed for that date, which means the announcement, if it is confirmed, is postponed,” the company said.

Photo: Alex Ohde

However, the company said they have already secured co-sponsors, enabling them to resume passenger flights and display flying for the first half of the 2020 airshow season.

Based in Dijon, France, Apache Aviation own a fleet of L-39C Albatross and TB-30 Epsilon training aircraft used for flight training and experience flights. Since 2003, the company’s L-39s also performed at airshows under the Breitling Jet Team name, flying as far afield as China and the United States. However, Breitling’s sponsorship was withdrawn at the end of the 2019 season and it was widely expected that the jet team would cease to operate.

The Breitling Jet Team was the world’s first full-time professional civilian jet team, and was for a time the world’s largest civilian jet aerobatic team, flying up to seven jets. However, they flew mainly six aircraft in their final two seasons.

Scottish International Airshow organisers lash out at council as event is cancelled

AYR | The organisers of the Scottish International Airshow have officially cancelled this year’s show, just days after it was rumoured South Ayrshire Council had pulled their support for the event.

Following an extraordinary public row, airshow organisers lashed out at the council today, blaming them for the cancellation of the show. They said senior council figures had “limited understanding” of how the airshow was run and claimed that the council did not agree to meet with them following the disputed payment of £80,000 to the airshow organisers last year.

South Ayrshire Council last week said they were “shocked” to discover the payment was being used to pay off debts relating to the 2018 airshow – a claim which airshow organisers dispute. “With the combination of the organisers failing to respond to our requests for information, and their breaches of the agreement, we were left with no choice but to terminate the contract, and withdraw public funding from the event,” the council said.

The row was first reported by the Daily Record in January, which claimed councillors were demanding the return of an £80,000 payment made “in error” to the airshow team. However, the airshow organisers had already spent the money. The council later accused the airshow of breaching its contract. Last week, they cancelled £250,000 of vital funding – half the total cost of running the event.

Airshow organisers responded today, saying: “We asked that we attend the meeting of the Councillors last week to explain what has happened and why the Airshow could still go ahead. They refused to talk to us and held their meeting in private.

“There were no breaches of the Airshow contract. The payment that was made to start the Airshow work for 2020 was not made in error. It was fully discussed between the Airshow and the Council. We understand it was then discussed within the Council and authorised under their normal processes.”

The Scottish International Airshow 2020 was billed as Scotland’s largest ever airshow, taking place in Ayr over the 4th-6th September. It was expected to attract around 200,000 visitors to the town and generate upwards of £5 million for the local economy.

The event began in 2014, and quickly grew to become one of the UK’s largest airshows. It was last held in 2018, with organisers and councillors taking a break last year to focus on staging a larger 2020 event. Organisers had been in talks with other local authorities to discuss alternating between different venues, but this was delayed until at least 2021.

Organisers thanked fans for their support today, writing: “We hope that we’ve inspired a next generation of pilots, engineers and aviation enthusiasts and given you all great family memories. We are proud of the achievements of our marvellous small team and volunteers and to put our names to this statement. We hope to see you somewhere in the future. Au revoir.”