Category Archives: Airshow news

IWM Duxford eases restrictions, sells more tickets for next week’s Summer Airshow

DUXFORD | The Duxford Summer Airshow will go ahead under much looser restrictions than originally planned, following confirmation that England’s coronavirus restrictions will be scrapped on Monday 19th July.

Previously limited to 4,000 people per day, more tickets will be put on sale, with up to 8,000 daily visitors now permitted. Indoor exhibitions will also be open to visitors, contrary to initial plans although masks will be strongly encouraged. Likewise, participating in contact tracing using the NHS app will be encouraged.

Plans to split the showground into three zones, which visitors would not be able to move between, have also been scrapped, although visitors will still be required to park in the car park originally assiged to their ticket.

Visitors over the age of 11 will still be required to provide evidence that they are not infected with coronavirus, either in the form of a full vaccination record, a negative PCR test or Lateral Flow Test (the latter being available for free) taken within 48 hours of entry, or a positive PCR test result from within the last six months.

The show is scheduled for the 24th-25th July – just days after the UK government is due to scrap most remaining coronavirus restrictions. Until the 19th July, most outdoor events were limited to 4,000 spectators, and were obliged to take part in contact tracing efforts. The Summer Airshow was designed to operate within these restrictions to avoid a last-minute cancellation; last year’s Battle of Britain Airshow at Duxford was called off with just a few days to go, as the UK moved towards a second nationwide lockdown.

Already due to feature the Red Arrows, RAF Typhoon solo display, Tiger 9 Aeronautical Display Team, Blades Display Team and Strikemaster pair, among others, the flying line up was also extended today, with a slew of Duxford-based warbirds joining the show.

Now due to display over the weekend are P-47D Thunderbolt “Nellie”, two P-51D Mustangs (“Contrary Mary” and “Texas/The Hun Hunter”), a Grumman FM.2 Wildcat, Catalina, B-17 Flying Fortress and five Spitfires: a trio of Mk.Is, Mk.XIB MH434 and PR.XI PL963 in “THANK U NHS” markings.

For more information, and to book tickets, visit the official website.

Thunder Over Michigan nets Blue Angels and Thunderbirds

YPSILANTI | Thunder Over Michigan has become the second show of 2021 to secure both of the US military’s jet aerobatic teams, the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds.

Held at Willow Run Airport on the 7th-8th August, Thunder Over Michigan was already due to feature the Thunderbirds, with the Blue Angels announcing their participation earlier today (14th July). Although it is rare to for a show to host both teams, a sparser-than-usual airshow season already saw both teams perform at the KC Airshow earlier this month. Previously, they had not flown at the same show since 2019, and before that, 2007.

To maximise spectator numbers while allowing for a drive-in format, the airshow will be held in two halves – one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with tickets for each half being sold seperately. It is likely that each team will perform once daily, with one team acting as the headliner for each slot.

As well as the double jet team headliner, the event will also feature solo displays from the USAF’s F-35A Lightning II demonstration team, the US Navy’s EA-18G Growler demonstration team and a variety of warbirds, including 17 B-25 Mitchells.

Kecskemet Airshow 2021 to host Turkish Stars, Saudi Hawks, Krila Oluje and more

KECSKEMET | This year’s Kecskemet Airshow is to feature one of the best military airshow line ups of 2021, according to information released by the event’s organisers over the past two weeks.

The star-studded line up for the seven-hour flying display is to include aerobatic teams such as the Turkish Stars, Saudi Hawks, Krila Oluje (Wings of Storm) and Aerobatic Team Orlik, with the Turkish and Saudi teams making their Hungarian debuts.

Solo displays at this year’s event will include a Typhoon FGR.4 from the UK, F-2000A Typhoon and C-27J Spartan from Italy, Czech L-159 ALCA, JAS-39C Gripen, Mi-171 and Mi-24, Swedish SK-60, Romanian MiG-21 and an Embraer KC-390.

The Hungarian armed forces will also stage a half-hour “total capability demonstration” featuring fast jets, helicopters and transport aircraft, working in collaboration with troops on the ground.

Last held in 2010 and 2013, the Kecskemet Airshow is the Hungarian Armed Forces’ showcase event. It also has a track record of enticing aerobatic teams not usually seen in the EU, such as the Russian Knights eight years ago. In early 2021, the Russian Knights announced their participation in this year’s show, but they have not been mentioned in more recent press releases or schedules.

In addition to their tickets, adult visitors must bring photo ID and proof of being fully vaccinated against coronavirus to be permitted entry.

India’s Sarang aerobatic team touch down in Russia for MAKS 2021

MOSCOW | The Indian Air Force has dispatched the Sarang display team to Russia for the first time, ahead of MAKS 2021, touching down at Zhukovsky Airport this morning (Tuesday 13th July)

Photo: Indian Air Force (via Twitter)

Images show the team’s aircraft being carried aboad a C-17 transport aircraft en-route to the Russian aerospace trade show, marking the team’s first visit to the country and the first participation of an Indian-built aircraft in the event’s flying display.

Formed in 2003 and based at Sulur AFS in Tamil Nadu, Sarang are the Indian Air Force’s secondary aerobatic team, flying four Indian-built HAL Dhruv helicopters. Their overseas debut came at the Singapore Airshow 2004, followed by a UK tour in 2008. Sarang have already performed at one event abroad this year in Colombo, Sri Lanka, as well as participating in Aero India, where they staged the world’s first combined display of jet-powered and rotary-wing display teams, flying with the Indian Air Force’s main aerobatic team, Surya Kiran.

Photo: Ministry of Defence, Government of India

MAKS 2021 is only the second major in-person trade airshow to go ahead since the coronavirus pandemic took hold last spring. Airbus will be bringing its A350-1000 to the event for the first time, but it is Russia’s own aerospace industry that will take centrestage, with the Sukhoi Su-35 and Su-57E expected to be highlights of the flying display. Participating teams will include the Russian Knights, Swifts, Russian Falcons and Berkuts from the Russian Air Force and the civilian First Flight aerobatic team.

The event will be held at Zhukovsky Airport on the outskirts of Moscow on the 20th-25th July.

Organisers had previously signalled their intention to host the Republic of Korea Air Force’s Black Eagles in 2021, which this website covered with some scepticism last year. With the Black Eagles currently busy in their home country and no further mention of the team in connection with MAKS 2021, these plans appear not to have come to fruition.

Rescheduled RAF Cosford Airshow cancelled, “grand return” planned for 2022

COSFORD | This year’s RAF Cosford Airshow has been cancelled due to coronavirus uncertainty, but event organisers are planning a “grand return” in 2022.

Organisers blamed the decision on the rapid spread of the Delta varient, as well as the UK government’s decision to delay the scrapping of remaining coronavirus restrictions until at least the 19th July, which they said amounted to “too much uncertainty.”

Originally scheduled for June, the Cosford Airshow was extended to a two day event and postponed until the 11th-12th September, in the hope it would increase the show’s chances of going ahead. The Red Arrows, RAF Typhoon solo display and RAF Falcons had announced their intention to participate.

“Taking this decision now ensures that the future of RAF Cosford Air Shows is secure and we can now focus on our grand return to the skies in 2022,” they said. “We are devastated to be in this position once again but, as with many events, the health and safety of the public, as well as our serving personnel, and the financial security of future shows must be our priorities.”

Next year’s show will tell the story of aviation and royalty, and commemorate aviation and engineering achievements during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, who celebrates her Platinum Jubilee next June. Dates are yet to be announced.

Ticket holders can opt to roll their tickets over until next year or request a refund.

Saudi Hawks seemingly planning European tour next month

The Saudi Hawks are seeingly planning a European tour in late August – their first since 2019.

The Kecskemet Airshow in Hungary has announced the team for its 2021 show, due to be held on the 28th-29th August. It will be the team’s first visit to Hungary.

Although not officially announced, the website of Gdynia AeroBaltic in Poland also features images of the Saudi Hawks – the only team featured on their site which doesn’t yet appear in the official programme. The Hawks have also been included in promotional images on Facebook, alongside other acts that have been officially confirmed.

AeroBaltic’s organisers already have a relationship with the team, and hosted them at their most recent show in 2019. This year’s event is scheduled for the 21st-22nd August, just one week before Kecskemet.

If Gdynia was to host the Saudi Hawks, it would be the first time that three aerobatic teams flying the Hawk have performed at a single airshow; the Red Arrows and Midnight Hawks have already been announced.

The week after Kecskemet is Athens Flying Week – another show which the Saudi Hawks have visited in the past. However, there is no public indication yet that they are planning a return visit to Greece this year.

The team first visited Europe in 2011, and have returned several times since, displaying in countries such as Greece, Poland, the UK, Belgium and Austria. They currently fly seven BAE Hawk Mk.65s.

Aerobatic Team Orlik release 2021 schedule, plan to display as six-ship

Aerobatic Team Orlik, one of the Polish Air Force’s two major aerobatic teams, have released their 2021 airshow schedule, including overseas dates in Hungary, Slovakia and Italy.

After the cancellation of their planned appearance at Airshow Margonin due to poor weather, the team made their 2021 debut at Antidotum Airshow Leszno in late June. Despite earlier indicating they would fly as a five-ship team this year, the team staged a limited three-ship show, recorded here by This is Flight. Now, they say that, with new pilots being trained up, the remainder of this year’s season will see a minimum of six aircraft taking part in the display.

Team Orlik, which draws on Poland’s small fleet of fully operational PZL-130 Orlik aircraft and flight instructors, has seen big fluctuations in size, ranging from nine aircraft in the late 2000s to as few as one plane in 2018. A six-ship display would be the team’s largest in four years.

Poland’s other aerobatic team, Bialo-Czerwone Iskry, will be taking part in its final full display season this summer, ahead of the retirement of their TS-11 Iskra jets in 2022. Like Team Orlik, their numbers have risen as high as nine in the past, but are expected to be a maximum of five in 2021.

Date Show Location Country
Jun 18-19 Poland Antidotum Airshow Leszno Poland
Jul 31 Poland Święto 42 Baza Lotnictwa Szkolnego Radom Poland
Aug 7 Poland Nałęczów Poland
Aug 8 Poland Ketrzyn – Gizycko Poland
Aug 21-22 Poland Gdynia AeroBaltic Airshow Gdynia Poland
Aug 28-29 Hungary Kecskemét International Airshow Kecskemét Hungary
Sep 4 Poland Festyn Lotniczy Mirosławiec Mirosławiec Poland
Sep 4-5 Slovakia Slovak International Air Fest Malacky-Kuchyňa Slovakia
Sep 11 Poland Kazimierz Dolny Poland
Sep 18 Poland 75 Lecie Aeroklub Mielecky Mielec Poland
Sep 18-19 Italy Frecce Tricolori 60th Anniversary Rivolto Poland
Oct 1 Poland Deblin Poland

The Flying Bulls’ T-28 crashes fatally in Czech Republic

PRAGUE | The Flying Bulls’ T-28B Trojan has crashed fatally during a ferry flight near the Czech village of Zvíkovské Podhradí.

The accident took place at around 5pm local time on Sunday 20th June as the aircraft returned to its base in Salzburg, Austria, after participating in Antidotum Airshow Leszno in Poland. The organisation’s B-25 Mitchell, P-38 Lightning, P-51 Mustang and Bolkow Bo.105 also participated.

According to a statement from the Flying Bulls, two people were on board at the time of the accident. The pilot, 54-year-old Rainer Steinberger, was killed in the accident, while a passenger was seriously injured and was taken to hospital in Prague.

Rainer was a greatly respected and experienced pilot as well as a dear friend to all of us,” the collection said on Facebook. “Rainer’s friends in the Flying Bulls are shocked beyond words by this tragedy and hold in their thoughts the family of Rainer and his other very many friends.”

Antidotum Airshow Leszno said there were no words to express their sorrow.

Yet another new French Air Force display team – this time flying the PC-21

COGNAC | The French Air & Space Force have announced yet another new unit joining their fast-growing selection of aerobatic display teams.

Photo: Armee de l’Air et de l’Espace (via Facebook)

Coming from BA709 Cognac – Chateaubernard, the new team, known as Mustang X-Ray, will fly two Pilatus PC-21s. It is the first time the PC-21 will be part of a formal French Air Force display team, having entered service in 2019. The base’s Facebook page says the display will highlight “several aerial figures illustrating the work done in training aircrew.”

The team will comprise two display pilots, Captain Nicolas ′′Ebay′′ and Captain Laurent ′′Dave”, as well as team coach and former Alpha Jet display pilot Captain Laurent “Jim”. All three are full-time flight instructors at Cognac.

Their first public display will be at the Sports et Collection airshow and racing event in Poitiers on the 12th-13th June.

New French Air Force demonstration teams announced since 2020 include:

  • Mustang X-Ray (x2 PC-21)
  • Gusto Tactical Display (x2 Mirage 2000C)
  • Rafale Solo Display: Requin Mike (x2 Rafale B)
  • Rafale Solo Display: Bravo Vautour (x2 Rafale C)

They are added to the existing Rafale Solo Display, Equipe de Voltige, A400M Tactical Display and the Patrouille de France.

Patrouille de France 2021 airshow schedule

The Patrouille de France have released their 2021 airshow schedule. Starting in June but with minimal commitments until August, the team will have a busy second half to their season, but are only displaying at two overseas airshows this year.

Date Show Location Country
Jun 12-13 France Sport et Collection Poitiers – Le Vigeant France
Jun 20 France French Grand Prix Le Castlellet France
Aug 6-8 Finland Kaivopuisto Airshow Helsinki Finland
Aug 9 France Meeting Plage Adge France
Aug 15 France Meeting Aerien Toulon France
Aug 16 France La Lavandou Meeting Aerien La Lavandou France
Aug 21 France Fete de l’Air L’Alp de Huez France
Aug 21-22 France Meeting International de la Somme Albert – Picardie France
Aug 27 France Meeting Plage Perros-Guirec France
Aug 28-29 France Meeting Aerien: Les Temps des Helices La Ferte-Alais, France
Sep 4-6 Greece Athens Flying Week Tanagra Greece
Sep 11-12 France Aero Legend Melun – Villaroche France
Sep 18-19 France Journées Portes Ouvertes BA116 Luxeuil Luxeuil – St. Savoire France