Category Archives: Airshow News Europe

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

French Air Force Rafale Solo Display 2021 airshow schedule

The French Air Force’s Rafale Solo Display has posted its 2021 schedule on Facebook. As well as shows in France, the team are due to travel to Poland, Spain, Greece, the UAE and Finland.

Date Show Location Country
Jun 12-13 France Meeting Aerien Le Vigeant France
Jun 20 Spain Gijon Airshow Gijon Spain
Jul 17 France Meeting Aerien Saumer France
Jul 24 France Meeting Aerien des Foutes Volants Coetquidan – St. Cyr 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 20-22 Poland AeroBaltic Gdynia Poland
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
Sep 25-26 France Meeting Aerien des Etoiles et des Ailes Toulouse France
Oct 2-3 France Ailes et Volcans Cervolix France
Pct 9-10 France Meeting Aerien St. Jean de Luz France
Nov 14-18 United Arab Emirates Dubai Airshow Dubai World Centre UAE

For the first time since the pandemic, UK gets three-way airshow clash this weekend

The United Kingdom is to host three separate airshows this weekend, for the first time since 2019.

Featuring acts from the Red Arrows to the Buchon, FM-2 Wildcat, Global Stars and Jetstream, Brits can choose between three world-class air displays displays at Ragley Hall, Old Warden and Duxford.

The largest of the trio is the Midlands Air Festival at Ragley Hall, Alcester. Running from Friday 4th to Sunday 6th May, the Midlands Air Festival is an all-encompassing celebration of  flight, featuring over 120 hot air balloons, 50 aircraft, remote control models, character kites, fireworks and even an airship.

Tickets are still on sale for Friday’s “nightfire” event, which is scheduled to feature a mass balloon launch, balloon nightglow, fireworks and around two hours of evening flying displays. The headline act will be the RAF Red Arrows, performing their first UK display in almost two years. A standard adult ticket costs £26.

Saturday and Sunday, which are both sold out, feature over five hours of flying, which will include military jets like RAF Typhoon, parachute drops from the RAF Falcons, classic aircraft like the PBY-5A Catalina and B-17G Flying Fortress “Sally B”, high-energy aerobatics from Rich Goodwin, a trio of vintage helicopters, barnstorming from the Turbulent Team and a gaggle of formation acts such as Tiger 9 and Team Raven. Also eagerly anticipated is Peter Teichman’s newly-restored Spitfire Mk.IX in Soviet colours, which will be making its airshow debut at the event.

Many of the lighter aircraft will operate from a makeshift runway within the grounds of the Ragley Hall estate.

All visitors must take a coronavirus Lateral Flow Test less than 24 hours before arriving at the event, and must show a negative result in order to be granted access. Once inside, the show will operate as close as possible to pre-pandemic conditions, with visitors free to roam the venue and its ground attractions.

While the Midlands Air Festival has attracted most of the big-name acts this weekend, the Shuttleworth Collection’s Flying Festival of Britain is no less anticipated. Continuing the museum’s successful run of drive-in airshows, this Sunday’s show features a bumper line up of visiting aircraft, including a flypast by the RAF Red Arrows and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Among the visiting aircraft performing full air displays at Old Warden are the Global Stars aerobatic team, who will mount an impressive four-ship display, a pair of de Havilland Dragon Rapides, Bygone Aviation’s Hawker Hurricane Mk.I and Cranfield University’s British Aerospace Jetstream, performing the aircraft’s final flying display before retirement.

25 Collection aircraft are also due to take part, including the Spitfire Mk.Vc, de Havilland Comet, Hawk Speed Six, Lysander, Bristol F2b, Sopwith Pup, Gloster Gladiator and many more, including no fewer than five of Shuttleworth’s priceless “Edwardians”: the Bleroit XI, Blackburn Type D Monoplane, Bristol Boxkite, Avro Triplane and Deperdussin.

Tickets are still available, costing £10 per car space and £39 per person.

The final air display in this weekend’s line up is also scheduled for Sunday 6th September. With a capacity of under 2,000 visitors, IWM Duxford’s second Flying Day of the year sold out long before the flying display line up was announced.

With two hours of flying displays advertised, the last few Flying Days have in fact produced closer to an hour of aerial entertainment, with a strong focus on locally-based aircraft. Ten planes have been announced so far for Sunday’s D-Day themed show: Spitfire Mk.XIb MH434, HA-112 Buchon, FM-2 Wildcat, FG-1D Corsair, three L-4 Grasshoppers, AT-16 Harvard IIB, P-47D Thunderbolt and TF-51D Mustang “Contrary Mary”.

With six Second World War fighters on show, each representing a different aircraft type, the line up possibly makes for Duxford’s most varied and exciting Flying Day since 2019.

Frecce Tricolori get special tail schemes to mark 60th anniversary

RIVOLTO | The Italian Air Force have given five of the Frecce Tricolori’s MB-339A/PAN jets a makeover to mark the team’s 60th anniversary, with six more to follow.

Photo: Aeronautica Militaire

The team debuted some of the new schemes during their first public display of 2021 – a special show at their home base, Rivolto, for members of their fan club, marking the end of the annual training season. The rest of the special paint schemes are yet to be applied.

Five special tail designs (each of which will be applied to two of the display jets)  commemorate the Frecce Tricolori’s predecessors, while the spare aircraft will be given in a modern tail design, featuring the team’s 60th anniversary badge.

The six special schemes were created by Mirco Pecorari of AircraftSutdioDesign. Pecorari’s previous clients have included Michael Goulian, Pemberton Aerosports, Scandinavian Airshow, the Mayzus Jet Team, Matthias Dolderer Racing, Greg Connell Airshows, Rolls Royce, Gary Ward, Aude Lemordant and others.

The past Italian Air Force teams represented on the Frecce’s modern day display jets are:

  • Cavallino Rampante (Prancing Horse): Active in 1956 and 1957, flying five red, white and blue Canadair Sabre Mk.4 jets. Two jets today will bear the team’s logo on its tail, although the design bears only a limited resemblance to the original paint scheme.
  • Getti Tonanti (Thunder Jets): A six-ship team of F-84F Thunderstreaks active in 1959 and 1960. The wings of each jet were painted in the Italian national colours, while the nose, tail and spine of each aircraft wore the colours of one of the Olympic rings. The tail also featured an image of the rings themselves, as the team featured in the 1960 Olympic Games opening ceremony. This year, two aircraft feature Getti Tonanti’s orange tail design, the colour worn by the lead aircraft in 1960.
  • Tigri Bianche (White Tigers): Active in 1955 and 1956, Tigri Bianche was a five-ship team of F-86G Thunderjets. They were the first Italian aerobatic team to visit the United States. The original aircraft had the Italian flag on their tail, but in 2021, the two aircraft’s tails will wear orange, yellow and blue – Tigri Bianche’s team colours.
  • Diavoli Rossi (Red Devils): Active from 1957-1959, another six-ship team of Thunderstreaks. Like Tigri Bianche, they undertook a US tour (in this case, in 1959). This year, at least one Frecce Tricolori jet wears Diavoli Rossi’s original tail design.
  • Lanceri Neri (Black Lancers): A six-ship team of Canadair Sabre Mk.4s active in 1958 and 1959. The aircraft were painted all-black, except for the underside of the wings, which featured the colours of the Italian flag. In 2021, the Frecce Tricolori jet pays tribute to the team with a black tail featuring the original team crest.

The current Frecce Tricolori team was founded on the 1st March 1961 and is the joint largest jet aerobatic team in the world today. They are shortly due to swap their ageing MB-339A/PANs for the M345 High Efficiency Trainer.

To find out more about the Frecce Tricolori, click here.

Flying Legends 2021 cancelled just two weeks after tickets went on sale

SYWELL | The first edition of Flying Legends to be held at Sywell Airfield has been cancelled due to coronavirus uncertainty.

The show’s forced eviction from its former home of IWM Duxford, combined with the coronavirus pandemic, had left the event’s future hanging in the balance, but tickets for this year’s event were finally put on sale only two weeks ago on the 12th May. Over 30 aircraft had already been confirmed.

Airshow director Nick Grey attributed the decision to comments made by the Prime Minister yesterday (Thursday 27th May) which cast doubt on plans to fully scrap lockdown rules on June 21st.

“It is with deep regret and a heavy heart that we must cancel this year’s event,” he said.  “We understand the government’s careful position but cannot safely stay the course in the light of the potential loss and lack of clarity so close to show time.”

“On a personal note and in the name of the whole team at The Fighter Collection who have worked so hard this past year to prepare the aircraft and the show itself, please know that this decision has not come lightly. We are very sad but pray that next year will be COVID free for all and that Flying Legends 2022 will be a classic.”

The airshow had in place a money-back guarantee in the event of a coronavirus-related cancellation, and the show have promised to reimburse all customers who have already purchased tickets.

French Air Force unveils Rafale Solo Display special-scheme jet

The French Air & Space Force today released a short video debuting the Rafale Solo Display’s 2021 paint scheme.

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

The Rafale Solo Display typically introduce a new special-scheme aircraft each spring, with the design being removed at the end of the airshow season. This year’s design

The French Air Force releases its display schedules later than most, and dates for the Rafale Solo Display are yet to be published.

RAF Typhoon solo display unveils special-scheme jet

CONINGSBY | The Royal Air Force Typhoon solo display have unveiled the 2021-22 special scheme jet on their social media platforms.

DELETE OCT 21

Photo: BAE Systems (via Twitter)

The aircraft, which features a matte black fuselage, red tail with RAF roundel and styalised Union Jacks on the canards and wings, was debuted on an Instagram livestream on Friday 28th September. The scheme has been applied to ZJ914, which was already painted matte black for aggressor duties in autumn 2020.

It is the first full-aircraft Typhoon special scheme since a Spitfire-style camouflage jet was used to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in 2015.

The team’s first display will be at the Midlands Air Festival on the 5th-6th June. Its official schedule can be found here. Additionally, the Old Buckenham Airshow on the 30th July-1st August has also announced the aircraft’s participation. The team have already been awarded their Public Display Authority for this year.

As well as being used throughout the 2021 airshow season, the special scheme will remain through 2022. Alongside its airshow duties, ZJ914 will be used in the training role at Coningsby.

Despite best efforts, drive-in Belgian Air Force Days cancelled

FLORENNES | The first attempt to host a drive-in airshow in Belgium has been scrapped due to coronavirus uncertainty and construction work.

The Belgian Air Force has pulled the plug on the much-loved Belgian Air Force Days, one of only two major airshows in the country, due to be held from the 26th-27th June. There was due to be capacity for 6,000 cars each day, with spectators enjoying performers such as the Swiss Air Force’s F-18C Hornet solo display and the RAF Red Arrows.

A post on the show’s Facebook page read: “Unfortunately, what was supposed to be the first ever ‘drive-in experience’ in Belgian aviation history, will not take place. It was not politically advisable to support the organisation of the BAFDAYS at a time when there was still uncertainty about the possibility of organising mass demonstrations this summer.

“Our project was innovative, solid and realistic in the current circumstances of the pandemic and could serve as a demonstration of the possibility to organise mass events differently,” they added.

They also said that postponing the airshow to later this summer is “not an option”. Florennes Air Base is starting to prepare for the arrival of the MQ-9 Reaper and F-35 Lightning, with infrastructure works begining this summer. “This is hardly compatible with the organisation of an airshow,” they said.

This is not likely to threaten future editions of the event, as while deliveries of the F-35 and MQ-9 will not begin until 2023, the Belgian Air Force Days are held biannually and rotate between Florennes and Kleine Brogel. This means works at Florennes will likely be complete before it is next due to host a show.

Organisers said they hoped to host another show in the “not too far future and in normal sanitary conditions.”

Visitors must take coronavirus test to attend Midlands Air Festival

RAGLEY HALL | Visitors to next month’s Midlands Air Festival will be required to present evidence of a negative coronavirus test in order to be granted access.

The measure, which applies to all visitors over the age of 12, was requested by the local council at a meeting with airshow organisers. Tests must be taken within 24 hours of arriving at the show, but while daily testing is encouraged, visitors who attend on multiple days will only be required to take one test.

Lateral Flow Tests are available free of charge, and can be delivered within two days of ordering to any UK address via the government website. They can also be collected from most chemists, or conducted at a testing site, as well as being available at some workplaces.

Test packs posted to homes each contain seven testing kits, which are self-administered. They involve taking a swab from the throat and nose, and will display a result after half an hour. The result must then be reported via the government website within 24 hours of taking the test, following which the recipient will recieve text and email confirmation. Visitors must bring a digital or printed copy of the confirmation email to the airshow.

Those who recieve a positive result, and their close contacts, are legally obliged to self-isolate for at least ten days. However, they can order a more accurate PCR test, which are also available for free in certain circumstances, from which a negative result could then override their quarantine obligations.

Although capacity limits and legal restrictions on large events are set by the central government, local authorities have the final say in approving or rejecting applications to host major events. This gives them the power to impose additional restrictions to protect the local community. Other UK airshows, including Flying Legends, have also hinted that testing may be required as a condition of entry, and the Weston Park Model Airshow have announced a similar rule.

The Midlands Air Festival, scheduled for the 4th-6th June, will be only the third non-drive-in UK air display of 2021, but the first to enforce mandatory testing. It is due to feature the first Red Arrows display in the country for almost two years, as well as performances by the RAF Typhoon, Tiger 9 Aeronautical Display Team, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the airshow debut of Peter Teichman’s newly-restored “Russian” Spitfire. Over 100 hot air balloons, model aircraft and character kites will also take part, in addition to an evening pyrotechnic display and firework show on the opening day.