Category Archives: Airshow News Europe

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.

RAF Typhoon Solo Display 2021 schedule

CONINGSBY | The RAF Typhoon Solo Display will feature at eight events in 2021, according to an intial schedule released by the team. This will include six in the UK, one in France and one in Finland.

Date Show Location Country
Jun 5-6 United Kingdom Midlands Air Festival Ragley Hall, Alcester UK
Jul 24-25 United Kingdom Duxford Summer Airshow IWM Duxford UK
Aug 6-8 Finland Kaivopuisto Airshow Helsinki Finland
Sep 2-5 United Kingdom Bournemouth Air Festival Bournemouth UK
Sep 4 United Kingdom Chatsworth Country Fair Chatsworth Park UK
Sep 11 United Kingdom Abingdon Air & Country Show Dalton Barracks UK
Sep 11-12 United Kingdom RAF Cosford Airshow Cosford UK
Sep 18-19 France Journées Portes Ouvertes BA116 Luxeuil Luxeuil – St. Savoire France

RAF Red Arrows release 2021 airshow schedule

SCAMPTON | The RAF Red Arrows have released their 2021 display schedule and display routine, coinciding with their Public Display Authority being awarded today (Thursday 20th May).

The team’s 2021 PDA – a high-level certification that the team are safe and permitted to display to the public – was awarded at Tanagra Air Base in Greece, where the team are conducting spring training.

Following the announcement of the PDA, details of the Reds’ 2021 season were revealed on their website. The team will perform at a much smaller selection of events than usual this year, with just eight planned in the UK, as well as two in the Channel Islands, two in Belgium and one in Poland.

It is likely that further displays will be added, as individual airshows have already declared the team to be unavaible due to “operational commitments” on dates left vacant on today’s schedule.

This year’s display routine will include several new and modified manoeuvres, including Boomerang, Python and the Rolling Heart. The Wall Arrival, Hammer Break and Mirror Roll will return to the display for the first time since 2017, 2016 and 2015 respectively, while the Corkscrew, Vertical Break and Carosel have been dropped this year.

It has been almost two years since the team’s last UK display due to an extensive North American tour in 2019 and numerous airshow cancellations in 2020. You can see their full schedule below:

Date Show Location Country
Jun 4-5 United Kingdom Midlands Air Festival Ragley Hall, Alcester UK
Jun 25 United Kingdom Battle of Britain Airshow Headcorn UK
Jun 27 Belgium Belgian Air Force Days Florennes Belgium
Jul 8-11 United Kingdom Goodwood Festival of Speed Goodwood UK
Jul 18 United Kingdom British Grand Prix Silverstone UK
Jul 24-25 United Kingdom Duxford Summer Airshow IWM Duxford UK
Aug 20-22 Poland AeroBaltic Gdynia Poland
Aug 27 United Kingdom Sidmouth Air Display Sidmouth UK
Sep 2-5 United Kingdom Bournemouth Air Festival Bournemouth UK
Sep 9 Jersey Jersey International Air Display St. Helier Jersey
Sep 9 Guernsey Guernsey Air Display St. Peter Port Guernsey
Sep 10 Belgium Sanicole Sunset Airshow Hechtel Belgium
Sep 11-12 United Kingdom RAF Cosford Airshow Cosford UK

The team’s 2021 display routine is as follows:

FULL (5,500ft+) ROLLING (2,500-5,500ft) FLAT (1,000-2,500ft)
Wall Arrival Wall Arrival Wall Arrival
Pyramid to Nine Arrow Loop Nine Arrow to Diamond Rollbacks Nine Arrow to Diamond Rollbacks
Diamond Roll Diamond Roll Diamond Present
Swan to Feathered Arrow Loop and Feathered Arrow Present Feathered Arrow Present Feathered Arrow Present
Big Vixen Roll Big Vixen Roll Big Vixen Present
Tornado Tornado Tornado
Hammer Break Detonator Detonator
Gypo Pass (Gypo) Gypo Pass (Gypo) Gypo Pass (Gypo)
Cyclone (Synchro) Cyclone (Synchro) Cyclone (Synchro)
Goose (Enid, 8) Goose (Enid, 8) Goose (Enid, 8)
Heart (Synchro, 9) Rolling Heart (Synchro, 9) Vortex (Synchro, 9)
Opposition Barrel (Synchro) Opposition Barrel (Synchro) Opposition Barrel (Synchro)
Slalom (Enid) Slalom (Enid) Slalom (Enid)
Mirror Roll (Gypo) Mirror Roll (Gypo) Mirror Flat (Gypo)
Rollbacks (Enid) Rollbacks (Enid) Rollbacks (Enid)
Gypo Break (Gypo) Gypo Break (Gypo) Gypo Break (Gypo)
Crossbow (Synchro) Crossbow (Synchro) Crossbow (Synchro)
Python (Enid, 8, 9) Python (Enid, 8, 9) Revolution (Enid, 8, 9)
Boomerang (Synchro) Opposition Barrel (Synchro) Opposition Barrel (Synchro)
Vixen Break (Enid, 8, 9) Vixen Break (Enid, 8, 9) Vixen Break (Enid, 8, 9)

 

Red Arrows and Boeing 727 to star at Jersey Int’l Air Display

ST. HELIER | This year’s Jersey Air Display will see the return of the RAF Red Arrows, as well as welcoming 2Excel Aviation’s Boeing 727 for the first time, according to the Jersey Evening Post.

The Red Arrows will headline this year’s event on Thursday 9th September, expected to be their first display on the island for three years. Up until 2016, the Reds had visited Jersey every single year for almost half a century, but they were forced to the event in 2016 and 2019 due to overseas tours. Jersey’s 2020 air display was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Performing alongside this Jersey Air Display staple will be 2Excel Aviation’s Boeing 727-2S2F (RE). The company, which is better-known among enthusiasts for owning the Blades aerobatic and racing teams, uses a pair of Lasham-based 727s on oil spill response duties, but the type has displayed at airshows on occasion, including at Farnborough and Cosford.

Also taking part will be the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, performing with their Avro Lancaster and two Spitfires.

Airshow organiser Mike Higgins told the Post that various measures are being considered to bring the event in line with the island’s coronavirus restrictions. This could include extending the display line or allowing public access to the beach, which is usually closed, to help the crowd spread out more thinly.

Jersey is a self-governing dependency of the UK, and permission for the show must be granted by local authorities. However, the Post reports that organisers are confident the event will go ahead.

Team Orlik expands to five aircraft for 2021, as Team Iskry gears up for final season

Aerobatic Team Orlik, one of the Polish Air Force’s two official aerobatic teams, will take a further step towards normality, adding a fifth aircraft for the 2021 display season, while Bialo-Czerwone Iskry prepare to start their final year of displays.

Photo: Jakub Hałun / Wikimedia Commons

One of just a few air forces to field two official aerobatic teams, both units have faced a chequered few years. The ageing PZL TS-11bis Iskra training jets operated by the Polish Air Force were retired in 2020, but seven TS-11 MR aircraft (the type used by Bialo-Czerwone Iskry) will be retained until summer 2022. That means that 2021 will be the team’s final display season, according to Polish media reports.

The team are reportedly due to participate in four unspecified airshows this year and will fly as a six-ship team, but the type may return for one last outing on Polish Army Day on the 15th August 2022, marking the TS-11’s final retirement.

Although Bialo-Czerwone Iskry is the better known of Poland’s two teams, it is Aerobatic Team Orlik that most frequently represent the country on the international stage. Founded as a five-ship team in 1998, they quickly expanded to seven, and later nine, aircraft, however numbers have fluctuated since then.

Budget constraints saw the team temporarily suspended in 2006, and later reduced to just five planes. Returning briefly to nine-ship status in 2009, they have flown with seven aircraft most years since then, until upgrades to the Polish Air Force’s PZL-130 fleet forced displays to drop to just one or two aircraft in 2018.

Team Orlik expanded to four aircraft for the 2019 season, but faced further setbacks in 2020, when several long-standing pilots retired. Despite that, the team will add a fifth aircraft in 2021. The display pilots will be Col. Dariusz Stachurski, Capt. Jakub Krych, Capt. Michał Jabłoński, Capt. Tomasz Litwinek and Capt. Sebastian Rajchel.

No schedule has been published for Aerobatic Team Orlik at the time of writing, but one event – Air Show Margonin on the 12th June – has already announced that the team will participate.

Polish Air Force F-16C “Tiger Demo Team” 2021 schedule

POZNAN | The Polish Air Force F-16C Tiger Demo Team’s 2021 airshow schedule has been released by the 31st Tactical Air Base at Poznan.

The base’s Facebook page said training flights would begin today (Wednesday 19th May), with six shows currently planned this year in four countries.

The Tiger Demo Team was formed in 2016, with training conducted by Greece’s Zeus Demo Team.

Date Show Location Country
Jun 18-19 Poland Antidotum Airshow Leszno Poland
Jul 31 Poland Radom Poland
Aug 21-22 France Meeting International de la Somme – Hauts Albert – Picardie France
Sep 4-5 Greece Athens Flying Week Tanagra Greece
Sep 10-12 Belgium International Sanicole Airshow Hechtel Belgium
Sep 20 Poland Airshow Lask Lask Poland

Historic Helicopters to restore ultra-rare Westland Widgeon to flight

CHARD | Historic Helicopters have announced the intention to restore yet another rare classic helicopter to flight – this time, an ultra-rate Westland Widgeon.

First flying in 1955, the Widgeon was an improved varient of the Westland WS-51 Dragonfly utility helicopter, itself a license-built varient of the Sikorsky S-51. Although used by four air arms – including the Brazilian Navy and the air force’s of Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Jordan – only 12 Widgeons were produced, in addition to three Dragonfly conversions.

Chard-based Historic Helicopters already operate one Westland Wessex HU.5, a Westland Whirlwind HAR.10 (the only Whirlwind flying today), a Sea King HAR.3 and Sea King HC.4. They are in the process of restoring a Lynx AH.7 and two more Sea Kings, with a further pair of Sea Kings also due to be restored in due course.