After my visit to Duxford in July I still wanted to see a bit more this year. The choice was not difficult, because if you are a warbird enthusiast and you have already been to Duxford, there is only one more place to go to: Midland, Texas. Midland is the headquarter of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), a volunteer organization that preserves WW II-aircraft and tries to keep them in flying condition.
After the retirement of the Starfighter (see Pratica di Mare Airshow) one jet still to see was highon my list: the Gruman F-14 Tomcat, the last of the big fighters. When they have disappeard from the aircraft carriers in the Pacific and will see their end within the next few years my goal was clear:Oceana, located on the eastcoast of the USA,about a 4h drive south of Washington DC.
Fly Navy !!!
Every year on the Wednesday before the RIAT the RNAS Culdrose helds ist annual Airday. RNAS Culdrose is located in the west of Cornwall near Helston, only a short hop from Land's End. It is the biggest helicopter base in Europe with its numerous Sea Kings for SAR, transport and anti-submarine missions and revently also got equipped with the Merlin.
...for the very first time
After all the military airshows that I have attend this year so far I decided that it was time for a change, I decided to take a step back in time. I was looking for some warbirds. In Europe you do not have to search a lot, there is only o n e place to go: Duxford.
Reims, the capital of the Campagne, France's finest wine region, is also home of the French Air Forces (FAF) Base aérienne 112 (Air Base 112) "Commandant Marin-La-Meslée" which host three fighter wings equipped with Mirage F1. The jets and the prospect of some nice food and wine in the evening made the long trip to this year's open day worthwhile.
This year's Open Doors of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) were dominated by the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the F-16 Fighting Falcon to the Royal Air Force. To celebrate this event an F-16 was painted in the red-white-blue, thus imitating the colourscheme of the very first F-16 prototype. This special coloured bird awaited the crowed at one of the two main entrances.
Every two years the Slovak International Air Display (SIAD) is held at the airport of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic. This year's event was not only seen by the officials as an simple airshow but also as a celebration of the entry into the European Union.
That included the participation of a lot of European countries like Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy or Portugal.
The 50th anniversary of the F-104 Starfighter and the last year of active service within the Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militaria Italiana - AMI) were the reason for an axcellent airshow at Pratica di Mare during the Pentecost weekend.
Many enthusiast travelled the long way to the airbase that is located just south of Rome and is the home of the test facilities of the AMI.
One month before this year's ILA the signs were good that the show might emerge from the status of a small trade fair. Well, at least a little bis. The trade fair has been promoted as the 'Gateway to the East' and everything was made possible to give the russian manufacturers (esp. MiG and Sukhoi) to bring their aircraft to Berlin, and even more important, to take them back ;) But some weeks before the show: big dissapointment:
The first week-end of September 2004 will long be remembered as the week-end during which another of the legendary Swiss airshows like the one in Sion 1997 took place. This year it was time for AIR04 at the Swiss Air Force base Payerne. For the 90th anniversary of the Swiss Air Force (SAF) , the 40th anniversary of the Patrouille Suisse and the 15th of the PC-7 a really impressive programm was presented to the crowd.