NLD Piestany - Slovak Air Show
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An airshow in a spa town? That seems to be a highly unlikely combination, but it can be possible as proved recently in Slovakia. The 2. Národné Letecké Dni (National Air Day) was held on June, 14.-15. 2008 and attracted quite some people at this former Slovak Air Force training base.
Where? Piestany, Slovak Republic
Piestany is located nearly a one hour drive north-east of Slovakia's capital Bratislava and the NLD can be seen as the replacement of the highly successful SIAD (Slovak Int'l Air Display). SIAD had to be moved from Bratislava airport due to the increasing traffic there, but never really revived once it was cancelled for the first time.
In the second edition of the NLD the emphasis was clearly based on 'National', as the flying consisted nearly exclusively of Slovak Air Force (SlAF) aircraft and a Czech Gripen and L-159A aircraft. Adding to this only one foreign jet, a Hungarian L-39, could be found in the static display. On the first view kind of disappointment, but the great flying and the smoke of some MiG-29s in the air nothing but a distant memory.
The morning began with a massive - at least it was a huge part of the inventory of the SlAF - fly-past of 3x Mi-17, 3x Mi-24, 3x L-410, 3x L-39 and 3x MiG-29 that performed a nice split at the end of the runway. The missing type in the inventory of the SlAF, an An-26 served some parachutist shortly afterwards.
Fly-By of the Slovak Air Force - Helicopter Mi-17 & Mi-24
3-ship formations of L-410 & L-39
3-ship of MiG-29 & An-26 with parachutists
The Slovak MiG-29 was seen later on in a Solo Display with a lot of turning&burning around the airfield, though missing the flares that I was still used from my last visit to the SIAD in 2004. Another jet display was the one of the L-39, making the most out of its performance during the display.
MiG-29 - Solo Display
L-39 Solo Display
At the end of the day the MiGs arrived once again from their homebase Sliac in order to present an Interception Exercise. The intruder was provided by a SlAF An-26, which was forced to land at Piestany after a fly-by in formation with the two MiG-29s, including the Tiger MiG-29UB(S) '1303'. While is was coming in to land the MiGs continued to circle around and make some noise:
Interception Exercise - An-26 & 2x MiG-29