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Where? Sliac Airport, Slovakia
When? 27-28/08/2011

After the SIAD and the NLD it was this year that Slovakia's big international airshow came to light as the SIAF. Whereas in recent years the big yearly Slovak Airshow NLD has been held in Slovakia's Western part as Bratislava or Piestany, SIAF chose the Slovak MiG-29 home base Sliac in the Tatra region as the new location – and this was more than one good reason to come back.
Situated in a valley of the Tatra mountain region, Sliac is about a 2h drive from the capital Bratislava, with several picturesque cities nearby that make it easy to spent some nice evenings after the long and exhausting show days.

But of course at the end of August the main reason was to got there and see the show with some nice aircraft and to have a great day out. The showground opened at 8am with the first visitors already flocking in – however their first stop were not many aircraft in the static display, but the food stalls that already had their barbecue sausages or even a cold beer ready. Things really started getting busy between 9 and 10 in the morning, as the start of the flying program was announced to be at 11am.

0IAF MiG 29 QRA 5050 700 470 90
0IAF MiG 29 QRA 5050 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 QRA 5048 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 QRA 5139 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 QRA 5146 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 QRA 5182 100 67 85

The opening ceremony was followed by aircraft of the Slovak Air Force, and especially its pride, the MiG-29. A 3-ship formation overflew the runway to start the flying program, presenting a nice split at the end of the runway. The special thing about this formation was that two of the participating aircraft were the QRA jets, clearly visible by the pair of R-60 (AA-8 'Aphid') missiles they were carrying. A flag parade with a Mi-17, showing of the European, NATO, Slovak and SIAF flag was next, followed by parachutists out of an An-26.

SIAF MiG 29 Formation 6105 700 470 90
SIAF MiG 29 Formation 6105 100 67 85
SIAF Tu 154 5268 100 67 85
SIAF Tu 154 5791 100 67 85
SIAF Tu 154 5824 100 67 85
ZIAF Mi 17 6153 100 67 85
0SIAF Tu 154 6155 700 470 90
0SIAF Tu 154 6155 100 67 85
0SIAF Tu 154 6163 100 67 85
SIAF Tu 154 5794 100 67 85
SIAF Tu 154 5799 100 67 85
SIAF Tu 154 6176 100 67 85

As also shown during previous Slovak shows the Governmental Tu-154 from Bratislava was next, this time being escorted by two MiG-29s. What a beautiful orchestra of the Kuznetsov and Klimov sounds that was!

SIAF An 26 5086 700 470 90
SIAF An 26 5086 100 67 85
SIAF An 26 6119 100 67 85

The L-39 solo display followed, with a red/blue/white Albatross performing aerobatics in the deep blue sky. Added to this scheme also previously worn by the Biely Albatrossy Team was the new writing www.2sqn.sk on the tail, attracting attention to the wings website. The big final of this one hour long lasting block of Sl AF performances was the MiG-29 solo demo. cumulating with a big flare ejection at the end of its display on Sunday. Showing this huge variety of Slovak AF aircraft and demonstration it proved to be a wise move to move the event back to a military airfield and building on the direct cooperation with the military.

SIAF L 39 5294 700 470 90
SIAF L 39 5294 100 67 85
SIAF L 39 5301 100 67 85
SIAF L 39 5313 100 67 85
SIAF L 39 5926 100 67 85
SIAF L 39 6129 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Solo 5325 700 470 90
SIAF MiG 29 Solo 5325 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Solo 5342 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Solo 5938 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Solo 5969 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Solo 6048 100 67 85
0IAF Vorstartlinie 6066 700 470 90
0IAF Vorstartlinie 6066 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Solo 5987 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Solo 6017 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Solo 6062 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Solo 6230 100 67 85

That was a big start of the flying activities at Sliac, with the only drawback that this most interesting part was being held under non-favourable photographic conditions around midday with a runway being orientated North-South, but the intention regarding the organizational aspect and choosing this timeslot is more than understandable.

SIAF MiG 29 Formation 5722 700 470 90
SIAF MiG 29 Formation 5722 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Formation 5738 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Formation 5778 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Formation 5814 100 67 85
ZIAF MiG 29 Formation 5804 100 67 85

On Saturday midday temperatures did also easily exceed 30°C, reaching up to 36°C during the afternoon. Queues along the barbecue stalls around this time were long and countless, and even free drinking water was being provided – at least for those who could withstand beer prices of 1€ for half a litre of delicious tasting Slovak amber liquid.

SIAF So 1120122 700 470 90
SIAF So 1120122 100 67 85
SIAF So 5892 100 67 85
SIAF So 5893 100 67 85
SIAF So 5951 100 67 85

Exactly on time and zipping by was the Austrian Eurofighter Typhoon that came in directly from Zeltweg for some fly-bys. Unfortunately it did not present the full-blown display, though the Austrian AF did show of what it is capable at the Zeltweg airshow. The same applies for the Czech Gripen from Caslav, who were present at the same time with their ALCA and Gripen display at the Polish airshow at Radom.

SIAF Eurofighter 5413 700 470 90
SIAF Eurofighter 5413 100 67 85
SIAF Eurofighter 5418 100 67 85
SIAF Gripen 5420 100 67 85
SIAF Gripen 5425 100 67 85

This coincidence of the SIAF and the Radom show did for sure detract the participation for any of the two for many acts. A consultation regarding this aspect might be a wise move for the future.
A more or less sad occasion was the Slovak Mi-24 Hind display as this helicopter is due to retire from Sl AF service at the end of this year. The Mi-17 series helicopter will remain in strength and did show their versatility during a SAR, evacuation and fire-fighting scenario.

0SIAF Mi 24 5107 700 470 90
0SIAF Mi 24 5107 100 67 85
SIAF Mi 24 5103 100 67 85
SIAF Mi 24 5121 100 67 85
SIAF Mi 24 5135 100 67 85
SIAF Mi 24 5452 100 67 85
SIAF Mi 24 5837 100 67 85
SIAF Mi 24 6269 100 67 85
0SIAF Mi 17 6275 700 470 90
0SIAF Mi 17 6275 100 67 85
SIAF Mi 17 5486 100 67 85
SIAF Mi 17 5867 100 67 85
SIAF Mi 17 6283 100 67 85
SIAF Mi 17 6270 700 470 90
SIAF Mi 17 6270 100 67 85
SIAF Mi 17 SAR 5472 100 67 85
SIAF Mi 17 SAR 5477 100 67 85
SIAF Mi 17 SAR 6261 100 67 85

A lot of entertainment was brought by the "Retro Sky Team" from Kosice (http://www.retroskyteam.sk/), performing a mock-up WWII dogfight between German Messerschmitts and Russian aircraft. In this case however the Warbirds were Zlin and Yakovlev aerobatic aircraft, but the Polikarpov Po-2 was real and nice to see and hear in the sky. Zoltán Veres in his MXS was next with a sheer endless aerobatic routine swirling around and using the time before the afternoon's highlight: the MiG-29 dogfight.

SIAF Retro Sky 5507 700 470 90
SIAF Retro Sky 5507 100 67 85
SIAF Retro Sky 5531 100 67 85
SIAF Retro Sky 5874 100 67 85
SIAF Retro Sky 5882 100 67 85

Being a highlight in previous years this display became a bit slow recently and was more a solo routine flown by two aircraft in succession. This year however it became definitely visible that more preparation was involved and the two pilots obviously enjoyed their flight as well. And the dogfight included the use of flares again. How great it was to see this Slovak MiG-29 display back in the air again!

0SIAF MiG 29 Dogfight 5598 700 470 90
0SIAF MiG 29 Dogfight 5598 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Dogfight 5567 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Dogfight 5569 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Dogfight 5610 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Dogfight 5623 100 67 85
0SIAF MiG 29 Dogfight 6169 700 470 90
0SIAF MiG 29 Dogfight 6169 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Dogfight 5532 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Dogfight 5661 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Dogfight 6125 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 Dogfight 6136 100 67 85

At this time it was only 2pm, but for many visitors the airshow was finished and they decided to leave after having once again seen their "local heroes", the MiG-29s. And the high temperatures on Saturday have certainly also contributed to these early departures.

SIAF So 5683 700 470 90
SIAF So 5683 100 67 85
SIAF So 5688 100 67 85
SIAF So 5885 100 67 85
SIAF So 5891 100 67 85

However, the airshow was far from over and many more acts did follow: for example the "Red Bücker" or "The Victors" formation team from Belgium and many more aerobatic displays. Furthermore SIAF has been able to attract the "Baltic Bees", which unfortunately were only present with 4 aircraft this time due to a landing mishap at the MAKS airshow only some days before.

SIAF Baltic Bees 4983 700 470 90
SIAF Baltic Bees 4983 100 67 85
SIAF Baltic Bees 4985 100 67 85
SIAF Baltic Bees 4988 100 67 85
SIAF Baltic Bees 5763 100 67 85

Regarding the military displays the Slovak Air Force did present a scenario with a Mi-17 and L-39, the Austrian PC-7 did fly and the Czech Mi-35 did also perform. However I have to admit that the heat also took its toll on my and regarding the not so favourable photographic conditions I decided that it was time to go for a touristic trip and visited some nearby places. These photos here were thus partly taken during the rehersals for the show.

0SIAF Mi 35 CZ 4971 700 470 90
0SIAF Mi 35 CZ 4971 100 67 85
SIAF Mi 35 CZ 4962 100 67 85
SIAF Mi 35 CZ 4968 100 67 85
SIAF Mi 35 CZ 4978 100 67 85
SIAF Mi 35 CZ 6267 100 67 85
0SIAF L 29 5235 700 470 90
0SIAF L 29 5235 100 67 85
SIAF L 29 5230 100 67 85
SIAF L 29 5244 100 67 85
SIAF L 29 6131 100 67 85
0SIAF Blanik 5212 700 470 90
0SIAF Blanik 5212 100 67 85
SIAF Blanik 5206 100 67 85
SIAF Blanik 5215 100 67 85

Returning to Sliac I saw the Belgian Demo Team F-16 performing over the airfield at half past six. Two aircraft flew in from the Radom show, taking the chance to fly and perform at SIAF as well before returning again to Poland the next morning.

SIAF F 16 B 5755 700 470 90
SIAF F 16 B 5755 100 67 85
SIAF F 16 B 5764 100 67 85
SIAF F 16 B 6040 100 67 85
SIAF F 16 B 6118 100 67 85

Sunday's program was identical to the Saturday show, but with a cloudy sky in the morning and not so hot temperatures, a good tie to wander arond the static display, and remember the sunny conditions during Friday's fly-in.

SIAF Fly In 4925 700 470 90
SIAF Fly In 4925 100 67 85
SIAF Fly In 5015 100 67 85
SIAF Fly In 5747 100 67 85
SIAF Fly In 5787 100 67 85
SIAF Fly In 5796 100 67 85

Looking back at this week-end it was great to see SIAF back in strength again, being hosted on Slovakia's main jet base and presenting Slovak's aviation in style. There was still a lot of free space in the static display and also along the flightline, but it was filled with a nice variety nonetheless. Not to imagine what could have been set-up if it wouldn't have collided with another major airshow.

SIAF Mi 2 5720 700 470 90
SIAF Mi 2 5720 100 67 85
SIAF MiG 29 5894 100 67 85
SIAF Static 5886 100 67 85
SIAF Static 5934 100 67 85
SIAF Static 5699 700 470 90
SIAF Static 5699 100 67 85
SIAF Static 5888 100 67 85
SIAF Static 5946 100 67 85
SIAF Static 5948 100 67 85
SIAF L 39 5916 700 470 90
SIAF L 39 5916 100 67 85
SIAF Static 5926 100 67 85
SIAF Static 5942 100 67 85
SIAF Static 5954 100 67 85
SIAF Static 5988 100 67 85

But an estimated 40.000 on Saturday alone did well prove the public's high interest in such an event and it seems to be pretty sure that the event will be continued like that.
And if you have the chance, take your time and havce a look at the beautifull and most interesting cities such as the capital Bratislava, and Zvolen and Banská Bystrica just nearby Sliac:

P1110949 700 470 90
P1110949 100 67 85
P1110972 100 67 85
P1120005 100 67 85
P1120026 100 67 85
P1120043 100 67 85
P1120053 100 67 85
P1120061 700 470 90
P1120061 100 67 85
P1120063 100 67 85
P1120066 100 67 85
P1120070 100 67 85
P1120075 700 470 90
P1120075 100 67 85
P1120081 100 67 85
P1120087 100 67 85
P1120093 100 67 85

Thanks a lot to all my Slovak friends who helped me during the preparation of my visit to Sliac. I have had a great time there for sure!

Some more photos are linked here and are availabel in higher resolution:

911 Siaf Mig 29 Dogfight Web 911 Siaf Fly In 4950 911 Siaf Mig 29 5973

911 Siaf Mig 29 6064 911 Siaf Mig 29 5761 911 Siaf Mig 29 Dogfight 5610

911 Siaf Mig 29 Qra 5139 911 Siaf Mig 29 Qra 5050 911 Siaf Mig 29 Qra 5182

911 Siaf Mig 29ub 911 Siaf Mig 29 Dogfight 911 Siaf Mig 29 Solo

911 Siaf Fly In 5771 911 Siaf Fly In 5064 911 Siaf Fly In 5038

911 Siaf Fly In 5005 911 Siaf Fly In 4914  911 Siaf Fly In 4894

911 Siaf Mi 2 5720 911 Siaf Mi 35 Cz 4971  911 Siaf Mi 35 Cz 6267

911 Siaf Static 5888  

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