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Where? Sliac Air Base, Slovakia
When? 28-29/08/2015

The Slovak International Air Fest SIAF 2015 is always an interesting airshow option. Combined with the Sliac-based 1st “Tiger” Squadron of the Slovak Air Force flying the MiG-29 Fulcrum the announced highlights for this year included the Romanian MiG-21 LanceR and the B-52 Stratofortress.

1SIAF15 Opening MiG 29 3210 Zeitler 700 470 90
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In the end the “Buff” unfortunatly cancelled its visit to the static display and the Romanian LanceR also had to cancel due to ‘operational commitments’, which were most probably related to a training exercise with US ANG F-15 units going on at the same time. Nevertheless there was still plenty to see and it became clearly visible that SIAF has evolved and has itself established well in the European airshow scene.

SIAF15 So 5879 Zeitler 700 470 90
SIAF15 So 5879 Zeitler 100 67 85
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SIAF15 Yak 40 5458 Zeitler 100 67 85
1SIAF15 Opening MiG 29 3622 Zeitler 700 470 90
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In the static display for example two F-15 Eagles of the US ANG could be seen. The jets were send over from Romania, where the US is currently on exercise with the Romanian AF (the same reason why the LanceR cancelled – talk about changing two F-15s on the ground against one MiG-21 in the air…). A rare appearance was also the Tiger helicopter of the German Army, which look very interesting in comparison to the Hind and the Hip parked nearby.

1SIAF15 Static 5322 Zeitler 700 470 90
1SIAF15 Static 5322 Zeitler 100 67 85
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Of course the missing LanceR was quite a blow, and it would been top of the cake in the flying program including also the Slovakian and Polish MiG-29 Fulcrum solo displays. Nevertheless, there was a wealthy mix of aircraft in Sliac on this last August week-end.

1SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 4694 Zeitler 700 470 90
1SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 4694 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 4449 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 4454 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 4489 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 4580 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 4621 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 4629 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 4655 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 4657 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 4678 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 4735 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 5939 Zeitler 100 67 85
1SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 2599 Zeitler 700 470 90
1SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 2599 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 2652 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 2677 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 2685 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 2706 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 2719 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 2732 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 4440 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 4524 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 4530 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 4545 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Poland 4575 Zeitler 100 67 85

The sign of the future for the Slovak AF (Sl AF) was the "Flypast in pairs - Slovak Airforce modernization" fly-by on Saturday. As the SlAF is still using former Soviet-build aircraft and helicopters throughout its inventory replacements with newer, Western-build types are foreseen. UH-60s will replace the venerable Mi-17 as a combat helicopter, mainly used for transport and rescue, 2 C-27J Spartan are ordered to replace the venerable An-26. Also in spring an agreement has been signed with the Czech Air Force and Saab to prepare a future acquisition of the Gripen as a replacement for the Fulcrum.

1SIAF15 Jets 2 Zeitler 700 470 90
1SIAF15 Jets 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 Hawk 2533 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 Hawk 5622 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 L 39 2529 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 Opening Trainer 3347 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 Opening Trainer 3587 Zeitler 100 67 85
1SIAF15 Transport 5704 Zeitler 700 470 90
1SIAF15 Transport 5704 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 An 26 5503 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 An 26 5679 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 C 27J 5522 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 C 27J 5682 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 Helicopter 5690 Zeitler 100 67 85

Thus three formations were seen on Saturday midday: UH-60 and Mi-17, C-27J and An-26, and the MiG-29. Without the Gripen?! It flew for the training on Friday, but obviously had a defect, as it also dropped out of the schedule for the solo display in the afternoon. Quite a shame, but Saab decided only to arrive with one twin-seater and did not bring a spare.

1SIAF15 Gripen 2 Zeitler 700 470 90
1SIAF15 Gripen 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 Gripen 2 Zeitler 3 100 67 85
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SIAF15 Gripen 2 Zeitler 5 100 67 85
SIAF15 Gripen 2 Zeitler 6 100 67 85
SIAF15 Gripen 3196 Zeitler 100 67 85

More cool formations were presented at the opening ceremony of the show at 10am: two MiG-29s in formation and the Slovak L-39, Czech L-159 and British Hawk as a sign of cooperation and heritage!

1SIAF15 MiG 29 Slovak 5145 Zeitler 700 470 90
1SIAF15 MiG 29 Slovak 5145 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Slovak 4038 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Slovak 5178 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Slovak 5189 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Slovak 5253 Zeitler 100 67 85
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SIAF15 MiG 29 Slovak 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Slovak 2 Zeitler 2 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Slovak 2 Zeitler 3 100 67 85
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SIAF15 MiG 29 Slovak 3342 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Slovak 3378 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 MiG 29 Slovak 4010 Zeitler 100 67 85
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1SIAF15 MiG 29UBS 3002 Zeitler 700 470 90
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SIAF15 Mi 17 3285 Zeitler 700 470 90
SIAF15 Mi 17 3285 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 Mi 17 3292 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 Mi 17 5550 Zeitler 100 67 85
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SIAF15 L 39 3387 Zeitler 700 470 90
SIAF15 L 39 3387 Zeitler 100 67 85
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Further NATO partners of the Slovak republic also made their way to this small spa village, which is also a gate of the Tatra Mountains range. The Polish presence for example was quite strong with two CASA 295 transport aircraft in the static display, supporting the Orlik Team and the MiG-29 solo display.

1SIAF15 Orlik 5793 Zeitler 700 470 90
1SIAF15 Orlik 5793 Zeitler 100 67 85
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The Belgian AF participated with the F-16 solo display and the Agusta A109, the Czech Republic brought a Mi-24 to the static display, and the L-159 solo demo, outfitted with the Czech national flag in the back cockpit. The Swedish Gripen completed these jets, and most obviously this jet was brought to Sliac to push once again the envisaged sale to replace the Slovak Fulcrums.

1SIAF15 F 16 3757 Zeitler 700 470 90
1SIAF15 F 16 3757 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 F 16 2752 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 F 16 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
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1SIAF15 L 159 4253 Zeitler 700 470 90
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From Switzerland the well-proven combination of the Swiss PC-7 Team and the F-18 Hornet solo display was another highlight. This was maybe only topped by the impressive performance of the Frecce Tricolori, which are always a crowd favorite. Not only because of the charming Italian commentary, but also by the effectful usage of their smoke system. Thankfully it was always a bit windy, otherwise the extensive use is a shame for the participant to follow, as their visibility can be quite decreased.

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SIAF15 F 18 Hornet 2876 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 F 18 Hornet 2921 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 F 18 Hornet 5483 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 PC 7 Team 3653 Zeitler 100 67 85
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SIAF15 PC 7 Team 2821 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 PC 7 Team 2956 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 PC 7 Team 2961 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 PC 7 Team 2978 Zeitler 100 67 85
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1SIAF15 Frecce Tricolori 5468 Zeitler 700 470 90
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SIAF15 Frecce Tricolori 2769 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 Frecce Tricolori 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
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A lot of applause also went to Zoltán Veres and his aerobatic extravaganza, and flying flat-hat in style! One other rare civilian participant was the P-51D Mustang “Excalibur” of Martin Nepovím from the Czech Republic.

1SIAF15 Blanik 5763 Zeitler 700 470 90
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1SIAF15 P 51 Mustang 3921 Zeitler 700 470 90
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SIAF15 P 51 Mustang 3550 Zeitler 100 67 85
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SIAF15 P 51 Mustang 3882 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 P 51 Mustang 4981 Zeitler 100 67 85
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1SIAF15 Zoltan 4788 Zeitler 700 470 90
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Patrouille de France did arrive from another airshow on Sunday to fly the final demonstration of a stunning(ly) hot airshow week-end. 35°C under a clear blue sky throughout the week-end were enough for me, I was also on my long way back home at this time. But even with missing the last half day of the event, it was once again a perfect week-end in Slovakia. Small, but in style, and still with Fulcrums painting their nice smoketrails in the sky!

SIAF15 Avia B 33 5544 Zeitler 700 470 90
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SIAF15 C 130 Hercules 5452 Zeitler 100 67 85
SIAF15 Static 2809 Zeitler 100 67 85
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1SIAF15 Police 2830 Zeitler 700 470 90
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