The Airpower16 airshow at Zeltweg, Austria was massive! An estimated crowd of 300.000 during two days watched 9 hours of non-stop flying. A total of 240 aircraft was present, many of them for the flying display, the rest was dispersed widely amongst the spectators area. The Austrian Bundesheer provided 53 aircraft and helicopters, Red Bull participated with 29 aircraft. Entry was free, the show was great and rated as a total success!
Where? Zeltweg, Steiermark, Austria
Whereas the Airpower show at Zeltweg, Austria was in previous rather infamous for its long traffic jams upon arrival and departure, this year was absolutely smooth. Despite enhanced security measures, organization this year was perfect and coming and going of the spectators was without any major problems. Most likely this was due to the early opening of the gates before the announced time at 7am, and the decision not to put any of the highlights of the flying display at the very end of the show was very wise. This straightend out any peaks.
Apart from that it was wise to arrive early and to be able to get a seat in front row. Flying started already before 9am and continued non-stop until the late afternoon. Visitors were in for a real treat. The opening ceremony was presented by the state Steiermark / Styria, the Österreichisches Bundesheer (ÖBH / Austrian Armed Forces) and Red Bull. Those three shared the cost of the event to keep the entry free!
Presentation ranged from the Austrian Air Force and modern jets, the Austrian aircraft manufacturer Diamond Aircraft to the Messerschmitt Me262 and a surprise visit by the Airbus A400M.
The historic Jet Formation
A major highlight was the ‘historic jet formation’, presenting all jet types the Austrian Air Force ever flew: De Havilland Vampire, Fouga CM.170 Magister, Saab 29 Tunnan, Saab 35 Draken, Saab 105OE, Northrop F-5E Tiger II and Eurofighter Typhoon. After the formation the Draken, provided by the Swedish Air Force Historic Flight, performed a solo display, as did its brother in arms, the Saab Viggen, later in the afternoon.
Presentations by the Austrian Air Force / ÖBH
Around midday the ÖBH presented their airpower demo that started with an extraction scenario using Bell 212, Blackhawk, Kiowa and Alouette III helicopters, before and ‘intruding’ C-130 Hercules was intercepted by two Eurofighter Typhoons.
The two Eurofighters continued with a spirited two-ship demonstration, which was followed later also by a solo display of the Austrian Eurofighter.
The Flying Bulls
Of course the Flying Bulls were busy at Airpower 2016 as well. They presented the warbird formation of Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair, Alpha Jet, North American B-25J Mitchell and Lockheed P-38L Lightning, their venerable Douglas DC-6 and a formation of North American T-28B Trojan and Bristol 171 Sycamore.
Jet and Helicopter Solo Displays
Solo displays were also numerous and came from all around Europe to beautiful Austria: Spanish F/A-18 Hornet, French Rafale, Belgium F-16 Fighting Falcon, Polish MiG-29 Fulcrum and the Italian C-27J Spartan. As a surprise Airbus presented their A400M Atlas military transport aircraft with some fly-bys and a touch&go on Zeltweg’s runway.
Aerobatic and Display Teams
Furthermore five display teams were present at Zeltweg: the Spanish Patrulla Aguilla, the Swiss PC-7 Team, the Italian Frecce Tricolori, Patrouille de France and the Team Orlik from Poland. All of them drew different forms of hearts in the sky, performed their crossing and tunnel maneuvers and earned well-earned applause by the crowd.
Looking at the crowd and the flying program Zeltweg was not only an airshow, it was a big party for crews and visitors alike. This year’s Airpower16 edition was once again big, beautiful and perfect.