With thundering afterburners four F-35A Lightning II soar into the clear blue sky of the Negev desert. They are followed by another four F-15 "Baz" of the Israeli Air Force. The jets are the vanguard of the "Blue Force" and have to protect the territory of the "Falcon State". With a fight over water and other natural resources, it is threatened by the aggressive neighboring country "Nowhereland". This can become a realistic scenario in this part of the world and was certainly not chosen by chance as a theme for the high-value exercise "Blue Flag 2019" at Ovda Air Force Base in southern Israel.
"Air Legend" at the Melun-Villaroche airfield in the South of Paris is a new airshow establishing itself firmly on the European circuit. The second edition in 2019 focused on Cold War jets and succeeded with a well balanced mix of those Cold War warriors, warbirds and modern aviation.
This was another plane spotting trip to Taiwan. Even though it has a vivid aviation photography scene, it’s tropical climate and a military on high alert do not make it an easy country to pursue this hobby. With the aim to photograph some aircraft of the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) around the island and a visit to the airshow at Hualien, this planned tour promised some good results. In the end, however, things turned out completely different.
Wings over Houston 2018 was headlined by the US Navy Blue Angels display team. With a big concentration of Commemorative Air Force (CAF) warbirds all around the oil-rich state of Texas the line-up of WW II airplanes was also strong. The most impressive airshow act was the “Tora! Tora! Tora!” air power demonstration with plenty warbirds in the air, and pyrotechniques on ground.
Ten (R)F-4EJ Phantoms lined up in front of the crowd was a sight to behold! The Hyakuri Airshow 2018 was the last ever opportunity to see such a large number of mighty Phantoms in action as JASDF Phantom operations will dwindle down rapidly in the coming years. The two special marked F-4EJ Phantom II in black & white celebrating the "302sqn final Year 2019" clearly stood out from the rest and were the highlight of the event, both on ground in the static display and during the flying display. Of course the Hyakuri Air Show 2019 offered also other exciting displays.
The Farnborough International Airshow rates amongst the world's biggest trade airshow. The 2018 edition was once again packed with massive airline orders and business behind the scenes. Exhibitors used the daily aerial display to show off the capabilities of their aircraft and helicopters. Once all the business were done, a airshow was organized for the entertainment of 'Joe Public' on the concluding week-end.
2019 saw the 19th edition of the Oldtimer Fliegertreffen Hahnweide. You may also call it a fly-in, a pilot meeting or a warbird airshow, and with around 400 participating aircraft it is arguably Germany’s biggest aviation event. It is an avgeek festival, and an aviation photographer’s challenge!
10.000ft above Belgium the howling sound of the Lockheed Martin’s F-16AM Fighting Falcon F100 jet engine could clearly be heard. No wonder, as the Demo Pilot for the Belgian Air Force, Sr. Cpt Darte, callsign „Vador“, knows how to place his jet only meters behind the open ramp of the C-130 Hercules photoship. Time to stop worrying about cold feet and frozen fingers: hit the shutter to get the shots!
Nine Balkenkreuze and three silhouettes of the Fieseler Fi 103, aka „Vergeltungswaffe 1 (V1)“ as kill markings depict this Spitfire Mk.XVI as the personal plane of Otto Smik. Smik was one of the most successfully Czechoslovakian pilots in service of the RAF during WW II. He crashed and died on 28 November 1944 near Zwolle after been hit by German AA fire. Smik’s aircraft has been re-created by the Spitfire’s owner, Stephen Stead, who deliberately stationed this warbird in the Czech Republic. He presents it at airshows around central Europe to pay tribute to the contributions of Czechoslovak and Polish pilots in fighting Nazi Germany. It was an honour to be able to photograph this aircraft flying over the Czech Republic!
Travelling to countries operating the MiG-29 is usually a safe bet to see this great looking jet from the Soviet-era in the air. This was also true for the Slovak International Air Fest (SIAF) at Sliac, Slovakia. But the SIAF airshow was also a clear sign that the Slovak Air Force is in the state of transition to Western equipment.