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Where? Bratislava - Slovak Republic
Every two years the Slovak International Air Display (SIAD) is held at the airport of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic. This year's event was not only seen by the officials as an simple airshow but also as a celebration of the entry into the European Union.
That included the participation of a lot of European countries like Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy or Portugal.
Also the USAFE did send two A-10s for the static display and Switzerland the Patrouille Suisse for the flight display. Neighbouring contries like the Ukaraine or Hungary particpated was well and made the show an excellent mix between the (former) east and west.
Among the usual aircraft in the static display like the Tornado, Phantom and A-10 an Orao, a Super Galeb together with a Su-27 and an Il76 from the Ukraine and a Let410 from Latvia were particulary interesting.
The flight display was a good mix betwen east and west as well. It was opened by a big formation fly-by of nearly all types of the Slovak Air Force (Mi8, Mi2, Mi24, L410, L39, MiG-29) and afterwards followed a big variety of aircraft. Among the highlights was of course the Ukrainian Su-27 and the dogfight between 2 Slovak MiG-29, that used a lot of flares. The performance of the Czech Sokol was also outstanding and does not stand behind the flight display of modern combat helicopters. The Mi24 was nice to as well as it did also release some flares during its performance.
A nice half an hour of entertainment was the 'Flying Circus' that showed aerial combat of WW I together with a lot of special effects.
The flight display was also marked by the competition of a successor to the MiG-29, so it was no wonder that Saab demonstrated the capababilities of the Gripen, in addition to its promotional stand and gift like posters or caps. It showed a good performance as did the French Mirage 2000 as well. Low and fast was the British GR.4 Tornado, the German Navy Tornado unfortuantely had to stay on the ground during the public days due to a technical problem.
The first price of the display teams was given to the Frecce Tricolori with their varied display. The Patrouille Suisse was excellent as well, but the show of the Patrouille de France was disappointing, as they dissappeard to many times away from the crowd and no planes were visible for a long time.
So once again, the SIAD was a big success and I am already looking forward to the 2006 edition. But big discussion is already going as probably 2004 has been the last time that SIAD was hald at Bratislawa as the civil traffic is growing constantly and is interfering heavily with the flight displays. Nevertheless, I will drive east again in 2006!
I will also not forget to thank everyone who made my stay most enjoyable and supported me with my photography: Maxa, Palo, the crew of the tower and everyone else I have forgotten!
Slovak MiG-29 Flight Display
Slovak Air Force Fly-Bys
Ukrainian Su-27 Flanker
Orao and Super Galeb
L-159 and Hawk
Special Forces Mi-17
The "Flying Circus"
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Published: 16 April 2007