If somebody would have told me last year that I will have the possibility to take photos at a Greek military airfield without restrictions I would not have believed him. Even more after all the stories that have been told about Greek security measures...
Where? Tanagra, Greece
BUT fortunately the times are changing and in 2005 the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) organized its first ever international airshow at the Tanagra Air Base in connection with the "Archangel" festivities. These festivities are held every two years to honor the HAF's patron, Archangel Michael. The show featured many well known European acts on the ground and in the air. Sometimes a bit boring to us the Greek were very pleased to see the Patrulla Aguilla or the Frecce Tricolori, and the displays like the one of the Eurofighter Typhoon or the Dutch F-16, that also released flares, caused a lot of cheering among the crowd.
But the foreign enthusiast came of course to Greece to see the (still) rare aircraft of the HAF. Unfortunately not a lot of jets could be discovered on the ground. The stars of the show, a special coloured A-7 Corsair and an F-4E Phantom II, were presented as well as the s/c RF-4 and a 'Peace Ikarus' F-4E, but the Mirage 2000 and a F-16C Bl.52+ with saddle tanks had to stay in the hangar.
Anyway we have been rewarded with the flight displays and fly-bys. Name it and you get it. Displays included:
A 4-ship opening formation of the s/c F-4 and A-7 together with a M2000 and an F-16, a remarkable dogfight between 2 F-16s and 2 M2000, a base attack consisting out of a mix of around 20 jets of the HAF, a Combat SAR mission using Super Pumas, fly-bys of 3 T-2A Buckeyes and 3 T-6 Texan II followed by a flight demo of the T-6, C-130 demonstartion, Canadair CL-415 waterdrop demo, helicopter fly-by and an AH-64 Apache and S-70 Aegean Hawk flight display and finally a fly-by of 3 Super Pumas, 3 C-130 Hercules, a C-47 and a Navy P-3 Orion.
other display specials (Helicopters and Props)
Special coloured F-4E Phantom (337 Mira)
Tiger A-7E Corsair (116SQN)
It has to be added furthermore that the industrial participation was remarkably high at Tanagra: the Saab Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon and the Dassault Rafale tried not only to give their best during the flight displays, but also fought for the favor of the crowd with their presents. One might think that they are trying to sell the HAF some aircraft… The same can be said for the trainers, as Aermacchi was present with their new M346, a IAR-99 was also in the display and a BAe Hawk could be seen in the static display.
French Mirage 2000
Italian Aermacchi M346
Several light trainer aircraft
Polish Team Orlik
All this, together with a nicely mixed static display, which can be discovered on the photo page, left a lot of memories of a hazzle free and well organized airshow. The prices for water or soft drinks (0,50€ or 1€) and sandwiches (2,50€) e.g. were also moderate, the only trouble was caused by the flooded parkings near the airfield that were limited in their use.
However the guessed 100-150.000 visitors during that week-end showed the huge interest of the Greece public and it has been said that the HAF is already thinking about another shows in 2 years!
Finally I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the very helpfull HAF personal and especially to Lt (P) Panagiotis Poulos for his care!
Static Display - Greek aircraft
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