NATO Days Ostrava
What a show! MiG-29 Dogfight, M2000 "Ramex Delta", 2x Su-22 Fitter in formation flight, Eurofighter displays, the Red Arrows... Twelve years after its first edition the NATO Days at Ostrava were a stunning event.
Where? Ostrava, Czech Republic
Not only focused around aircraft the event itself did also present ground demonstrations of security and armed forces, tank driving and so on. With this vast amount of attractions it attracted 210.000 visitors during the week-end, making it the second largest public event in the Czech Republic. But as this site is all about aircraft I will concentrate on the flying part. This will await you on the following pages:
On Saturday morning the official opening of the NATO days was held, meaning the fly-in of a Mi-8 VIP transport helicopter, presence of the Czech AF A319 and a helicopter formation followed by a C296 with two L-159 along its wings. Unfortunately Gripens were missing, but one arrived shortly afterwards with the French C-135FR tanker aircraft and showed a demonstrated air-air refuelling.
Apart from that the program in the morning was dominated by the solo demonstrations of the Slovak MiG-29 solo display and the Italian C-27J Spartan impressed once more by its display including several rolls.
And there was of course the Austrian Eurofighter Typhoon flying in directly to the showground from its homebase Zeltweg and performing its display after arrival. It was thus not for nothing that they did practice their routine with the external fuel tank some weeks before the event.
Around midday it was a bit more quiet in the air, thus just the right moment to go for a typical Czech drink and to get something to eat. Particularly as it got really busy in the afternoon and there was no more time left then to photograph aircraft. For those being interested in the ground demonstrations however there was non-stop action!
The PC-9M from Slovenia and the Austrian S-70 and Swiss Super Puma helicopters did present first after lunch and opened the amazing flying display in the afternoon of the NATO Days 2012.
Within one hour there was the Italian Typhoon, F-16 Solo Turk, Slovak MiG-29 dogfight and tactical demonstration of 2 Polish Su-22 Fitters and the "RAMEX DELTA" from France on two Mirage M2000 fighter-bombers. This was followed by a take-off and fly-by of the mighty B-52 Stratofortress and the Red Arrows. Can you ask for more??
The "Flying Bulls" B-25 was the only civil act and followed shortly afterwards just before the demonstration of an assault with hostage taking with heliborne drop off including Mi-171 and assault of Mi-24. Something to please the friends of helicopters with once again some great flying action. Three more jets were next with the orange or Dutch F-16, the British Hawk solo display - presenting an excellent colour scheme in this season btw - and the Czech L-159 to close the day.
I still can't believe they arranged such a great and densely packed aerial display... Nearly the only down point of the show was the static display. Though there are some space restrictions and the organizers really got a huge number of aircraft to the airfield, the fences around the aircraft made getting some nice shots nearly impossible. This was in particular a real shame for such rare aircraft as the Estonian An-2 and L-39 or the special coloured British Hawk. Maybe there will be some improvements during one of the next editions?
To summarize I was really overwhelmed by this event with many great flying presentations, focused only around military aircraft without all the 'gap fillers' you get to see at other events. Outstanding was the fact that many of the aircraft did not perform their usual solo display, but real role demos, especially the helicopters that interacted closely with the troops on the ground, making the flying a lot more realistic.
The only downside was the fact that the aerial display of the NATO Days was so densely packed that there was not enough time to have a look at the ground demonstration. Combined with the great selections of drinks (beer & the local Kofola) and tasty food this show has to be in the highest ranks of European airshows!Thank you for rating this article.