Nyutabaru Air Festa 2012

The annual airshow at Nyutabaru is always a safe bet to see some amazing aerial displays of the JASDF. Three Squadron, either equipped with F-4EJ Phantoms or F-15(D)J Eagles, amongst them the nicely painted Aggressors, assure a stunning and varied display even without any other participants flying in from other airfields.

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Where? Nyutabaru, Kyushu, Japan
When? 02/12/2012

Furthermore the beginning of December usually is a good weather season at the Southern Japanese island Kyushu: though it gets quite chilly in the evenings, most of the days are blessed with a clear blue sky for the pure delight of the photographer. But ... 2012 was unfortunately a whole different. Pouring rain made the show days nearly a complete wash-out. Only some displays could be flown in the morning, but also on a limited scale due to the low cloud base.

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Conditions were thus far from perfect and already in the morning I wondered if the low number of visitors was due to the lack of the "Blue Impulse" team this year or due to the weather forecast. However it started out rather nice with some rare sunny spells during sunrise, but once the display area opened and it was time to move from the food stand to the flight line, the sun had already disappeared under a strong and stable cloud layer.

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Though this was OK for the displays in the morning to take off with the full effect of the afterburners of the F-4EJ Phantoms and the Aggressor F-15s being visible, all of the aircraft on the ground were somehow dull and gray. Unfortunately it did not get better and a light drizzling rain set in and got stronger and stronger towards midday.

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It was around that time that I decided for an early departure. In the end this was the right move as the displays in the afternoon got completely cancelled while I was already onboard and ANA B787 heading towards Tokyo.

Luckily I devoted some days of spotting along Nyutabaru's fence in the week prior to the show and got the chance of seeing the displays under better weather conditions. This was especially good as the lack of the "Blue Impulse" display team this year saw an increased flying activitiy of the local JASDF F-4EJ Phantoms, performing flying displays devoted to an air-ground demo or a flying display showing off the Phantoms capabilities to full effect:

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As usual the Mitsubishi F-2 is also a regular performer at Nyutabaru. Based not very far to the North at Tsuiki the demo aircraft flies in directly from its homebase for the short display:

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Furthermore the PACAF is also really active in the Asia/Pacific region and visits several airshows with their F-16 Demo Team. Nyutabaru was also on their list in 2012 and it was very interesting to compare the style of their aerial presentation with the JASDF role demos. A completely differnent world! Regarding the flying I must admit that the F-16 showed of more, but the JASDF were better to photograph. So it is everyones choice what he prefers...

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The Saturday before the actual showday hosted kind of a families day with a limited number of displays by the local acts - the important ones: air-ground attack demonstration by the F-4EJ Phantoms, two F-15DJ Aggressors in the air and also a nice demo by a pair of F-15J Eagles belonging to the 23rd Hikotai, the F-15 training Squadron.

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With these shots safely stored away on the computer the show day got a lot more relaxed with a main focus on doing some shopping and enjoying the atmosphere.

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Though the show itself in 2012 was not what many expected to be, some days at the "Superbase" Nyutabaru at the beginning of December proved also this year once again to be the right decision. With this variety of aircraft, you cannot go wrong!

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