ILA Berlin 2008
Compared to 2006 this year's ILA had less visitors, maybe caused by the shorter timeframe, and also the static display has been more empty and no really new highlight was present at Berlin-Schönefeld, but however some interesting aircraft could be seen on the ground and in the air. Beneficial for the event was also the excellent weather throughout the week that provided many photographic opportunities.
Where? Berlin, Germany
When? 27/05 - 01/06/2008
Some hassle for the flying was caused by the current works for the new BBI (Berlin Brandenburg International) airport resulting in the closure of the northern runway. Due to this all the civil traffic, mainly LCCs like easyjet or Germanwings, had to share the southern runway with the ILA's flight displays, which was not always easy to reconcile for the organization and even led to the cancellation of some display items on different days. But anyway, there was a wide variation of aircraft types in the air, though it not came near the one I was used from the past shows.
Update: You can now check out my (German) article published in Flugzeug Classic on their homepage.
The official partner country of ILA 2008 was India that did send its Sarang Helicopter Demonstration Team with 4 Dhruv helicopters, which was a colourful view in the air.
Sarang - Indian Air Force Helicopter Team / Druv helicopter
The German armed forces displays were spilt up in two parts between the Heeresflieger (Army Aviation) and the Luftwaffe (Air Force).
The Heeresflieger presented a daily display with an impressive amount of transport helicopters in the air dropping off troops and equipment with the escort of combats helicopters. Additional to the in service types CH-53 and UH-1D and Bo105 the recent acquisitions Tiger and NH90 were also presented to the public.
Heeresflieger Demonstration - German Army (Tiger, NH90, CH-53, UH-1D & Bo105)
The Luftwaffe presented the SNAP-exercise that starts with the interception of a 'bandit' F-4F by 4 Eurofighters and fly-bys of different Tornado versions including the demonstration of the buddy-buddy refuelling. This was followed by a hostage liberation exercise using a C-160 Transall and Huey helicopters.
German Luftwaffe - Formation Fly-Bys
Eurofighter Typhoon Solo Display - Luftwaffe
SNAP 2008 - German Air Force Airpower Demo
Intercept Demo - Typhoon vs. Phantom
Multirole Tornado: ECR, Recce, IDS & refuelling
An unusual high number of foreign military Air Forces participated at ILA 2008 as well: the USAF with the C-17 solo display and the B-1, which did two fly-bys only, but it was nevertheless very impressive to see this aircraft performing at a German airshow. The Hungarian AF presented its special painted Mi-24 "Golden Hind" daily in the air and it even released some flares at the end of the display. For the week-end the Polish AF came with the MiG-29 to Berlin, the Dutch with their F-16, and the Croatian PC-9 team "Wings of Storm" and the Patrouille Suisse were also participating in the Berlin Air Show.
MiG-29- Polish Air Force
USAF C-17 Demo Team - C-17 "Spirit of Berlin"
Dutch F-16 Display Team
Mi-24 Hind 714 - "Golden Hind" special colorscheme - Hungarian Air Force
B-1B - US Air Force
Red and white in the blue sky was also the view of the Patrouille Suisse flying perfect formations, obviously adopted to the German airshow regulations. The Swiss team is already a regular at ILA and expressed already their hopes to participate at next year's ILA as well.
Airbus presented its A380 with the usual stunning and agile display routine that was already seen in the Berlin sky before. Amazing manoeuvres for aircraft were also shown in the usual fashion by the Eurocopter Tiger and HN90.
A380 - Airbus Industries
Eurocopter Tiger & NH90
Like all the years before a focus for the flight display during the public days from Friday to Sunday was on the warbirds. Due to the 60th anniversary the BBMF (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) came the Berlin with the Spitfire and the DC-3 Dakota as well as another DC-3, that was every day in the air to remember this historic event.
Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF)
The Flying Bulls - DC-6, Bo105 & B-25
Other participants were the Red Bull fleet or the British Catalina flying boat, and not to forget of course the Messerschmitt Me 109 and Me 262. After their flight display on the first show-day including a formation take-off and fly-bys the former one suffered unfortunately a landing incident tying it to the ground for the rest of the week. What a shame that was, because the 262 performed perfectly in a bright blue sky during the week-end.
Messerschmitt 262 "Schwalbe" (rebuilt)
As always the static display was very difficult to photograph and the variety of the aircraft this year was not overwhelming. The highlight on the military side was surely the Slovakian MiG-29 in the new 'digital camouflage' scheme and the Croatian Mi-171 helicopter. For the civil aircraft the new Airbus A330 for Jet Airways was one of the bigger exhibits as was the German DLR's recently acquired A320 that currently serves as a testbed for alternative fuel technologies.
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