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

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.

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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JP12 So 1288 Zeitler 700 470 90
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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.

0JP12 Take Off 1592 Zeitler 700 470 90
0JP12 Take Off 1592 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 Aggressors 1782 Zeitler 100 67 85
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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.

0JP12 Take Off 1638 Zeitler 700 470 90
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JP12 F 4 Air Ground 0967 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 4 Tac Demo 9297 Zeitler 100 67 85
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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:

0JP12 F 4 Air Ground 0874 Zeitler 700 470 90
0JP12 F 4 Air Ground 0874 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 4 Air Ground 0615 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 4 Air Ground 0878 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 4 Air Ground 0897 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 4 Formation 8935 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 4 Formation 9669 Zeitler 700 470 90
JP12 F 4 Formation 9669 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 4 Formation 9672 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 4 Tac Demo 9416 Zeitler 100 67 85
ZJP12 F 4 Formation 8909 Zeitler 100 67 85
ZJP12 F 4 Formation 9686 Zeitler 100 67 85
0JP12 F 4 Air Ground 0947 Zeitler 700 470 90
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JP12 F 4 Air Ground 0918 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 4 Formation 8892 Zeitler 100 67 85
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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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ZJP12 F 2 0680 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 2 9588 Zeitler 700 470 90
JP12 F 2 9588 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 2 9591 Zeitler 100 67 85
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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...

0JP12 F 16 1188 Zeitler 700 470 90
0JP12 F 16 1188 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 16 1155 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 16 1168 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 16 1198 Zeitler 100 67 85
ZJP12 F 16 0679 Zeitler 100 67 85
0JP12 Helicopters 1218 Zeitler 700 470 90
0JP12 Helicopters 1218 Zeitler 100 67 85
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JP12 C 1 7390 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 C 130 7373 Zeitler 100 67 85

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.

JP12 Aggressors 1116 Zeitler 700 470 90
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0JP12 Aggressors 1100 Zeitler 700 470 90
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JP12 Aggressors 8806 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 Aggressors 8829 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 Aggressors 8871 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 15 23rd 0758 Zeitler 700 470 90
JP12 F 15 23rd 0758 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 15 23rd 0802 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 15 23rd 0841 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 15 23rd 9108 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 F 15 23rd 9118 Zeitler 100 67 85
JP12 Take Off 1561 Zeitler 100 67 85

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.

0JP12 So 1501 Zeitler 700 470 90
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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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