(Reading time: 3 - 5 minutes)

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Where? Medellin / Rionegro Airport, Colombia
When? 09-12/07/2015

The bi-annual F-AIR COLOMBIA (Feria Aeronautica Internacional) airshow at Rionegro airport, which serves as the international hub for Medellin, is a great chance to catch up with Colombia’s current military aviation hardware. Though the city of Medellin might not be the first thing coming to ones mind when thinking about aviation photography, the Show itself provided a great chance to catch a lot of the hardware of the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana (FAC).

1F Air So 0869 Zeitler 700 470 90
1F Air So 0869 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AC 47 0226 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air So 7477 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air So 9537 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air So 9546 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air So 9628 Zeitler 100 67 85
 

54.000 visitors came to José María Córdova International Airport for F-AIR COLOMBIA 2015 from 9th – 12th July 2015. The fair is South Americas second big aeronautical exhibition after Chile’s FIDAE, but with its rather small exhibition tents it can by far not compete with any of the other international event. But F-AIR does not try to do so, it moreover lays a strong focus on regional and national business and foster the aviation sector in Colombia. In the air and on the ground Colombia’s Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Colombiana – FAC) is the biggest exhibitor.

1F Air FAC 9977 Zeitler 700 470 90
1F Air FAC 9977 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Caravan 0287 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Caravan 9871 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 1 9294 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 9474 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 9970 Zeitler 100 67 85
1F Air So 7345 Zeitler 700 470 90
1F Air So 7345 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air So 7332 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air So 7347 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air So 7935 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air So 8280 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air So 8900 Zeitler 100 67 85

There are some general aviation aircraft in the static display, but clearly FAC aircraft and helicopters as well as those of Colombia’s naval and army aviation as well as the aviation branch of the Police make up for the biggest part of the exhibition.

F Air B 52 9729 Zeitler 700 470 90
F Air B 52 9729 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air FAC 8681 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air FAC 9442 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air FAC 9977 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Flying 1186 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Flying 9453 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air So 8607 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air USAF 9927 Zeitler 100 67 85

Especially in the air military aviation was pre-dominant, with the only exception being the Airbus A350 performing a fly-by on its tour around South America, which coincided with F-AIR.

F Air B 727 0173 Zeitler 700 470 90
F Air B 727 0173 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air B 737 7847 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Emb 135 8370 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air F 28 0019 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air F 28 7625 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air FAC 8681 Zeitler 100 67 85

International participation was a USAF B-52 Stratofortress doing two fly-bys on the inauguration day of the show, and theHalcones” display Team of the Fuerza Aérea de Chile / Chile Air Force flew daily displays with their five Extra 300L aerobatic aircraft. Due to engine issues they had to fly their routine using only four aircraft on some of the days, but on the final day in gorgeous weather all five Extras were operational again. They could thus show their full routine, including the heart for the crowd and most importantly the five-pointed star that is a prominent feature on their national flag.

1F Air Halcones 1687 Zeitler 700 470 90
1F Air Halcones 1687 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Halcones 0904 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Halcones 1644 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Halcones 1678 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Halcones 1679 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Halcones 1712 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Halcones 1703 Zeitler 700 470 90
F Air Halcones 1703 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Halcones 7449 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Halcones 7478 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Halcones 9854 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Halcones 1722 Zeitler 700 470 90
F Air Halcones 1722 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Halcones 7489 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Halcones 9680 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Halcones 9699 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Halcones 9711 Zeitler 100 67 85

Saturday and Sunday were also the highlights for the airshow of the FAC. Parachutists and once again the Halcones entertained the public in the morning hours, whereas the FAC took it to the sky in the afternoon in strong numbers.

1F Air Arava 8721 Zeitler 700 470 90
1F Air Arava 8721 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air A 29 9329 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air An 32 9217 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air B 737 1197 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air C 295 7797 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air C 295 7997 Zeitler 100 67 85
1F Air So 7405 Zeitler 700 470 90
1F Air So 7405 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Policia ATR42 8834 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air So 0243 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air So 8260 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air So 8425 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air So 8538 Zeitler 100 67 85

Compared to previous year and with the alluring pictures of four OV-10 Broncos or 4 Kfirs and the KC-767 tanker aircraft in formation in mind, the flying display left a slight feeling of disappointment. The Broncos have been put out of FAC service at the beginning of the year, and due to ongoing engine issues resulting in severe crashes, all public appearances of the Kfir fighters have been cancelled.

F Air AT 37 Solo Display 0146 Zeitler 700 470 90
F Air AT 37 Solo Display 0146 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 37 Solo Display 0769 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 37 Solo Display 0823 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 37 Solo Display 1471 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 37 Solo Display 1490 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 37 Solo Display 1505 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 37 Solo Display 1571 Zeitler 700 470 90
F Air AT 37 Solo Display 1571 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 37 Solo Display 1593 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 37 Solo Display 1603 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 37 Solo Display 8570 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 37 Solo Display 8597 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 37 Solo Display 9037 Zeitler 100 67 85
1F Air AT 37 Solo Display 1554 Zeitler 700 470 90
1F Air AT 37 Solo Display 1554 Zeitler 100 67 85
1F Air AT 37 Solo Display 9580 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 37 Solo Display 1521 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 37 Solo Display 9041 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 37 Solo Display 9608 Zeitler 100 67 85

The FAC thus changed their program and the opening act was a 5-ship formation of Cessna T-37 Tweet, which are still used for pilot training in Colombia. They lead the pilots to the Cessna A-37B Dragonfly that is employed for close air-support missions, making good use of the many hardpoints under its wings. The A-37B Dragonfly for the solo display featured a nice special scheme, with the Colombian flag on its tail, and a big black dragon painted all around the fuselage. And after a downswing in its display routine it was flare galore! Fortunately I was prepared for it on the second day…

1F Air T 37 1257 Zeitler 700 470 90
1F Air T 37 1257 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air T 37 0491 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air T 37 1244 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air T 37 1291 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air T 37 1299 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air T 37 1307 Zeitler 100 67 85

The successor for the Dragonfly is and will be the Embraer A-29B Super Tucano. Highly agile and able to go fast and low it is the weapon of choice in a Counter Insurgency (COIN) environment together with the AH-60L Arpía III helicopter.

1F Air AT 29 0719 Zeitler 700 470 90
1F Air AT 29 0719 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 29 0612 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 29 0658 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 29 0715 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 29 1315 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 29 1344 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 29 1355 Zeitler 700 470 90
F Air AT 29 1355 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 29 1368 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 29 1405 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 29 1419 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 29 1456 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 29 1467 Zeitler 100 67 85
1F Air AT 29 8603 Zeitler 700 470 90
1F Air AT 29 8603 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 29 1633 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 29 8609 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 29 9590 Zeitler 100 67 85

The four ship formation of the A-29B was well choreographed and made effective use of flares, what can also be said of the Arpía display team, the “Equipo Acrobático Arpía 51”.

1F Air UH 60 Arpia 1888 Zeitler 700 470 90
1F Air UH 60 Arpia 1888 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 Arpia 0370 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 Arpia 1778 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 Arpia 1857 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 Arpia 1864 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 Arpia 1896 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 Arpia 7537 Zeitler 700 470 90
F Air UH 60 Arpia 7537 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 Arpia 7548 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 Arpia 7574 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 Arpia 7577 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 Arpia 9655 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 Arpia 9793 Zeitler 100 67 85
1F Air UH 60 Arpia 1918 Zeitler 700 470 90
1F Air UH 60 Arpia 1918 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 Arpia 0876 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 Arpia 1954 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 Arpia 9075 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 Arpia 9096 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 Arpia 9640 Zeitler 100 67 85

On the ground the FAC was also the most important exhibitor, making a large part of its aircraft a literally ‘hands-on’ experience for the visitors. Apart from the Tweets, the (Super) Tucanos and the big transport aircraft, the new Sikorsky AH-60L Harpy IV was a centrepiece of the static display at Rionegro / Medellin. It proudly carried the Toplite III sensor and the Spike missiles, able to fight targets NLOS at ranges up to 25km.

1F Air FAC 7931 Zeitler 700 470 90
1F Air FAC 7931 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air B767 7351 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air C 130 8346 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air C212 7974 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air C295 7425 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Caravan 7344 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AC 47 8310 Zeitler 700 470 90
F Air AC 47 8310 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AC 47 8311 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 29 8304 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 37 8330 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air AT 37 8338 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air FAC 8309 Zeitler 100 67 85

Of interest were also the Boeing Stearman PT-17 Kaydet, T-34 Mentor and a Bell 47, which are part of the FAC “historical flight”, which complemented the static display of modern FAC hardware.

1F Air T 34 7417 Zeitler 700 470 90
1F Air T 34 7417 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air B206 7411 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air C295 7957 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Stearman 7380 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air T 37 7342 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 1 0203 Zeitler 100 67 85
1F Air UH 60 8631 Zeitler 700 470 90
1F Air UH 60 8631 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Mi 8 7960 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air Policia ATR42 8831 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air T 90D 8743 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 7943 Zeitler 100 67 85
F Air UH 60 Arpia 8728 Zeitler 100 67 85

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