Redbull hangár

Redbull hangár

2011. július 7., csütörtök

Airpower11, Zeltweg - Part I.

It is known posteriorly, that the Austrian military airshow has broken its visitor record again, altogether 290.000 people has attended the event during the two days. That’s for sure, that the two-thirds of this number were visited to the venue on Saturday, because the spectator area was almost totally filled. Already half an hour before the event I was moving ahead in a dense people-mass from the Zeltweg train station to the airfield.

Looking around at noon, it definitely seemed to me too, that there are even more spectators than last time, although neither then was enough place for a waltz. The crowd was moving on two pathway, as there was no sense to slalom between the densely lied down blankets. It seemed, that the mostly mentioned stork-danger didn’t frighten away anybody. The army managed to keep in check the local wader population which was seeking frogs on the airfield and had been given a topic for the Austrian media for many days prior the event. Although I’m still not sure how they could solve it. I read in official statements about the relocating of the birds to other suitable habitat, grounded them with using eye-contact (I didn’t understand it exactly – did they mesmerized the storks, or what? J), but I also heard, that they kept them away with alarming shots (no real cartridge, just the sound of a shot). Anyhow, it was successful, as I saw only two: one crossing above the public and another one painted onto the wing of an aircraft :-)

I asked some pilots if they saw any storks, but they said no. They must have been happy to avoid them, as it would have made a big damage in the plane if they met them, not speaking about its further consequents.
But let’s return to the many people. Some sceptics can think, that the visitor record is the result of the free entrance. I think it’s partly true, but the impressive list of invited participants had a bigger role in it.

The fans of military aircrafts definitely travel to there, where such rarities fly a demo like the Messerschmitt-109, the MiG-15 or the Bede-BD-5J little jet, which were zigzagging like a furious fly. The Astrian Aviation & Air Defense School's five Alouette II formation held a very creative show too. There was also the premiere of the solo demo of the Austrian Eurofighters and the display pilot made a very powerful debut, which was repeated later. 

Eurofighter in Zeltweg - photo: Austrian Armed Forces

The Frecce Tricolori in Zeltweg - photo: Austrian Armed Forces

Those ones who rather like well choreographied air ballets also got constant entertainment, as four of the best European military jet aerobatics teams came to the Airpower: the Frecce Tricolori, the Turkish Stars, the Patruille Suisse and the Breitling Team. However I would emphasize the Royal Saudi Hawks formation, who are young with their 13 years history, comparing to the others, but they were on a par with them at their European premier in Zeltweg. Their program consisted the most trendiest elements and they had no problem with performing them either.

You can get a taste of their show here:

I guess, watcing the video, you can found out easily who was the sponsor of the event J

Otherwise the Saudis had a minor bird-accident during their program on Friday. Fortunately not with a stork, but a smaller bird which hit the engine of a plane from their formation. There didn’t happen anything serious, but they had finished their display.

There also happened something unexpected during the interception/skill demonstration program of the Austrian army: two paratroopers have fouled after jump out and they grounded like this. Fortunately they survived, but were taken to hospital with fractures.

The demonstration looked like this, when it was executed without problems:

Otherwise this skill demonstration of the Austrians was very good already two years ago, because they could write a program to it then and now, which shamed the Hollywood screenpalys. Almost every ground and air vehicle were featuring in it, plus the special forces. And they didn’t spare with the air surveillance either at all! It was an enthralling scenery!

I recognized, that the Austrian Air Force’s planes used a red or a red-white smoke to the boost the show, referring to the colours of their national flag. Good idea.

Now I see, that I should have visited the airshow on both days there instead on only one to see everything. But fortunately I could follow many display programs and spent enough time at the static planes meanwhile. I Met some old friends from the Austrian and the Hungarian Air Force (the latter ones didn’t do a demo with the Gripen unfortunately L) and I could visit the base’s aircraft museum finally this time. Wow, what planes were there, amazing!
You can admire them (and the other aircraft outside of course) in this photo gallery:

I’m going to post the interview what I made in Zeltweg with the Dutch F-16 display pilot, Captain Tobias “Hitec” Schutte this week, so it’s worth to check the blog time to time.

Text and photos: Gabriella

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