Eurasian world has an airshow
As an “ emerging military powers ” observer, I could not afford to miss the « Eurasia Airshow » aviation commercial event, from April 25th to 29th. Antalya international airport, south of Turkey, was chosen by the organizing team to run this brand new event.
It is fair to remind that so far, Turkey had no experience of any real airshow organization, so my trip to Antalya looked as a kind of risky act, as an aviation photographer. I did not know what to expect exactly, before I was on the show ground. But by experience with this kind of travel, I guessed I would be somehow surprised. As I had noticed months before the event, organizers have been fair enough never to advertize any airplane before they were guaranteed it would really make it to the show. So untill the last days before the event kicked off, their flying program looked soft on the paperboard,. And given ongoing relationships being built on, by Turkey, as a key-NATO member, with Russia, Pakistan, Qatar and all nations ranging from Central Europe to Kazakhstan, to name a few, I had reasons to expect a few unusual birds to appear there.
Obviously, Turkish Stars national team closed every day’s show, with their atmospheric display, music, and commentary
Rather bad news for Eurasia Airshow was this curious decision in Germany to run the ILA Fair on the same dates, though date for Eurasia was set several months before the germans had decided to move their exhibition from their traditional May date, to April. But thanks to the Eurasia team, everything worked professionally and airplanes came in, even though some big ones could not afford to stay more than 48 hours at the event.
Nightsky Ltd from Finland, was contracted to achieve all flying activities by European safety standards. Nightsky Ltd is managed by Perttu Karivalo’s, and includes ten people. They are experts with airshow flying display activities and safety, and alike your writer.., are members of the European Airshow Council. They already have been working two times, with each Poznan Airshow and Aerobaltic big air displays. Naturally, they are also in charge of all Finland annual main airshows since 2010, mostly on behalf of the Air Force, as well as smaller events there.
Four people from Nightsky Ltd, including Perttu Karivalo were contracted here, in Antalya, by Eurasia Airshow. Perttu was Flight Display Director, and the three other “ Finns “ were acting as Commentator, Aircraft Technical Director, and Display Office Support. Perttu Karivalo says : “ Eurasia people were hard working, and really wanted to make things right from the beginning ”. And it worked fine. Ugur Kulaksiz from OTAKU Aviation was in charge of all airshow side activities, excluding exhibition and trade which were organized by Medyacity.
Nevertheless, nearly 100 airplanes of all sizes were to take part to the show, and perhaps surprisingly, only a Sukhoi SSJ100 Superjet flew in from Russia, though UAC exhibited models of their main jet fighter products “ en force “. Naturally, the Surface-to-Air S-400 missile was very much emphasized in the indoor exhibition booths, as this is the system to be delivered to Turkey’s forces in about 2 years. The contract is estimated around 2,5 billion Dollars. This affair is creating headaches in Washington, while not surprisingly, some foreign military media, away from the place, have published during the show week about a projected F-35 sales impeachment from the US to Turkey. And unfortunately, the advertised Italian Air Force F-35 did not make it to the show. Has this any « link » to do with the S-400 ?
Antonov exhibited the unique An-70, and the latest An-178 with flying displays acts that remain rare in the airshow circuit anywhere else
Venerable MiG-29 was flying on afternoons, from Polish Air Force ranks. But undoubtedly, Ukraine made the show, with Antonov brand. On Wednesday 25th, Antonov exhibited the unique An-70, and the latest An-178 with flying displays acts that remain rare in the airshow circuit anywhere else. Taking a step inside the An-70 was a must for a french guy who is used to live with comparable Airbus A-400 Ms in his own country's " Armée de l'air ". In 2016, French forces had to contract his An-70 from Bangui to Istres, and doing, so, it completed four other A-400 Ms on duty. Why ?... The answer lies inside the 70. Isn't the capability to load certain types of huge trucks a bit better with the An-70, depending on sizes, compared to the Airbus product.
Last Ukrainian giant landed at 7.20 AM on the airport, on Saturday April 28th. It was the An-124-100M Russlan from “ Antonov Airlines “. At that moment, I was allowed to capture its arrival on the empty show site with no visitors yet in. Walking inside an empty trade show with nearly no one else on tarmacs, provided a rather strange feeling. At 2-30 PM, that 124 performed the first flying display I experienced from the type since the 1988 Paris Airshow. The Polish Fulcrum flew just after it in the program, and this definitely threw me back to the eighties “ Gorbatchev years “, when soviets came in to Paris for their first time ever with military machines. They did it exactly with that Russlan and a pair of Fulcrums … Not bad as a first trade display ever in Turkey.
Polish MiG-29 Fulcrum flew just after the An-124 in the program, and all these airplanes definitely threw me back to the eighties “ Gorbatchev years “
So there were less than 100 airplanes + helicopters on the show tarmac, such as an RAF Airbus MRTT, one Airbus A-350-1000 from Qatar airways, and a few exotic airliners, some from Iran. A bit strangely, the MRTT and Qatar aircraft went away from the exhibition on Thursday already. I did not have time to take pictures of the Sukhoi Superjet , watching it leaving as fast as the other star items. But the airfield was filled with Turkish Coast Guards and military helicopters, as well as Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) latest products, such as the Hurkus basic ans primary trainer aircraft powered by a P&W C PT6A-68T. Another TAI product, twin-engined T129 ATAK multirole combat helicopter was both in static and flying displays.
Obviously the Turkish Stars national team closed every day’s show, with their atmospheric display mixed with ottoman-stylished modern music, and enthusiastic commentary. But how stupid this was that the Turkish Air Force withdrew its amazing Soloturk F-16 star item from that place supposed to be the international and prime aviation event of the nation of Turkey. What efficient act of Public Relations could explain that ? Frustratingly, only a huge truck selling Soloturk T shirts and souvenirs was there to represent this european airscene F-16 famed team.
Tony de Bruyn and Edith Ryckmans flew their OV-10 Bronco all the way from Kortrijk-Wevelgem to Antalya
Perhaps best overall participation was from Belgium, in the shape of the « Bronco Demo Team ». Tony de Bruyn and Edith Ryckmans flew their OV-10 Bronco all the way from Kortrijk-Wevelgem to Antalya, with stops on exciting places such as Sarajevo, a former ottoman city. In 2017, the aircraft was adorned in a really amazing « Poppy » livery, to commemorate WWI at numerous events. It happened that this scheme reflect lights with different effects depending on the angle of the COIN airplane in flight. So the Bronco display item was all the more appropriate to a site such as Antalya, with its Middle-East style sunshine, and hot temperatures rising up to 33°C at 2 PM and boiling my brain.
The show was held on a different part of the airport, west of Terminals operating airlines. So obviously, some flights were delayed though priority was given to airlines operations over the show’s flying activities. On Sunday, I witnessed it quite lively myself, as it happened that my own flight back from Antalya to Istanbul experienced a one hour long delay to take off, because the Turkish Stars were flying. Once I had landed to Istanbul, I would have missed my connection back to Paris, had I not runned across all Ataturk’s both Terminals like a « marathon » runner with a 15 kg bag full of camera equipments !
150.000 people were reported to have been visiting this coloured Eurasia Airshow. We can hope the show will come back in the future, as it merits to grow, and be taken into better consideration for the aerospace market in the Eurasian area.
Next Eurasia Airshow is set to take place from April 22nd to 26th 2020. So now ILA people may know they could wisely stick back on May. Obviously, Antalya will be an excellent place for air enthusiasts to be, so has to have a hot and sunny airshow yet by April time.