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Editor's blog : European Airshows 2011 on screenshot. 04/21/2012


Planes TV "European Airshows" 2011 DVD illustrated with editor's own pictures

It is worth reminding how much the world airshow scene has changed during for the last two decades.

Planes TV have released their latest “European Airshows 2011” DVD. This comes well right after my 2011 airshow review publication on .  In their 2011 release, Planes TV includes little seen display actors as much as military events. Obviously TV team had to select a few displays in each event only, so as to limit the full product to the resulting two hours and nine minutes program.

Though not a European display as such the UAE Al Ain airshow launches the program. It sounds to be included for rarity. It is true that big teams don’t cue to Al Ain anymore but it looks weird to discover that the UAE Air Force has a Mirage 2000-9 solo display, and also that some other “2000-9s” and F-16 Block.60 Desert Falcons, and Hawks perform as well at the event. Interestingly the show was took place a few months before “Al Fursan” national team was launched in the UAE. Though these words may go further than the DVD contents, it is worth reminding again how much the world airshow scene has changed during for the last two decades. We witnessed the raise of airshows in the Middle and Far Easts. Al Ain and Bahrain are now regulars. The “young” Saudi Hawks team is also on show in that Al Ain 2011 sequence, and a strange selection of aerobatics actors and airplanes prooves that UAE event is foremost a civilian sports and aerobatics extravaganza, mixing airplanes with firewalls and pop acts, as only North American events managed to do only ten years ago...

Turkey is also a new actor in the airshow circuit. The Izmir “100th Anniversary of the Turkish Air Force” was one of the very best “European” airshows in 2011. Apart from flypasts performed by the many types from all the Turkish Air Force airplanes and helicopters, including T-38 talons and rare F-4 Phantoms.., the F-16 Soloturk was introduced for a first season, and hopefully not the last. The event introduced the Pakistan Air Force JF-17 Thunder and an F-16 solo near these shores. Did you know there was an F-16 display in the Pakistan Air Force ?.... A rare IAR-99 Soim from the Romanian air Force also flew. All this is worth watching with “hot” summer and sunny shots in the DVD, also mixing Croatia’s Krila Oluje, and the USAF Thunderbirds who never flew again into such a pure blue sky during the rest of their 2011 European tour. Those who attended the showered Turku airshow with the Thunderbirds in Finland a few weeks after Izmir, will understand what I mean.

Most sequences in the DVD are about all categories of airshows in Europe. It leaves a proof there is more flying items diversity in Europe, than there is in other continent’s airshows, even though proper military display items in Europe face crisis due to deep cuts in defense budgets. Included in the program are the Paris Air show, MAKS 2011 in Moscow, BIAF 2011 in Plovdiv, Luchtmachtdagen 2011 in Leeuwarden, Sanicole Airshow in Hechtel, and Festa al Cel in Barcelona. Most items are rare and unusual such as the Bulgarian Air Force Cougar, Mil Mi-17, PC-9, Su-25, MiG-21, C-27 J, and MiG-29 in the Plovdiv event. But there may be too many other such examples to watch and to summarize well the content.

Yes, weather at Izmir was hot and dry, but this contrasted much with the Leeuwarden airshow blessed with rain, as seen later in the program. But rain in Friesland did not mean that the resulting video would look catastrophic. Really the sky was awfully dark over Leeuwarden on show day number two, buts jets were shot with as results, some of the best action close-ups I have seen in airshow DVDs. So worth seeing closely are a AMI Typhoon, a Polish Air Force MiG-29, and an Ilmavoimat F-18 C Hornet, all of them pulling tight turns with heavy Gs and generating long reheat orange flames.

Cherry on the cake is MAKS with short extracts showing only a Sukhoi T-50 duo performance. Strangely these Russian 5th Gen. jetfighter stealth airplanes are the only items featured in that MAKS part, and perhaps it looks surprising for us to go straight to another airshow, after that short sequence near Moscow. But quantity of unusual sequences is so large to select and include in the whole film, that we understand how producers faced difficult choices to deal with to deliver no less than 2 hours of little seen materials covering a wide audience. Producers are successful with that task and this DVD deserves to be watched. And always remember to have a look in previous years “European Airhows” videos as a complement to that “European Airshows 2011” latest DVD.

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