2018 Event Review

Festa al Cel Airshow, September 2018


Location: Lérida Airport, Spain
Type of event: Airshow
Rating out of 10: 9
 
Festa al Cel

 

Festa al Cel (Festival in the Sky) is the oldest airshow celebrated in Spain. The 2018 edition was the 25th and it took place during the weekend of September 22nd and 23rd at Lérida airport, 175 km away from the city of Barcelona. Before Lérida airport, it was held for two years at Mataró seaside, north of Barcelona, and the others at the beaches of Barcelona.
On Saturday morning, there was a static exhibition. Flying display was on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. The display was very special at sunset due to the combination of aircraft, trails and sunset lights. The event was well-organized with parking areas, VIP zone, merchandising, food and playground areas. The three Spanish services (Air Force, Navy and Army) had an important participation in the airshow.

Military aircraft
The Spanish Navy was present with the AV8-B Harrier II showing its capability for vertical and static flying. There were two planes and during Sunday flights they participated in an aerial photography session. The Spanish Army displayed two helicopters, a CH-47 Chinook and the newest Eurocopter EC-665 Tiger. The Chinook carried a jeep as external load, showing its loading and transport capabilities. The most important participant was the Spanish Air Force with a Canadair CL-215T, F-18 Hornet, the parachutist team PAPEA and the aerobatic display team Patrulla Águila (Eagle Patrol). The Patrulla Águila is based at San Javier air base at the location of the Air Force Academy. The displaying pilots are instructors. The team flies with seven Spanish CASA C-101 Aviojet, an advanced two-seat trainer with a single engine. The Patrulla Águila is especially known for its formation landings. During the Sunday exhibition, their display was amazing due to the sunset lighting and the aerobatic, smoke-on, manoeuvres.

Aerobatics
Two Spanish champions were in the airshow flying schedule: Cástor Fantoba is an aerobatic pilot, aeronautical engineer and flying instructor. He is the current Spanish unlimited aerobatics champion and he had several achievements in the World and European category (FAI competitions). He flew with the Sukhoi SU-31M, powered by a nine-cylinder radial engine (Vedeneyev M14PF) with 400 hp. Juan Velarde is a pilot of the Red Bull Air Race championship and participated with the Extra 330LX.

Warbirds
The OV-10B Bronco belonging to European Fighter Aircraft Museum and based at Montelimar in France impressed the public with closed turns and low passes. The plane is painted with desert camouflage and U.S. Marine Corps markings. It was the first participation of the Bronco in the Spanish airshow.

Paragliding, planes of the Barcelona-Sabadell Aero Club fleet (Cessna 182T, Tecnam P-2006T and Zlin Z-50) and some vintage airplanes: Bücker Jungmann, Dornier Do-27, Beechcraft T-34 Mentor and the military jet Hispano Aviación HA-220 Súper Saeta completed the airshow's flying schedule.

Participants:



EF-18M Hornet
AV-8B Harrier
EC665 Tiger
CH-47D Chinook
CL-215T
Bücker Jungmann
Dornier Do-27
Beechcraft T-34 Mentor
OV-10B Bronco
Hispano Aviación HA-220 Súper Saeta
Zlin Z-50
SU-31M
Extra 330LX
Tecnam P-2006T
Cessna 182T
Patrulla Aguila
Paraglider team PAPEA


Report and photography by Paco Jover for The Aviation Magazine

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Images of Festa al Cel Airshow 2018
 
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