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2012 Air Shows
Slovak International Air Fest September 1-2, 2012
Location: Sliac, Republic of Slovakia
Admission: €5 Adults and children over 6, Seniors 62 + FREE
Parking: Free
Value: Very Good
SIAF (Slovak International Air Fest) was held on the first and second day of September 2012 in Sliac, which is a city in middle Slovakia on the river Hron. SIAF 2012 was organized by the Slovak Aviation Agency (SAA), Ltd. Banská Bystrica,in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence ( Martin Glváč ) of the Slovak Republic, the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic, the Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development of the  Slovak Republic, Banská Bystrica Self-governing Region, and the towns of Banská Bystrica, Zvolen and Sliač.
The organizers have done a lot of things to make this event successfully. One of the things which was really excellent was the layout and information on the homepage. Also the press accreditation was professional and uncomplicated. The other things what we need for a good air show is simply said: aircraft. And the organizers brought a very interesting mix of aircraft in the static display and also in the flying display.
There was a historical moment in flying history of the Republic of Slovakia at this year’s SIAF. For the first time ever, the legendary B-52H Stratofortress (60-0035 “Global Warrior”) landed in Slovakia. ASR received an invitation for the landing of the “Buff” on Wednesday August 29th, but it was not possible to be there. I could only be at SIAF for one day, and so I chose the public day on the first of September. 2012 was a special anniversary for the B-52 Stratofortress. This aircraft has been in service for 60 years: six decades of dependable devastating fire power. Can you imagine driving the same car you have today sixty years from now? But, just for the record, “Global Warrior” was built in 1960, so it is a little bit younger.
We saw another premiere at SIAF 2012. The Russians brought the brand new two-seat 4+ generation multi-role fighter MiG-29M-2 for the first time to Europe. The MiG-29M-2 is the latest model of the famous MiG-29 family with modified fuselage and wings, fly-by-wire control system, increased internal fuel capacity, inflight refueling possibility and increased weapons load stored at external hard points. The Klimov RD-33MK engines with increased thrust power are equipped with smokeless combustion chambers and a new electronic control system (of FADEC type). Smokeless is, unfortunately, a very sad thing for aircraft enthusiasts because all enthusiasts like the black smoke of the legendary “Fulcrum” generation. But the biggest surprise of this MiG’s appearance was the support aircraft. The Russians sent an Antonov An-12, which parked at the far end on the south side of the runway. After the end of the first day both aircraft flew very late to Batajnica / Serbia, where they attended that air show on Sunday. Slovakia and Serbia needs new fighters in the future.
Speaking of new fighters, the Swedish Air Force brought a Gripen to the flying display, and also the cockpit simulator. Many people were very interested in the cockpit simulator. Saab brought also a lot of technical information material to the event. Let’s see what happens in the future!
Black smoke? No problem at SIAF 2012. We could see a two-ship formation of the older MiG-29AS’s in a beautifully staged dogfight. The dogfight was flown during the whole program with flares. Perfect! Not just that, we also saw a perfect flying display from the 39 year old Slovak Air Force pilot, LTC. Marian “BUKER” Bukovský . He showed us the maneuverability in a very impressive display in the sky over Sliac.
The Slovak Air Force was also represented with a retired Let L-29 “Delfin” (the type was withdrawn in 2002), an Aero L-39ZAM “Albatross” and an Aero L-159 “Alca” in the flying display. On static display we could see the last Mil Mi-2 which is in service in the Slovak Air Force and a retired MiG-21MF which was brought from the museum in Kosice .Different versions of the L-39 “Albatross” and one MiG-29UBS were also part of the static display. Another part of the Slovak Air Power was the flying demonstration of a Mil Mi-171 from the police, featuring a rescue demo with fast roping. The Flying Bulls presented the Bell AH-1 “Cobra” and the Lockheed P-38 2 “Lightning” to the visitors in Sliac. Both displays were better than ever. Red Bull style!
From Hungary was the world ’s newest flying Lisunov Li-2 (license built DC-3) here in Sliac. The Retro Sky Team, founded in 2009, showed us simulated WWII fights and attacks. The aircraft are not really WWII aircraft but they wear a similar camouflage. The small group of enthusiasts flies one Zlin 226M, T and MS, one Zlin 528AFS and one YAK-52. Also one Antonov An-2TD belongs to the group. Gliders are not often seen in the flying display of international air shows, but here in Sliac we saw a really beautiful display of a four-ship formation of Let L-23 Super Blanik. All the gliders where towed by one PZL M-18 Dromedar .
Another part of the air show was the display of the Swiss F/A-18 Hornet. Hpt. Ralph «Deasy» Knittel from the Fliegerstaffel (flight squadron)17 showed us the full range of this powerful fighter. Some maneuvers are similar to this year’s F/A-18F Super Hornet display, which we saw at Fairford and Farnborough. A big compliment for this display. Also the Belgian Air Force solo display team and the Agusta A-109 attend SIAF 2012. The Eurofighter EF-2000 from the Austrian Air Force showed up for the first time outside Austria and put on a good 7 minute display. It was different from the British or Italian displays, and better than a German Eurofighter, which has not put on a display in many years! Two national aerobatic display teams performed at Sliac. From Italy the legendary “Frecce Tricolori”, and from Poland the display team “Orlik”. The name "Orlik" comes from the name of the aircraft PZL-130 Orlik used in the team. The Czech Air Force was represented with the dark blue Mil Mi-35V “Hind” in tiger camouflage in the flying display. One of the, or better, THE highlight of the show was the attendance of two Sukhoi Su-22M-4 “Fitter K”. The Polish Air Force presented this swing-wing fighter from the cold war in an amazing display. Both aircraft flew in formation with different wing geometries. After the first part they performed two crossings, and by the end of the display they made a high speed pass, shooting out a mass of flares. Sorry, no picture, I was completely surprised. Let’s hope for better luck at the display in Ostrava, where the Polish Sukhoi’s will also appear.
ASR would like to thank the organizers SAA and their staff for their invitation.
Performers included:
  • MiG-29M-2
  • MiG-29AS
  • Aero L-39ZAM Albatross
  • Aero L-159 Alca
  • Mil Mi-171
  • Red Bull Bell AH-1 Cobra
  • Red Bull P-38 2 Lightning
  • Sukhoi Su-22M-4 Fitter K
  • F/A-18 Hornet
  • Belgian Solo F-16 Team
  • Eurofighter EF-2000
  • Italian Frecce Tricolori
  • Polish Orlik Display Team
  • and many more...
Static displays included:
  • USAF B-52H Stratofortress
  • Polish Air Force - Lockheed C-130E Hercules
  • Austrian Air Force - Agusta-Bell AB212 / Pilatus PC-6/B2H2 Turbo Potter
  • Czech Air Force - CASA 295M / Saab JAS 39D Gripen / Let 410 UVP-E
  • German Air Force - Panavia Tornado
  • Swedish Air Force - Saab JAS 39C Gripen
  • Hungarian Air Force - Saab JAS 39D Gripen.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Report and photography by Wolfgang Jarisch for AIRSHOWSREVIEW LLC
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