2010 Air Shows

Malta International Air Show

Location: Malta International Airport, Luqa
Admission: € 10 per day, children under 14 free (4 day pass € 75)
Parking: Free
Value: Very Good
The flight line view for 2010, due to construction, is crossed by a commercially active runway and not as good as it is used to be in previous years.
The 18th annual event for the Malta International Air Show (MIAS) is relatively small with only 2 hours of flying time, yet is a very enthusiastic air show, when compared to other annual air shows world wide. However, size and duration of the event is not everything and the flying displays featured a good variety of internationally known aircraft and teams in addition to the Armed Forces of Malta (AMF), static and flying displays.
The actual air show, open to the public, was held on September 25 and 26, with arrival day on the 24 th and departure on the 27 th, unless they purchased the “4 day Enthusiast” pass. The weather forecast called for 30-40% precipitation and partly overcast skies for the weekend. It did rain, on arrival and departure days quite heavily, causing some minor floods in the area, but luckily enough on Saturday, only a few drops materialized in the morning and the strong winds all day, blew the rain clouds away and delayed the start of the show by about 30-45 minutes. Sunday’s weather was the best, with only a slight breeze.
This was my first official visit to Malta. I received an invitation by Lt. Commander J. Philip Webb, who organized the American participation, and by Joe Ciliberti, Air Show Director and President of the Malta Aviation Society.

Both public days featured the same program with the following exceptions: due to strong winds, the microlight aircraft and the recently restored DH 82 Tiger Moth did not fly on Saturday.

The Bae Hawk T1A, with the Union Jack paint scheme, started the flying portion of the air show on Saturday, while the microlights flew on Sunday. These were followed closely by the WE Fly Team made up of handicapped Italian pilots, who flew in an excellent close formation air display. The Canadian built Bombardier CL-415 water bomber demonstration was next, which thrilled the crowds when it released 6000 liters of water above the flight line. The Armed Forces of Malta showed their old and new paint scheme with their Alouette III helicopters in an interesting way, and there was a SAR demo by the Italian AB-212 helicopter. Both the Belgian and Royal Netherlands F-16’s flew a good display including deployment of anti-aircraft missile flares. For many, the highlight of the show was the French Team, Patrouille De France. Interestingly enough, the lead pilot of the team is a woman, Major Virginie Guyot. Patrouille De France started off the show with the deployment of smoke with the Maltese colors to the approval of the crowds. Some of the performances were delayed due to landing and taking off of commercial aircraft from the airport.
The static portion of the show was made up of one German Panavia Tornado ECR, several aircraft from the UK (2) Harriers GR9, (1) Tornado GR4, (1) Bae Dominie and (1) Shorts Tucano T1, (6) aircraft from the USA including (2) C-26D, (1) C-21, (1) C-20, (1) KC-135R and (1) P-3C Orion. It would have been more interesting to see the KC-135R and the P-3C Orion in action. The KDC-10 tanker from the Royal Netherlands Air force was the biggest aircraft on display. The AMF display consisted of the S.A. Bulldog, Britten Norman Islander, and an Aloutte III helicopter. There were a variety of microlight aircraft, Cessna and Diamond aircraft on display from Malta School of Flying and the Diamond Flight Training.
There were fewer vendors for food/drinks or souvenirs than usual at air shows typically of this size in North America or even other European shows. Sanitation facilities were a bit sparse too. The French Team’s C-160 support plane was parked close to the flight line centre, blocking the view of many attendees of aircraft taking off. The light was not exactly the best for photography with the sun partially in front of photographers, a 80-400mm range zoom lens worked the best for flying and supplemented with a wide angle for static.
I wish to thank all the people who made my stay at MIAS an enjoyable one, especially: Lt. Commander J. Philip Webb, Joe Ciliberti and his friendly volunteer staff such as Paul Spiteri Lucas, Mario Zammit and Rosie Lehner.

Over all the air show was a blast and earned a solid 8 out 10. MIAS has a lot of potential for the future…

Some of the flying displays were:

  • Patrouille De France, 8 Alpha jets
  • Belgian F-16 Demo Team
  • Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 Demo Team
  • RAF Hawk Solo Demo
  • RAF Tucano Battle of Britain 70th Anniversary paint scheme
  • AMF Aloutte III helicopters
  • Italian WE Fly Team
  • Italian Bombardier CL-415
  • Italian AB 212 SAR Demo
  • DH 82 Tiger Moth
Rating: 8.0 out of 10
Review and photography by Laszlo Nyary
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