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2011 Air Shows
100th Anniversary of the Turkish Air Force, Cigli AFB, June 4-5
Location: Izmir-Cigli AFB, Turkey
Admission: FREE
Parking: FREE
Value: Excellent
The Turkish Air Force (“Turk Hava Kuvvetleri“), one of the oldest military aviation organizations in the world, celebrated their centennial on the first weekend of June.
If one entered the base by the main gate, they saw four gate guard aircraft; Bell UH-1H Iroquois, Lockheed T-33A, North American F-100F Super Sabre, and Beech T-34A Mentor. The gate guards were positioned on manicured lawns, with several Turkish flags in the background and one statue of an airman.
Heading away from the main gate toward the flight line ramp, between flowers and wonderful palm trees, one could see additional aircraft: McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II, Cessna T-37C Tweety Bird, Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star and a Northrop F-5B Freedom Fighter. The F-5B was positioned on a pedestal to give the impression that it was taking off and climbing towards the sky.
If one entered by the public entrance to the Base, on the ramp leading to the flight line along the way, one could see many different types of aircraft from the Turkish Air Force inventory. Some are rarely seen, such as the SIAI Marchetti SF 260D, Socata TB-20 Trinidad from the Turkish Navy, Northrop T-38A Talon, Cessna T-41D Mescalero or the Bell AH-1P Huey Cobra.
The static aircraft from the Turkish Air Force were not roped off. The visitors to the Base had free access to speak with the crewmembers and enter the transports and the helicopters, including the latest Boeing 737-7ES Peace Eagle. This made photographing the static a challenge, as photographers are interested in the aircraft and not necessarily of the crowds. Additional static displays from the Turkish Air Force included: the Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker, Lockheed C-130E Hercules, Transall C-160D, CASA-IPTN 235-100, McDonnell Douglas RF-4E Phantom II, McDonnell Douglas F-4E Terminator 2020, Northrop F-5A Freedom Fighter, General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcon and the brand new Lockheed Martin F-16D-52 from the Peace Onyx IV program. The Northrop T-38M Talon, which is an upgraded version, and the new training aircraft from the Korea Aerospace, KT-1T Wong Bee. One out of the ten ordered, IAI Heron UAV, was also in the static line up. The helicopter line up consisted of the Eurocopter AS-532 UL Cougar, Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk, Agusta-Bell 412EP and the dinosaur Bell UH-1H Iroquois.
Apart from the Turkish Stars display team present, many countries and their display teams were invited for the 100th anniversary event. One could see the USAF Thunderbirds, Red Arrows from the UK, Italian Frecce Tricolori, the French Patrouille de France, Team Iskry from Poland, Patrulla Aguila (Eagle Patrol) from Spain, Krila Oluje (Wings of Storm) from Croatia. However, the Pakistani display team Sherdils, cancelled a short time before the show. The foreign static display included the support aircraft for the Wings of Storm from Croatia, an Antonov 32B. Only two of this aircraft are in service by the Croatian Air Force. Bulgaria sent a Mig-29UB, a PC-9M and one Alenia C-27J Spartan. The Antonov was present from Serbia, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary. The Polish Air Force sent an IPTN-CASA C-295M. Several C-130 Hercules were present from Italy, Denmark, Pakistan, Algeria and of course, Turkey. Other aircraft in the static area included two Saab 105 OE from Austria, two Eurofighters from Germany, an AMX, a C-27J Spartan and also one Eurofighter from Italy, two IAR 99 Soim from Romania, and several F-16 from Belgium, Netherlands, Jordan and Pakistan.
On Friday, Airbus Military sent the new Transporter Airbus A-400M “Grizzly,” that departed on Saturday in the evening. By the way, the Turkish Air Force has ordered ten (10) A-400M. The Royal Air Force sent one Tornado GR4 and the Hungarian Air Force had one JAS-39 Gripen.
Three JF-17 Thunder were there from Pakistan; one flew in the display, with one spare, and one as static. For the JF-17 “Thunder” it was only their third appearance at an air show, after Farnborough, UK and Zhuhai, China. The JF-17 was parked next to the German Eurofighters and the Bulgarian Mig-29UB. A very nice contrast.
The eight hour flying display on Saturday and Sunday were similar, accept for the flypast from the Turkish Air Force, which was only on Saturday. The spectacular 31 aircraft flypast included most of the aircraft types used by the Turkish Air Force. The flypast started with three Eurocopter AS 532 Cougars. The Cougars towed two sets of flags; on top was Turkish flag with the 100 year anniversary below it. The next echelon was made up with three examples each: Cessna T-41D, SF 260D, T-37 Tweety Bird, KT-1T Wong Bee, and T-38 Talon. They were followed by the transport aircraft: one Casa 235, Transall C-160D and Lockheed C-130E Hercules and a KC-135R Stratotanker with the boom down. They were followed by three examples each, F-16s, the F-4E-2020s. The flypast ended with the Northrop F-5A-2000s.
The spectators could see the Turkish Air Force’s 100th year anniversary F-16, in a wonderful black and gold paint scheme. Other F-16s from the Netherlands, Belgium and from Pakistan performed over the skies of Izmir. The best F-16 display was the “Solo Turk” flown by Major Murat KELES from 141 Filo. His display was very dynamic and presented his F-16 perfectly for photographers. The Pakistani JF-17 “Thunder” had a good display too, showing off the maneuverability of this powerful fighter.
The flying display was a good mixture of different jets from several countries including the rarely seen IAR-99 “Soim” from Romania. The other impressive display was from the Italian Air Force’s C-27 “Spartan” and Eurofighter. Interestingly enough, only the Thunderbirds represented the United States as there were no other aircraft from USAF.
Monday, the departure day, was a perfect day to photograph the aircraft leaving the airbase. Several of the aircraft taxied slowly alongside of the photographers to give them ample time to take images as they taxied. A special thank you goes to the Phantom pilots for providing this great opportunity.
One of the most interesting aircraft to see after most of the others left the base was the Ilyushin Il-78 (NATO reporting name Midas) a four-engined aerial refueling tanker based on the Il-76, from the Pakistan Air Force, that had just arrived. Additionally the Pakistan Air Force sent four Lockheed C-130 Hercules on Monday to Izmir, who arrived late in the evening.
In summary, the 100 th anniversary of the Turkish Air Force was not only a very well organized airshow, but was a huge success. Congratulations goes to General Hasan Aksay, Commander of the Turkish Air Force and Base Commander from Cigli, for their great organization skills.
We would like to thank the Public Affairs Media officer Mr. Hüsamettin Harmanci, from Ankara for his assistance, who listened to our requests/needs and was very helpful to us.
Aircraft/Performers Presented:
  • Turkish Stars display team
  • USAF Thunderbirds
  • Red Arrows
  • Frecce Tricolori
  • Patrouille de France
  • Team Iskry
  • Patrulla Aguila (Eagle Patrol) from Spain,
  • Krila Oluje (Wings of Storm) from Croatia
  • and many others.
Rating: 9.9 out of 10
A Cougar helicopter towed two flags; on top was Turkish flag with the 100 year anniversary below it.
the Turkish Air Force’s 100th year anniversary F-16
Bulgarian MiG-29
Photography Peter Thivessen and report by Wolfgang Jarisch and Laszlo Nyary for AIRSHOWSREVIEW LLC
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