2012 Air Shows
Malta International Air Show September 29th-30th, 2012
Location: Malta International Airport, Luqa, Malta
Admission: €12 Adults and children over 14.
Parking: Free at Park 3. Public transport was available right to the entrance gate.
Value: Excellent
The 2012 air show organised by the Malta Aviation Society was held on the 29/30 th September 2012 to mark the 20 th anniversary since the first air show was held in Malta and coincided with the 70 th anniversary of Malta being awarded the George Cross for its bravery during World War II. What started as a humble event in 1993 has now grown to a fully fledged Air Show. The weather on both days was excellent with clear skies, light wind but scorching heat! The hospitality by the organisers and all the volunteers was exceptional.
VIP seating area complete with its own refreshment area was available for an additional €5 charge, whilst the Press had their own secluded area adjacent to the seating area smack in the centre of the flying display area. The spectators were close to where the taxiing aircraft and flight display took place, with an 18 - 200mm lens being sufficient to capture all the action.
There were also numerous stands set up by local flying schools, local businesses and educational institutions. The national airline Airmalta had its own stand where new merchandise with the new branding and colours were sold as also did the ever present Armed Forces of Malta Air Wing. As expected, collectors – young and old, hovered the area in search of memorabilia from the aircrews. Unfortunately not all aircrews had such material.
A dedicated refreshment and food stall provided with tables and chairs for crews, volunteers and spectators to take a break was also available. Prices were reasonable ranging from €2 for a soft drink to €4.50 for a Beefburger with salad and fries. Other beverage and ice cream stalls were set up on Park 4. Restroom facilities were more than adequate and cleaning staff did a great job. First Aid and rescue crews were also present. The glossy 76 page Malta International Air show 2012 Souvenir Programme packed with lots of helpful information and features was available for sale from two MAS merchandise stands for €5 or packed with the official MAS 2013 calendar for €8. A special 20 th Anniversary patch was also for sale for €8.
On Friday 28th, the MAS volunteers were taken to the Runway 13 treshold for the arrival of the aircraft. The Chinook made a spectacular landing in front of us and we could see one of the crew onboard filming us with his Ipad. The NATO Awac was more adventurous, zigzagging in font of us after performing a low flypast before returning to land. From this location one could also photograph the commercial airliners landing on runway 13.
Due to various factors the actual air show and static aircraft on display were not the usual that were in recent years, and late cancellations and complications did not help either. However this did not result in a drop in the attendances on both days and last minute changes to the flying display made up for the forced cancellation of the Red Arrows visit and display.
The star of the air show was to be the Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXB to commemorate the George Cross award anniversary but as things developed, the Spitfire had to share being the “star” participant. Undoubtedly, the arrival on Saturday afternoon of the Airmalta Airbus A320 reg no 9H-AEN with its brand new colours straight from Ostrava in the Czech Republic was the highlight of the show with a stunning low past quasi aerobatic display for all to witness the underside and capabilities of the aircraft. A special mention must go to Captains Martin Ferrando u Patrick Calleja.
When it became certain that the Red Arrows would not be arriving on Sunday, the flying display programme had to be amended by the organisers in collaboration with Airmalta and the Spitfire pilot, resulting in a spectacular display by the Airmalta Airbus A320-214 9H-AEN and later a flypast together with the Spitfire, a scene that will remain in the memory of many who attended the 2012 Malta International air show. Earlier the Libyan Chinook helicopter took to the air and participated with a cracking flying display.
As the sun set and the gates closed I spoke to Joe Ciliberti, Malta Aviation Society Chairman and air show mastermind who summed up the proceedings as follows. “It was just the experience that saved the situation at this year’s air show. For months, we were promised two Libyan Mirages as appreciation to all that Malta did to help the wounded during last year’s uprising in Libya. In the last week and a half we were informed that the Mirage pilot could not fly for the air show and thus Libya would not participate. Our efforts with Libya to at least still participate with either a helicopter or an aircraft yielded results when on Thursday evening, a few hours before the show was to start I received a phone call that Libya chose to send a Chinook helicopter. This was of great satisfaction after all the ongoing efforts over the last months. The fact that the Qatar Emiri Air Force chose to participate for the first time in the Malta air show was also very positive but, when we were all ready to offer another quality display, it so happened that the Red Arrows had suffered problems in the oxygen system on their way to Malta and had to make an emergency landing in Sardegna where at least one Pilot and Engineer were hospitalised. I would like to thank the public for understanding that these were things beyond our control as well as to all the MAS volunteers and participating aircrews for making this yet another successful event and look forward to start preparations for the 2013 air show”
All in all it was an exceptional weekend at the Air Show and looking forward to the 2013 edition which will be held on the last weekend of September.
Performers included:
  • Armed Forces of Malta Alouette 316B helicopter reg no AS9211
  • Eurojet Learjet 60 reg no 9H-AFJ
  • Diamond Aviation Extra 200 reg no D-ELOP
  • Italian Military mission Augusta Bell 212 helicopter reg no MM81216
  • RAF Tucano from 72sqdrn reg no ZF269
  • RAF Hawk from 208sqdrn reg no XX278
  • RAF King Air 200 reg no ZK452
  • Supermarine Spitfire MK IXB reg no MH434
  • Airmalta A320-214 reg no 9H-AEN.
Static displays included:
  • Libyan Chinock helicopter reg no LC-010
  • Qatar Emiri Air Force Hercules C130J reg no A7 MAH
  • RAF Eurofighter Typhoons with reg nos ZJ920 and ZJ936
  • RAF Tornados with reg nos ZA395 and ZD842
  • RAF King Air 200 reg no ZK453
  • Royal Navy King Air 300 reg no ZZ501
  • United States C-26 reg no 531
  • NATO Boeing E3A Awacs reg no LX-N90448
  • Armed Forces of Malta Alouette 316B helicopter reg no AS9315
  • Armed Forces of Malta Bulldog reg no AS0021
  • Armed Forces of Malta King Air 200 reg nos AS1226 and AS1227
  • Italian Guardia di Finanza helicopter A-109 reg no MM8170
  • Italian Guardia di Finanza P-166 reg no MM62227
  • Italian Military Mission helicopter AB212 reg no MM81159
  • Medavia Dash 8-300 reg no 9H-AEY
  • CBi300 helicopter reg no 9H-ZAR
  • Diamond Aviation DA-20 CI Eclipse reg no 9H-AGB
  • Diamond Aviation DA-42 TDI
  • Diamond Star reg no 9H-AGA
  • Diamond Aviation 42 Twin Star reg no 9H-DFT
  • Sky People Tecnam P2002JF reg no 9H-SKY
  • Sky People Piper PA28-161 Warrior II reg no 9H-FLY
  • Messerschmitt Bf 108
  • Caberra 728B NAS - RNAS Hal Far, Malta
  • and various other aircraft from the Island Microlight Club, the European Pilot Acadamy and the Malta School of flying.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Report and photography by Ray Pace for AIRSHOWSREVIEW LLC
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