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2010 Air Shows

Kecskemet International Air Show-- Hungary, August 7-8

Location: Kecskemet AFB, Hungary
Admission: Less than $20
Parking: FREE
Value: Excellent

The Hungarian Air and Military show is held at the Kecskemét AFB, in City of Kecskemét, about 1 hours drive south east of Budapest by car. It was also possible to take trains and buses to Kecskemét, and if arriving by train, a direct bus service was available to the AFB.

The air show is held every two years, and it is one of the best air shows in Europe, if not in the world. Due to the huge success of the 2008 air show, organizers decided to make it an annual air show but due to economic downturn experienced in Hungary and the rest of the world the 2009 show was cancelled. Therefore the 2010 was eagerly awaited.

Things did not look good on Friday before the air show. Scattered thunderstorms throughout the day made difficult for aircraft to go up for rehearsal. Most of the participating aircraft had arrived at the base by Thursday thus avoiding the horrible Friday weather. By Saturday morning the heavy rains had stopped but the skies over Kecskemét were overcast with low ceilings. The gloomy weekend forecast called for showers on Saturday and Sunday. That did not stop people from coming to this very popular air show.

The venue has plenty of food vendors and sanitation facilities. It is also a good place for families since there are many activities for children.

The gates were open around 7:30 AM. It is best to arrive as early as possible to avoid heavy traffic jams and to secure a good viewing spot on the field. For photography a 300mm lens or a zoom covering this range will give excellent results. The best entrance point is by the main gate and there are several buses stopping at this location, where the walk to the main grounds is much shorter than from the parking lot gates. Once inside the airbase one notices how big this place is. By 8 AM there were already hundreds people walking around the many vendors, static aircraft and open hangars. For several hours it was unclear if the flying display would start at all, but finally by 1 PM the skies cleared, the sun came out and the best air show in recent memory was allowed to start. And what a show it was! The flying did not stop until well after 7 PM. This air show has such a packed flying schedule that is best to bring your own sandwiches and water and hit the toilet before the show starts so that you do not miss any flying action. One should also plan to attend both days, one for the flying display and the other to walk around. Due to the late start on Saturday not all the planned air displays took to the air.

Sunday’s weather was hot and sunny with occasional dark clouds. It was another full day of air displays starting at 7:45 AM and over at 6:15 PM.

The stars of the static displays were the Israeli F-16I Sufa and an Ukrainian Su-27. Among other on static were 2 Eurofighter Typhoons from Germany, USAF F-15E and a Romanian MIG-21 Lancer. Both days had terrific flying displays. There were no less than 6 different flying display teams, with the highlight being the Frecce Tricolori from Italy celebrating their 50th anniversary. The best individual performance was by the French air force Rafale with a fast and loud routine. The Dutch and Belgian F-16 Demo teams also had a fantastic display. Some of the flying aircraft deployed flares during their displays making them very dramatic. This is something that we do not see at air shows in the United States. The grand finale was a demonstration by the Hungarian air force Mig-29s, Grippens, Mil-24s and a fly over by an AN-26.

Major Aircraft/Performers Presented:

  • Frecce Tricolori -- Italian Team flying MC-39
  • Patrouille Suisse F-5E Tiger II Swiss Air Force
  • Turkish Stars Team flying NF-5A/B
  • Red & White Iskras -- Polish Team TS-11 Iskra
  • Wings of Storm -- Croatian Team
  • Breitling Team -- French Team L-39C
  • F-16AM from Holland
  • F-16AM from Belgium
  • JAS39C Gripen Hungarian Air Force
  • F/A-18C from Switzerland
  • and too many others to list.

Over all we highly recommend the Hungarian air show at Kecskemét for any serious military aviation enthusiast, due to the variety and the number of countries represented and of course due to their flying display.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Israeli F-16I Sufa
Review and photography Peter Thivessen
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