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2011 Air Shows

NATO Days in Ostrava Sept. 22-23, 2011, Czech Republic

Location: Leos Janacek Airport, Ostrava, Czech Republic
Admission: Free
Parking: Various depending on car, motorcycle or bus.
Value: Excellent
AirShowsReview was back for the 12 th NATO-Days in Ostrava, held on the 24th and 25 th September, 2011, under ideal weather conditions. By far, this is the largest Air, Army and Security show in central Europe. And, it is FREE! This well organized event was attended by 225,000, setting a new attendance record, over shadowing last year’s 185,000 visitors by a wide margin.
The organizers of NATO days in Ostrava are the Jagello 2000 Association, the Joint Forces Headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic, the Fire Rescue Brigade of the Moravian-Silesian Region, the Police of the Czech Republic and the Ostrava Leos Janacek Airport. The event is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, the Moravian-Silesian Region, the Public Diplomacy Division NATO and the Statutory City of Ostrava. As you can see from the list, this is very impressive and the event provides a very wide and therefore interesting mixture of air displays, security, hostage rescue, and army demonstrations using a different variety of armored vehicles.

In 2011, several non-NATO members attended the event, such as the Israel Air Force. They brought two F-15D “Baz” and one KC-130H “Karnaf” for the static display. One of the F-15D’s had kill marks displayed, that were won against Syrian Mig’s. An additional C-130H, support aircraft for the event arrived, but returned the same day to Israel, just as it had arrived. These Hercules were quite interesting; they had no identification markings except for their numbering.

In 2011, several non-NATO members attended the event, such as the Israel Air Force. They brought two F-15D
In 2011, several non-NATO members attended the event, such as the Israel Air Force. They brought two F-15D
The Austrian Air Force was represented by the Blackhawk as last year too, but this year they participated in the flying display. Additionally a Eurofighter from Zeltweg flew in for the flying display and then returned directly back to Austria after it flew.
The RV8tors flew a duo of homebuilt Vans RV-8.  With smoke generators on and impressive close formation aerobatics display, they were a very nice change of pace from the military hardware present at the air show.
For the first time in Ostrava, display teams were present: the Turkish Stars and the Baltic Bees from Latvia. The Baltic Bees were founded in 2008 and they fly (4) Aero L-39Cs. They flew a nice routine, and the solo flew sometimes at a very low level. The Red Arrows cancelled due to the tragic accident earlier this year.
Other aircraft flying included the Dutch F-16, Slovak Mig-29AS, British Beechcraft King Air B200 and the Tucano Display team. From the Czech Republic solo displays from the L-159 Alca, the Gripen flew and several helicopters too that were involved in the ground demonstration. An interesting Mil Mi-8 we could see from the Polish Police. This helicopter had no rear gate doors, which allowed the special troops to drop down fast during the hostage rescue demo with a civilian aircraft. We missed the SAR Demo from the Belgian Sea King that was cancelled one day before the show, for unknown reasons.
The static display was a good mix with helicopters, transport aircraft, reconnaissance aircraft and jets. NATO E-3A EWACS, a British E-3D EWACS and from the Swedish Air Force from the Air Transport and Special Flight Unit F7 a very rare Saab S 100D Argus. The S100D Argus is the upgraded version of the S100B. From the USAF Reserve Command we could see a KC-135R, C-130H and a B-52H. The USAF also sent a new C-130J from Ramstein to Ostrava. Capt Kerry Baker from the 307th Bomb Wing / Barksdale LA., was the designer of this year’s B-52 Ostrava badge. From the Czech Republic we could see also many interesting aircraft. A very rare Zlin L-142AF, a Yak-40, the new CASA C-295M, an Aero L-39 and Aero L-159, and all Helicopters from the Czech Air Force, including the Mil Mi-2.
Eurofighters were present; one from Germany and two from Italy, a Mirage 2000N from the French Air Force, a Gripen from Hungary, two F-16’s from Norway and one from the Netherlands, a Mig-29UBS from Slovakia and a Mil Mi-17 from Slovakia in a very interesting digital camouflage paint scheme, and the list goes on.
The food available was excellent with a wide variety from which to choose. The event could improve with more sanitation facilities though. Over all, the weekend event was fantastic, where you could spend time talking to the crews, and enjoy the flying demonstrations. Wish to thank Capt Kerry Baker from the 307th Bomb Wing / Barksdale LA, the Belgian Air Force Hercules crew for their hospitality as well Capt Tomas Pettersson from the Swedish Air Force.
Some of the participants were:
  • B-52H Stratofortress
  • C-130J Super Hercules
  • Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4
  • Mirage 2000N
  • F-16 MLU Dutch Demo Team
  • L-39C Albatros Baltic Bees Demo Team
  • NF-5A Turkish Stars Demo Team
  • S100D Argus
  • F-15D Baz  
  • JAS-39D Gripen
  • MiG-29 UBS
  • MiG-29 AS
  • Mi-24
  • and too many others to list.

Rating: 9.7 out of 10

L-39Cs of the Baltic Bees Demo Team
Mig-29UBS from Slovakia in a very interesting digital camouflage paint scheme
One of the many  special demos.

Photography by Wolfgang Jarisch report co-written by Wolfgang Jarisch and Laszlo Nyary for AIRSHOWSREVIEW LLC.

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