2018 Event Review

DANISH AIRSHOW - June 10, 2018

Location: Aalborg Air Base, Denmark
Admission: FREE
Parking: FREE
Value: Excellent
Rating out of 10: 8.5

 
Montain Home AFB 2018 Gunfighter Skies

Under a capricious rainy weather the Danish Air Show took place. The event was organized by the Royal Danish Air Force, alternating between the three Danish airbases (Karup, Skrydstrup and Aalborg) every two years. It was Aalborg's turn this year after having waited six years for the Danish Air Show.

Located in the North of the country, Flyvestation Aalborg is one of the three bases of the Royal Danish Air Force. It shares its runway with the Aalborg Civil Airport whose terminal is located south of the base. Aalborg is the home of Squadron 721 (Eskadrille 721), a transport squadron equipped with four C-130J-30 Hercules, three CL-604 Challenger and four Saab T-17 Supporter. It is in charge of the tactical transport of Danish troops but also members of the Danish government and the Danish court thanks to its fleet of Challenger 604. These can also be equipped with an on-board surveillance radar placed under the belly of the aircraft. It also houses the Danish Special Forces unit, the Jægerkorpset. Until their decommissioning in 2006, the Aalborg base also housed Squadron 723 and Squadron 726. These two attack and reconnaissance squadrons equipped with F-16MLU Fighting Falcon were transferred to the Skrydstrup base.


Concentrated to a single day, it was dense and intense with activities. The program was busy, leaving little time for the public and despite the difficult weather conditions, almost the entire program was carried out. Only the passage of the KDC-10 of the Royal Netherland Air Force was cancelled.

Saturday was reserved for rehearsals and Spotter Day. Open to the first two hundred registrants, seats were sold in less than 90 minutes, leaving many candidates out. The entire air show faced towards the (sun) light, not exactly great for the photographers. The organizers moved a small group of spotters accepted on Saturday south of the runway to have the sun in their back for the all duration of rehearsals.

 

Despite the air show the airport activity was not stopped as the commercial flights took precedence, giving the spectators a little (and only) breaks between the program. The flights took off and landed on the runway flanked by the spectators in mass

The main star of this meeting were unquestionably the Norwegian F‐104D which arrived on Saturday evening. The Norwegian F‐104's arrival was eagerly awaited by the numerous spotters who came to admire the venerable "widower maker". This two‐seater Starfighter is actually a Canadair CF‐104D that served in the Canadian Armed Forces. Sold to the Norwegian Air Force in 1973 when the Canadians got rid of parts of their Starfighter fleet. The aircraft served with the 334 Squadron in Bodø before being withdrawn in April 1983 and stored at Sola Air Base. Later, the aircraft returned to Bodø where Air Force trainees used it for ground training until the early 1990s. Afterwards, the aircraft was exhibited in the Air Museum in Bodø, until handed over to the association "Friends of the Starfighter", formed in January 2003. Since then, the association has been working to restore the F‐104. They received help from the men of "Starfighters Aerospace", which currently operates a small fleet of Starfighters commercially on Merritt Island, Florida, as well as by the Aeronautica Italiana, whichprovided many missing pieces, as they were the last to use the F‐104 in service. In 2007, the first restart of the J‐79 engine took place. A year later, the plane made its first taxis trials and in 2011, it received its official civil registration as LN‐STF. In late 2017 it was expected that the F‐104D would make its first flight and 2018 for its first demonstration outside of Norway, in Aalborg. All the spectators anticipated the distinctive spooling up whine and thunder of the J‐79, and were not disappointed even in the rain.

The second main attraction was the Ukrainian Su27 Flanker which arrived on Friday. The Ukrainian Air Force sent a pair of Sukhoi Su‐27s with an Ilyushin Il‐ 76MD support plane for the event. The Ukrainian presence in European aeronautical scenes, despite their on‐going skirmishes on their Eastern border, is much welcomed. The Su‐27s with their special blue camouflage stood out well against the Danish the grey sky. The spectators had to wait until the end of the day to see the huge Soviet built twin engined fighter rush on to the runway for the take off. The demonstration was good but well below of the real capabilities of the Flanker, which was punctuated by a beautiful and huge flares drops.

Despite a complicated weather, the Danish Air Show kept its promise with an exotic line‐up and flamboyant display in the air. We just regret that the website and the excellent communication from organisation on their Facebook page were only available in Danish and not in English. Non Danish speakers had to use the not so accurate Facebook translator program to help them.

Performing Participants:

EF-2000 Typhon Spanish Air Force
FA-18C Hornet Swiss AF
Patrouille de Suisse
FA-18C Hornet Finnish AF
Su-27 Flanker Ukraine Air Force
MiG-15UTI
Vampire
CF-104D Starfighter
Chipmunk
C-47A Dakota
MH-60R Sea Hawk Royal Danish Navy
AS.550C Royal Danish Air Force
F-16C Greek Air Force
PBY-5A Catalina

Static display only:

EF-2000 Typhon Royal Air Force
CH-47D Chinook Royal Netherland Air Force
C-160D Transal Lufthwaffe
Mirage 2000B French Air Force
Mi-17-1V Latvia
An-2 Estonia
R.44 Estonia
C-27J Spartan Lithuania Air Force
AS.365 Lithuania Air Force
L.39C Baltic Bee
P-8A Poseidon US Navy
Il-76MD Ukraine AF
E-3A Awacs NATO
C-130J Hercule Royal Danish Air Force
CL.604 Challenger Royal Danish Air Force
EH.101 Merlin Royal Danish Air Force
F-16A Royal Danish Air Force
Super Lynx Royal Danish Navy
BN-2A Danish Air Force Home Guard


Report and photography by Paul Basque for The Aviation Magazine

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