RAF Marham, Norfolk, England 19th October – 5th November 2020 Report by Peter Davison and Colin Coulthard With Europe starved of international airshows and the skies above sadly depleted as airlines suffer unprecedented drops in custom, it was good news to hear that exercise Crimson Warrior was to proceed as planned. Crimson Warrior will see RAF, Royal Navy, United States Marine Corps and United States Air Force fast jets, multi-engine aircraft and helicopters operating from a number of RAF stations across the country.
The 13th annual HeliRussia trade fair took place at the Crocus Expo exhibition centre in Moscow on 15th-17th September 2020. Since 2008 the event, which is held under the auspices of Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (and has grown into Europe’s largest helicopter industry exhibition over a ten-year period), was traditionally held at this venue in May; in 2020, however, the COVID-2019 pandemic has caused it to be postponed until autumn. Fortunately by September the epidemiological situation had improved sufficiently for the event to go ahead as planned. HeliRussia-2020 featured foreign participants from 12 countries, even though some of the traditional participants, such as Leonardo of Italy, chose to stay away for various reasons – mainly due to closed borders.
On 23rd-29th August 2020 the town of Kubinka west of Moscow hosted the ‘Army-2020’ International Military-Technical Forum. The event, which is held under the auspices of Russia’s Ministry of Defence and the Rosoboroneksport (Russian Defence Export) arms trading agency, is now in its sixth edition, having been held annually since 2015, and has earned a solid reputation as both a defence trade fair and an exciting show. The first three days are trade days when negotiations are held and deals are inked, while on the other four days the event is open to the general public.
41st Bristol Balloons, August 8-11th 2019. Ashton Court, Avon. Report by Colin and Sheila Coulthard. This annual event is the largest Balloon Meet in the United Kingdom; held at the picturesque Ashton Court Estate every year in mid August. Local manufacturer Cameron Balloons is famed worldwide for developing the modern hot-air balloon and creating many of the 'special shapes' that make these events so visually attractive to the public. In contrast to the recently completed French meeting the essential calm weather stayed away with storm force winds over the weekend restricting free flights to a minimum.
GEMAB19, Chambley Aerodrome, Lorraine, France - 26 July - 4 August 2019 Report by Peter and Kim Davison This, the sixteenth such meet, celebrated thirty years since the first in 1989. Metz born Jean Francois Pilatre de Rozier was the world's first aeronaut in 1783 and Philippe Pilatre still coordinates the event; supported by the Region Grande Est with a budget of three million Euros though the estimated local benefit is ten fold. Visitor numbers are estimated at 400,000. Although extremely weather dependent, after a rough start, 2019 brought hot dry days with light winds from Sunday onwards. On the morning of the Grand Line 456 balloons lifted within an hour in still conditions; filling the sky overhead and equalling a previous record. Similar conditions heralded the famous 'night glow' on the Wednesday evening.
Royal International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, UK Report by Peter Davison and Colin Coulthard What a difference a day makes. Friday was almost washed out with very heavy rain and a very low cloud-base. Saturday, however, dawned brighter, not perfect, but fine enough for a full day of flying fully up to global aspirations. The 'special attractions being a joint display from the Red Arrows and Patrouille de France, a British Airways centenary flypast with a retro-schemed 747 leading the reds on their final UK display prior to a three month North America tour. Not satisfied with that, the 70th anniversary of NATO allowed a mixed formation; fairly widely spaced, comprising various NATO aircraft. Add in over 200 visiting aircraft and the show delivered what is widely known as the world's biggest and best military airshow.
RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset, United Kingdom, 13th July 2019 Report by Peter and Kim Davison Such is the star quality of this annual Naval celebration that it continues to survive the general reduction in military airshows across Europe. Despite being close to the Air Tattoo the crowds and exhibits continue to converge to celebrate Naval aviation, particularly in regard to rotary and coastal patrol assets. With the co-located Fleet Air Arm Museum and a strong educational agenda it also inspires repeat visits and maritime loyalty from an eager public.