23 November 2014
Although there are external viewpoints at Gifu the Air Fest provides a great opportunity to see most of the resident test fleet and, as these examples are instrumented long term residents, to get good photographs of some unique airframes. Publicity posters featured large mixed type formations which were presented with style.
Not everything was on show, a notable exception being the new P2 maritime patrol aircraft now in production. The XC2 appeared in static, and taxied the full length of the runway, but stayed on the ground. This left the C1FTB to lead the flypast and thereafter to demonstrate its agility in tight turns over the airfield. Multiple examples of the F4 Phanthom and F15 Eagle were on the flightline along with a selection of visitors, many of which departed at show’s end in mid-afternoon.
One disadvantage of Gifu is the northside ramp which disadvantages photographers, however, the considerate authorities have this sorted; a continuous stream of buses, plus a pedestrian route, carried visitors to the south side where bushes and obstructions had been trimmed to create a south side viewing area which allowed well lit viewing all afternoon. The base collection of preserved aircraft is also in this area and many of the retail and catering facilities were located here; reducing the airside clutter and risks of FOD had they been northside.