Miramar Airshow, San Diego, California 22-24 September 2017 Report by Peter Davison Of all the US West Coast military airshows, the US Marine Corps at Miramar is a must see with only Edwards AFB having similar status. This massive base, well away from public view, is home to the training and attack squadrons of F-18 Hornets and the new MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotors, backed up by C-130 Hercules and H-53 Sea Stallions. With an aggressive 'can do' Marine Corps mission it was a welcome change to witness an attack demonstration rather than just civilian demonstrations.
54th National Air Races, Reno Stead Airfield, Nevada, USA 16-17th September 2017 Report by Peter and Kim Davison Immortalised by speed lovers worldwide, this famous event polarises the region bringing thousands to this desert city every year. For the first time visitor the secret is to arrive at least three days early when admission is less expensive, competitors and vendors are making ready and the atmosphere builds between trials and heats. This prepares you for the crowds and excitement of the weekend finals.
RSA Gathering, Brienne-le-Chateau, France, 28-30 July 2017 Report by Peter and Kim Davison The 'Rassemblement des Constructeurs Amateurs' represents aircraft homebuilders across France, those amateur fabricators who build their own light aircraft either from kits or completely of their own design. Projects are often completed in their own homes or at local airfields. The RSA provides a forum for the exchange of knowledge, a resource of technical knowledge and guidance on the complex regulations governing the design and operation of light aircraft. This regional gathering offers opportunities for members to share experiences in an informal atmosphere.
MAB 2017, Chambley, France, 21-30 July 2017 Report by Peter and Kim Davison This is now billed as the biggest hot-air balloon gathering in the world. Only Albuquerque, New Mexico comes close. Held every two years, this, the fifteenth such show in the Region of Grand Est, centred near Metz, birthplace of Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier, the world's first aeronaut. This French region has four international borders and over sixteen nations were represented in mass ascents at 0630 and 1830 each day subject to suitable weather conditions.
RIAT 2017, RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, England 14-16 July 2017 Report by Peter Davison and Colin Coulthard RIAT prides itself on being the largest military airshow in the world and, this year, certainly lived up to that claim. RAF Fairford, being a major US Air Force staging post, was an appropriate venue to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the USAF; the dominant theme of this year's event. The 75th Anniversary of the RAF Regiment was also commemorated. The enhanced USAF participation included the 'Thunderbirds' display team and the rare appearance of all three strategic bomber types; B-52 and B-1 on static display and a rare visit from a B-2 Spirit on the Sunday afternoon.
BA113 Portes Ouvertes, St Dizier, France 1 - 2 July 2017 Report by Peter Davison Regular military airshow visitors have grown fond of the Dassault Rafale with its sleek lines, auto-focus loving edges and dynamic performance in recent years. As France's primary Rafale base, St Dizier did not disappoint with numerous examples on show in special marks, under maintenance and in action. The squadron is to be commended for not subscribing to the regrettable adage 'seen one and you have seen them all'.
ALAT base Phalsbourg, France, 1 -2 July 2017 Report by Peter Davison The French Army, ALAT (Aviation legere Armee de terre), operates a large fleet of helicopters both for ground support and attack capabilities. For many decades this was based around the Puma and Gazelle but recent years have seen the introduction of more modern types. The Eurocopter Tiger and NH90 in particular and both types were on show.