Kunovice Military Day, 2017

Yesterday saw me pay my first visit of 2017 to the Kunovice Aviation Museum in the south east of the Czech Republic.

The museum and local flying club organised a special event called Military Day. The day invloved exhibitions of Second World war uniforms and equipment by historical reenactment clubs, tactical demonstrations by the Czech army, rescue and fire fighting demonstrations by airport emergency services, sightdeeing flights by the flying club and the roll out of a newly restored aircraft in the museum’s collection.

It was also a chance to see a lot of locally designed and built aircraft as Kunovice has, for many years, been a significant centre of Czech aircraft production.

The event was much more than the advertising led me to expect and I was astounded by the scale of it and it was a real challenge to choose just 12, that’s my rule for myself when making primarily photographic posts, pictures to give you a taste of the event.

I sincerely hope the museum and flying club will be making this an annual event, it’s worth it!

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The Evektor EV-55 Outback is a locally designed and built twin turboprop design.
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Another local product is the BRM Aero Bristell ultralight. I took a 30 minute sightseeing ride on this very one.
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Flying over the Morava river and Baťa canal, two prominent features of the Slovácko region of which Kunovice is a part.
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The turnaround point of the flight was the Zlín aircraft factory in the small city of Otrokovice. Zlín has been a presence in Czech aviation since the 1930s.
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This Beech Duke from the German register was available for close inspection.
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Not born in Kunovice, though still a proudly Czech product, this Tatra fire engine from the airport fire brigade arrives.
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An Aero C-104, a Czech variation of the German Bucker Bu-131 Jungmann trainer.
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A Zlín 381, a Czech version of the Bucker Bu-181 Bestmann trainer.
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Roll out of the museum’s freshly restored Let/Zlín Z-37 TM for public viewing. The Z-37 TM was an experiment in the mid 1980s to test the suitability of the Z-37 T agricultural plane for military close support missions. The experiments were unsuccessful and the prototype was returned to agricultural service and found its way onto the Hungarian civil register. In recent years, the museum located and recovered the aircraft and brought it home for restoration.
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The Slovak governmental Tupolev Tu-154 did a few low overflights of the museum. This was one of the last chances to see a Slovak Tu-154 in action, after this weekend they will be retired.
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Another local product, this Let L-23 Super Blaník made a few low passes over the exhibition site.
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Looking at the museum and army demonstration area beyond from atop the airport fire brigade’s cherry picker vehicle.

Pardubice Aviation Fair, 2017

June 3 and 4  of 2017 saw the annual air show in Pardubice, Czech Republic.

As usual, the event was civilian focused with replica and restored aircraft from several eras in aviation history in attendance.

The weather was hot and sunny with a lot of heat haze and the sun directly overhead and a bit behind the display line most of the day. As such, most of my flying shots weren’t really presentable.

A lot of regular performers for the event made their returns and a few new performers were in the mix:

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This preserved OV-10 Bronco, formerly of the Luftwaffe, came in from France.
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The Red Bull B-25 Mitchell gets a pre show polishing. Red Bull also brought their Douglas DC-6, T-28 Trojan and an Alpha Jet to the event.
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One of two T-28 Trojan aircraft in attendance.
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One of a Pair of Yakovlev Yak-3 fighters at the event. This particular one was built in 1944.
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This was the first time I’ve seen a Pilatus PC-7 at the event.
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This German registered Orličan L-40 Meta Sokol was a pleasant surprise when it arrived, it’s not the most common of GA types to see.
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One of the most attractive GA types, in my view anyway, is the Let L-200 Morava. As always, it was lovely to see one at the event.
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Spitfire TE184 is a regular at the event. It’s always interesting to see as the markings seem to change a bit every year.
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This locally based Let L-410 Turbolet was part of the official show opening flypast.
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The Bleriot XI replica seen just after landing.
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The Red Bull Douglas DC-6 touches down after a spectacular performance. Initially, the DC-6 was not scheduled for the event. However, it did a very good job of filling in as a last minute replacement for the scheduled Lockheed Constellation which had to cancel for technical reasons.

Čáslav Open Day, 2017

May 20, 2017 saw me take a trip to Čáslav air base in the central part of the Czech Republic to partake in the biannual open day there. The weather was overcast all day, but thankfully the rain in the forecast stayed away.

I have to say that I came away with some mixed feelings about the 2017 edition of the event. The static display areas were much larger than in previous years, but I’m not sure the best use of the available space was made to best accomodate both those who were looking at the statics and those watching the dynamic show. Many of the static aircraft were placed between the crowd and the dynamic showline. As such, I had trouble getting close to some static aircraft because of people watching the dynamic show from in front of static display areas.

The increased size of the event also led to and increased size of crowd. The result of that was the special train running from the Čáslav rail station to the air base was inadequate for moving the volume of people going there and back in a timely manner.

Hopefully, these matters will be better handled at the next open day.

That said, here’s a small sampling of what was available to be seen on the day:

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The 2017 open day included the public debut of an Aero L-159 ALCA in a special scheme reflecting a Supermarine Spitfire Vb flown by František Peřina (1911-2006) who flew in both the French air force and RAF during WWII and was a patron of 212 Squadron, the unit operating the L-159, later in his life.
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The flying show started off with a Piper Cub which did very well for itself in the face of some strong winds early on in the show.
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Another early performer on the day was this Tiger Moth.
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A Čáslav based Saab Gripen after a spirited performance.
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A look along a section of the static display that included fast jets from France, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.
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Another look at the French Alpha Jet.
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Soon to be gone from Czech skies, one of two Yakovlev Yak-40 transports the Czech air force keeps on charge was in attendance. A replacement for the two aircraft is in the works.
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A Panavia Tornado ECR in from Germany.
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A usual visitor to the Čáslav open day event is the Belgian air force F-16 solo display. As usual, they did not disapoint.
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Ground crew tend to the Belgian F-16 following the display.
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Another Belgian participant this year was the Agusta A-109 display.
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The Patrouille Suisse team brough six jets, though opted for a four plane performance. I’ve seen them perform with more jets and can say their four jet show is no less impressive.