Pardubice Aviation Fair, 2018

Yesterday saw me visit the 2018 edition of the annual airshow in Pardubice, Czech Republic.

The weather was hot and sunny with a few clouds and a constant breeze to cool things down a bit, but only a bit.

As 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the former Czechoslovakia, that event figured into the theme of this year’s show as the year also marks 100 years of Czech aviation.

As always with the Pardubice show, civilian and vintage aircraft are the focus with modern military aircraft taking a smaller part in the action.

This year had slightly bittersweet feel to it as 2018 marks the end of the Mil Mi-2 “Hoplite” helicopter’s Czech service career. The Mi-2s at Pardubice were the last of the type still flying in Czech hands and are in the process of being replaced by the Enstrom 480. While it certainly was sad to see such a distinctive aircraft as the Mi-2 bow out, the main role of  Pardubice is flight training and they must have modern machines to carry out their jobs.

Some regular attendees of the show were notable in their absence. However, there were some new faces to fill in the gaps.

Here’s some of the action:

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OK-UTI is a two seat Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 that flies on the Czech civil register.
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One of the stars of this year’s show for me was this F+W C-3605 brought in by 46 Aviation of Switzerland. It’s one of only two of the type still airworthy.
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The new bird in Pardubice’s training fleet, the Enstrom 480.
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Another newcomer to the show was this privately owned Commonwealth Boomerang which was in from the Netherlands.
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This Czech air force Saab Gripen wears a special paint scheme to mark the 100th anniversaries of Czechoslovakia and Czech aviation.
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The flying program started with this Blériot XI replica.
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Following the Blériot and some WWI replica aircraft, were a trio of Czech interwar types which included the Avia BH.1 (top) and Beneš-Mráz Be-60 Bestiola seen here.
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The immaculately polished Lockheed P-38 Lightning of the Red Bull fleet was one of half a dozen or so aircraft in the WWII display.
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The aerobatics section of the show was kicked off by a couple of formation passes by the Flying Bulls team and one of the locally based Aero L-39 trainers.
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The Flying Bulls in a mirror manoeuvre.
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The aerobatics continued with some wingwalking.
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The modern military display included this Mil Mi-35 “Hind” of the Czech air force, still wearing its now legendary “Alien Tiger” paint scheme it won the 2016 NATO Tiger Meet event in.
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