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  Slovak International Air Fest in Sliac
   1st and 2nd September 2018
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Text:

Chakrit Samithinan

Pictures:

Chakrit Samithinan & Saichol Krai-amat

   

The Slovak International Air Fest 2018 (SIAF) was held at the military base of Sliac from 1st to 2nd September 2018. This yearís event was special inasmuch as the Slovak Air Force celebrated 100 years of Slovak and Czech Air Forces. Unlike last year, the weather was sunny during Fridayís training only while on Saturday and Sunday, the show had to put up with an overcast sky and with repeated rain showers. The Czech Government participated in the SIAF by sending a Government Airbus A319 together with two JAS-39 Gripen aircrafts of the Czech Air Force to participate in an opening flyby together with a Slovak Government Airbus A319 and two Slovak Mig-29s. Representing past Slovak aircrafts no longer in service, a private MIG-15 from the Czech Republic took part in the flying demonstrations.

   
Czech Air Force Airbus A-319CJ and Saab JAS-39 Gripen (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan) Czech Republic MIG-15UTI (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan) Slovak Government Airbus A-319 (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan) Slovak Government Airbus A-319 and MIG-29A (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)
   
Slovak Government Airbus A-319 and MIG-29A  (Picture courtesy Saichol Krai-amat)

Slovak Government Fokker 100 (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Slovak Air Force L-410 Turbolet (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Slovak Air Force Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

 

Mil Mi 35 Hind (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Mil Mi 35 Hind (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Mil Mi 35 Hind (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Mil Mi-17 & Mil Mi-35 (Picture courtesy Saichol Krai-amat)  -

Participating on behalf of the Slovak Air Force were MIG-29As and MIG-29UBS, L-39ZA Albatros, C-27J Spartan, Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and Mil Mi 17 Hip, all of which were seen in the air as well. Highlights in the flying program, apart from the Slovak MIG-29s, were Patrouille de France (only on Saturday), EF-18 Hornet of the Spanish Air Force, JAS-39 Gripen of the Hungarian Air Force, F-16C Block 52+ of the Polish Air Force (dispensing flares) and as a surprise a German PAN200 Tornado. Further participants in the flying demonstrations were the Royal Jordanian Falcons with four brand-new Extra 330LX, the Red Bull aircrafts from Salzburg with the B-25J Mitchell, the Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair and the BO 105 helicopter. The Swedish Air Force sent a Saab SK 60 to the flying program and Zoltan Veres from Hungary showed his usual daring display with his MXS aircraft. Completing the aerial demonstrations were a number of military helicopters. Apart from the earlier mentioned Slovak helicopters, Czech and Polish Mil Mi 35 Hinds and a flare-dispensing Augusta A-109BA of the Belgian Air Component executed skillful displays. Announced but not present in Sliac were Red Bullís Lockheed P-38 Lightning and the private Czech P-51D Mustang.

   

Hungarian Air Force Saab JAS-39 Gripen (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Hungarian Air Force Saab JAS-39 Gripen (Picture courtesy Saichol Krai-amat)

Polish Air Force General Dynamics F-16C Block 52+ Falcon (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Polish Air Force General Dynamics F-16C Block 52+ Falcon (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

   

Polish Air Force General Dynamics F-16C Block 52+ Falcon (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Polish Air Force General Dynamics F-16C Block 52+ Falcon (Picture courtesy Saichol Krai-amat)

Royal Jordanian Falcons Extra 330LX (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Red Bull North American B-25J Mitchell (Picture courtesy Saichol Krai-amat)

 

Red Bull North American B-25J Mitchell and Vought F4U-4 Corsair (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Red Bullís Bo 105 piloted by Rainer Wilke  (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Swedish Air Force Saab SK 60 (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Swedish Air Force Saab SK 60 (Picture courtesy Saichol Krai-amat)

  Swedish Air Force Saab SK 60 (Picture courtesy Saichol Krai-amat) Zoltan Veres from Hungary (Picture courtesy Saichol Krai-amat) Belgian Air Component Augusta A-109BA (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan) Belgian Air Component Augusta A-109BA (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

From a spectators point of view, the clear highlights were the two MIG-29 executing a show in tandem formation, the Spanish EF-18A Hornet whose demo pilot, Major Pablo Carretero, put on a sensational display whereby he was pushing the flight envelope to the extreme and the Patrouille de France on Saturday who, while still present on Sunday morning, failed to do a display and took off for another air show in Cambrai, France before noon. The surprise appearance of the German Tornado in the flying display raised many eyebrows, particularly in Germany, where they have not seen a Tornado display for a long time. Finally, not to forget was the always spectacular display by Red Bullís Bo 105 skillfully piloted by Rainer Wilke.

 

Slovak AIr Force MIG-29 (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Slovak AIr Force MIG-29 (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Slovak AIr Force MIG-29 (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Slovak AIr Force MIG-29 (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

 

Slovak AIr Force MIG-29 (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Slovak AIr Force MIG-29 (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Slovak AIr Force MIG-29 (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Slovak AIr Force MIG-29 (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

 

Spanish Air Force Mc Donnell Douglas EF-18A Hornet (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Spanish Air Force Mc Donnell Douglas EF-18A Hornet (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Spanish Air Force Mc Donnell Douglas EF-18A Hornet (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Spanish Air Force Mc Donnell Douglas EF-18A Hornet (Picture courtesy Saichol Krai-amat)

 

Spanish Air Force Mc Donnell Douglas EF-18A Hornet (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Spanish EF-18A Hornet Display Team, Major Pablo Carretero on the left.

Patrouille de France (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Patrouille de France (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

   
 

German Air Force Panavia Tornado IDS  (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

German Air Force Panavia Tornado IDS  (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

 

Rounding out the air fest were the aircrafts in the static park, among them two Typhoon FGR3 from the Royal Air Force, an Eurofighter Typhoon S of the Austrian Air Force, two attractively painted Phantoms from the Turkish Air Force, an additional EF-18 Hornet from Spain as well as a Leonardo M-346 and an Alenia C-27J Spartan from the Italian Air Force. 

 

Royal Air Force BAe Typhoon FGR.3 (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Austrian Air Force BAe Typhoon S (Picture courtesy)Chakrit Samithinan)

Turkish Air Force Mc Donnell Douglas F-4E Phantom "Terminator" (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Turkish Air Force Mc Donnell Douglas F-4E Phantom "Terminator" (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

 

Turkish Air Force Mc Donnell Douglas F-4E Phantom "Terminator" (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Spanish Air Force Mc Donnell Douglas EF-18A Hornet (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Italian Air Force Leonardo M-346 (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

Slovak Air Force Alenia C-27J Spartan (Picture courtesy Chakrit Samithinan)

On a final note, the Slovak Air Force has just recently agreed to purchase 14 units of F-16 Block 70 aircrafts directly from the USA in replacement of their fleet of MIG-29. The JAS-39 Gripen, which was also being considered, was rejected due to a higher price and a longer delivery time. Initial training of Slovak pilots will be in the USA and the delivery of the first four aircrafts to Slovakia is expected in 2023. The F-16s will be stationed in Sliac, the only fighter base in Slovakia.

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last update 1. October 2018

Written 29. September 2018

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