2017 Event Review

The Austrian Air Force celebrating 80 years of Air Base Aigen im Ennstal and 50 years' service of the Alouette III, September 22, 2017
Location: Aigen im Ennstal, Styria, Austria
Admission: :Free
Parking: Free
Value: Excellent
Rating out of 10: Not an air show
 
Visitors to the RNZAF Air Tattoo

SA316B Alouette III 50th anniversary patch

The Fliegerhorst "Fiala Fernbrugg" (Air Base named after the famous Austro-Hungarian fighter pilot Benno Fiala Ritter von Fernbrugg - *1890 ; †1964) in Aigen im Ennstal was established 80 years ago. The SA 316B Alouette III has been successfully in service for half a century. This multi role workhorse is clear for all kinds of mission twenty-four-seven.

The first four of a total of 29 Alouette's joined the Austrian Air Force on January 27nd 1967. Currently, 22 of them are still in service. By September 2017, a total of 181 860 flight hours were flown with this type in the Austrian Air Force. Due to the cost-intensive spare parts, the type will be decommissioned in 2020.

The official ceremony was opened by officials from politics and military at one of the ramps at the air base. At the center of the ramp was the specially painted Alouette III. The paint scheme on the helicopter shows the Grimming, the 2351m high mountain in front of the Air Base and a big 50 in white and green, for fifty years in service. The white and green color represent the colors in the Styrian flag. A big red-white-red ribbon, symbolizing Austria, runs from the rear to the front of the helicopter and ends in an eagle's head. The festival was musically accompanied by the Upper Austrian military brass band.

 

>
The Belgian Navy brought one of their four Allouettes to the event, which took part in the static and in the one hour flying display. Portugal, also an Alouette user, was represented by a military delegation, unfortunately without an Alouette

After the official ceremony and a short break for lunch, the one hour flying display started. It was opened with a three ship Alouette III formation. The lead helicopter with the flag of the European Union was followed by the second helicopter with the Austrian Flag and the third helicopter with the Styrian flag. The flying displays with the Alouettes also included SAR-Missions as well as flights for disaster relief, like firefighting etc. The old workhorse also shows its capabilities at the frontline. Two Alouettes brought special ops to the battlefield, while a PC-7 was giving close air support.

In between the Alouette displays spectators saw several flight demonstrations from the Austrian Air Force and the Flying Bulls, like the Blanix Team or Sigi Schwarz with his Bo-105, only to name a few.

The show ended with a massive start of 14 Alouettes, which performed two flypasts, lead by the specially painted Austrian Air Force Alouette. Back marker was the Alouette from the Belgian Navy. The final flypast ended when all 14 helicopters built one row in front of the crowd. As the last helicopter landed, the first one took off and bowed in front of the crowd, before he flew back to the parking position. What an impressive sight! It was an extraordinary day out with free food and drinks. The Aviation Magazine would like to express their thanks to the Austrian Air Force and the local organizers from the Air Force Base at "Aigen im Ennstal".

 

Air Base named after the famous Austro-Hungarian fighter pilot Benno Fiala Ritter von Fernbrugg, above and his aircraft below
Report and photography by Wolfgang Jarisch for The Aviation Magazine

Click on image to start a slide show

Rafale Solo
 
Copyright ©2017 TheAviationMagazine.com All trade names, trademarks and manufacturer names are the property of their respective owners.