2017 Event Review

Slovak International Air Fest 2017, August 26-27, 2017
Location: Sliac AFB, Slovak Republic
Admission: Over 6 yr 13 Euros, under free, per person
Parking: Free on-site
Value: Excellent
Rating out of 10: 9
 
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MiG-29 of the Slovak Air Force

As of 2011 the Slovak International Air Fest has been held at the Sliac AFB., the home of Slovak Tactical Air Wing consisting of two squadrons:. The 1st squadron with MiG-29AS/UBS supersonic front-line fighter aircraft, and the 2nd squadron with L-39CM advanced trainer and light strike aircraft. The AB is located in the a valley of the senic Tatra mountain region. Sliac is about a 2 hour drive north east from the capital, Bratislava.

The showground opened at 8am with the first visitors already flocking in – however their first stop were not many aircraft in the static display, but the food stalls that already had their barbecue The static line up included: German AF: Eurofighter, Tornado and CH-53G helicopter, USAFE (510 TFS Buzzards) two F-16CM, Polish AF: F-16C, Slovak AF: L-39CM, MiG-29, L-410UVP, Mi-17 and new UH-60M Blackhawk, Hungarian AF: JAS-39D Gripen, Spanish AF: F/A-18+ and the Dutch C-130H.

After the opening ceremony the Slovak Air Force flew by with their MiG-29 and L-39s to start the display. First solo performance was  by the Austrian Air Force's  Eurofigter.

Just as at previous Slovak shows the Tu-154 used by the Government from Bratislava was next, this time being escorted by Airbus A319 and Fokker 100 passanger aifrcaft. This was the last flight of the of Tu-154, after the show it will be exhibited at the Kosice Air Museum. The Augusta A-109 helicopter of the Belgian Defense Forces flew very beautifully with a great display of flares. The Croatian AF Storm Wing PC-9M demo team was next, followed by a old timer Jak-3 in Russian WWII colours.
The first show of the afternoon program was Solo Türk F-16. The pilot Erhan Günar is a great survivor, since he was a member of a squadron that rebelled against Erdogan but did not participate in it. The squadron was disbanded after the defeat of the military coup, and many pilots and technicians were dismissed or imprisoned. Günar was moved to the 14th squadron and was not allowed to visit abroad for a year, but now he is back and performed admirably. After the "flying janissary", during the program called PTERODAKTYL FLIGHT that consisted of a mock WWI battle. The United Arab Emirates' Al Fursan demonstration team took to the air with seven MB-339NAT aircraft. Their flying reminded everyone of the Italian Frecce Tricolori demo team, because the Italians trained their flight crew. Zoltán Veres  world champion pilot from Hungary flew with a spectacular demo of MXS flying aircraft.
The US Air Force showed off their heavy bombers: the B-52H on Saturday, and on Sunday the B-1B flew over the runway twice, followed by the flight of the Slovak Air Force MIG-29AS. Late in the afternoon, the "Aliens" themed paint work of a Mi-35 helicopter from the Czech AF flew with the orange fluorescent day-glow anti-tank missile tubes.

The old timer English Supermarine Spitfire flew a few laps in the late afternoon sun. The Czech AFs followed  with the JAS-39 Gripen with an acoustic rumble. The glider team of the Očovskí Bačovian (Ocsova Shepherds) was the highlight of those who like silent flight of the  Blanik sailplanes. The show as closed by the  Spanish Air Force's F/A-18A  demonstration.

Over all the Slovak International Airfest, SIAF 2017 was a hit. Over 150,000 visitors attended on the two days. I wish to thank my many Slovak friends who helped me during the preparation of my visit to Sliac. I have had a great time there for sure!

SIAF 2017 by the numbers:

Number of participating countries: 15

Number of aircraft on land and air: 100

Number of foreign military participants: 225

Foreign civilian participants: 18

Number of domestic soldiers: 598

Domestic civilian participants: 28

Number of flight for Saturday and Sunday: 50

An account of accredited journalists: 95

 

Report and photography by István Kelecsényi for The Aviation Magazine

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