2016 Event Review

Zeltweg Airpower 2016, September 2-3
Location: Zeltweg Airbase, Austria
Admission: Free, but limited number spotter tickets available in advance for a fee
Parking: around 3 miles from the airbase, cost €10 per vehicle
Value:: Excellent
Rating out of 10: 7
 

 

Airpower at Zeltweg Airbase is wholly funded by the Austrian Armed Forces (Bundesheer) and serves as a recruitment activity for the Austrian Air Force and Land Force. The Airbase itself is geographically situated between two hill ranges, one to the North and the other to the South. Weather conditions can vary dramatically over the span of a day and what starts off as a mist cloaked valley in the early hours after dawn will easily clear up to reveal a scorching sunny day by noon with intermittent cloudy patches. Dense forests and high windswept bare hilltops provide for a dramatic background for the aviation photographer, with splendid hues provided by the contrast and depth of the natural topography of this location. The weather during our stay at Zeltweg, which was between the 31st August and the 4th September turned out to be almost perfect.

The sun shone, almost all of the planned aircraft arrived and the crowds came to enjoy what was probably one of the best air shows anywhere this year. The Friday show drew tens of thousands of visitors who arrived early, parked with ease and made their way to the airbase some three miles away on foot. I was surprised that no shuttle bus service was in place, considering the distance, but I think that the organiser may have underestimated just how popular this air show had become. Saturday's show was packed, a full house.

For the keener aircraft spotter and photographer the days leading to the show are probably as interesting as the air show itself, if not more. For us, having arrived in the area on Wednesday afternoon, we made our way to the perimeter road next to runway 26L just in time to see the practice demo of the Airbus Heritage Flight Messerschmitt Me262 which was the highlight of the whole show for me. We also spent the whole of Thursday at the same location. It should be noted that while runway 08R might also be chosen by some of the pilots, the majority use 26L because there are no immediate built up spots under the approach.
One should note that 'flying aircraft' aprons were not accessible to the public during the air show. Aerobatic teams were segregated further and allocated a separate apron on the opposite side of the runway close to the threshold of runway 26. Many of the accessible static aircraft were stood on hastily prepared areas with makeshift tape, iron barriers and/or improvised seating nearby. This prevented uncluttered photography.

Zeltweg Airbase also houses a comprehensive museum comprising of many of the Austrian Air Force's historic aircraft types used over the years.

The air show easily could have been rated 10/10 for its incredible line up of aircraft types and a non-stop nine hour flying program, but due to the 3 mile walk from the parking lot and the absence of shuttle transport between car parks and the main venueforced many to watch the show from the car park! This situation needs to be addressed and corrected for the next event!
Performers included:

BLANIX

Frecce Tricolori 

KRILA OLUJE (WINGS OF STORM)

PATROUILLE DE FRANCE

PATRULLA AGUILA 

PC-7 TEAM 

TEAM ORLIK

AERMACCHI M-346 Master

 AERO L-39 ALBATROS

 CASA C-101 AVIOJET

DASSAULT/DORNIER ALPHA JET

 DASSAULT RAFALE

 EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON 

LOCKHEED MARTIN F-16AM FIGHTING FALCON

MCDONNELL DOUGLAS F/A-18 HORNET

MiG-29

NORTHROP F-5

PANAVIA PA-200 TORNADO

SAAB 105OE

SAAB JAS 39 GRIPEN

CORVUS CA-41 RACER

CHANCE VOUGHT F4U-4 CORSAIR

 de HAVILLAND VAMPIRE

DOUGLAS DC-6B

FOUGA CM.170 MAGISTER

HAWKER HUNTER

 HAWKER HURRICANE

 HAWKER SEA FURY

 LOCKHEED P-38L "LIGHTNING"

 MESSERSCHMITT ME 262

 NORTH AMERICAN B-25J "MITCHELL"

 SAAB 29 TUNNAN 

SAAB 35 DRAKEN

SAAB 37 VIGGEN

SAAB 105 / SK 60

 and many more...

 

Report and photography by Christopher Mifsud for The Aviation Magazine

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