In 2015 and 2016 Varaždin held in these two years a smaller sized international airshow, including some fast jets. In this year such event was not organised but, luckily for the local population and aviation fans, the nearby aeroklub at Čakovec put together a similar sized airshow. Aeroklub Međimurje, as the organisers pointed out after some years, arranged an airshow for celebrating the 70th anniversary of aeroclub.
The small grass field airport is located east of the city, easily excessible from the motorway, close to slovenia and Hungary as well. Hence the reason, as like Varaždin at the previous years, some of the participants arrived from both neighbouring countries, like legendary aerobatic pilots Zoltan Veres and Peter Besenyei. Both men showed their skills to the public, receiveng big applause from the crowd after their landing and even during some of their manovers, for example when Zoltan „draw” a heart on the sky with his plane’s smoke engine, you could clearly hear the people’s amazement. The Flying Bulls Cessna 337D Super Skymaster flew instead of the Cobra helicopter, which sadly got damaged and very possibly will miss this year. An AutoGyro from Hungary and several R/C aircaft models from Austria and Croatia performed. From the later the Bücker Jungmeister stood out! Builder and pilot Wolfgang Rossegger did some wonderfull flying with it, from the crowds point of view it did not seem that it was a smaller sized plane, which of course still has a span of 4 meters. The model used a smoke system as well. Other R/C models were General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, Hawk, Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, Vought F4U Corsair and the MiG-21 in the colors of „Kockica” which went ahead of the real „Kockica”. There is no airshow in Croatia without the MiG-21, the Air Force uses the old Cold War type till 2020-21 maybe, a new tender for a future jet is on going, a possible decision could be finalised this year. The MiG neved did a full afterburner fly passes but was impressive anyway, did some low lever flying as well turns higher.
The only other fast jet on the show was the Hungarian Air force’s Gripen and comparing to the MiG the Gripen did tight turns, loops and barrel rolls. The other fast jet that was in the program was the Austrian Typhoon, which sadly was removed from the list a few days before the event. Speaking of jets, the other the Serbian registerd Soko G-2 Galeb was a last minute ad to the dynamic program, also it’s Croatian (9A-YAB) „brother” was at the static. The Slovenian Armed Force PC-9M came ffrom it’s home base and perfomed a fair demo.
The Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia brought one of its Airbus H135 for a demo as well. For the author the best part of the whole program was the Croatian Air Force’s Canadair CL-415. The plane is from the 93 Zrakoplovna Baza (Zadar/Zemunik) belonging to the Protupožarna Eskadrila – Fire Fighting Squadron. And a great thinking of the organisers a fire was lighted on the ground and after one low pass from the Canadair, the crew released it’s 6 tons of water on the fire, it was very suprising how manoeuvrable the plane is.
The whole airshow was concluded by the „Krila Oluje” (Wings of Storm), the team flew from Varaždin airport – the team greeted the crowd during the day at higher altitude and landed at the nearby airport. The team performed their 20 minute program routinely.
Summarizing everything, the program was good, comparing the size of the airport, there were – guessing – 10000-15000 people all together. Food and drink kiosks were there, and a carousel and similar equipments for the kids. Parking was done very close. The only really negative thing was the static display between the runway and the crowd, making difficult to make photos of the low passes without any obstacle. Another negítve thing was the weather, it changed frequently during the afternoon from sunny to heavy clouds, humidity was high also. Alltogether it was enjoyable, hope a smiliar event will be done not just in a few years.