Croatian International Airshow Varazdin 2018

After one year of hiatus the Varazdin Airshwo – CIAV – returned in the year 2018, with the full support of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia, because of that, big percentage of the types in the dynamic display came from the local air force, for the great pleasure of the fans.

It was the third time that the visited the air program, with the full support from the Defence Ministry and an interesting program it was self evident to visit again, not suprising, the car park was full with foreign cars like Slovenia, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary as well. Varazdin has a good geographic position, very close to three countries, and can be easily accessible cause the nearby motorway.

The program was full of suprises as the organisers announced the types before the airshow. The spanish Hornet – which by many called the best display during the weekend – , the austrian Saab trainer, the RAF Typhoon, the croatian Kiowa and MiG-21 dynamic programs highlighted the croatian participation, the helicopter did it’s first visit at CIAV, and visitors were able to see two at the same time, with an additional Mi-8 working together, both types did a fictitious special forces program. The transport helicopter „droped” the soldiers on the ground while the utility helicopters did observation and fire support, the ex-US Kiowa’s did a few low passes as well. Locals and foreigners waited for the „big event” to see the MiG-21, this second generation fighter will be replaced in a few years, as the Government decided that it will replace with used ex-Israeli F-16’s, the first Viper will arrive around 2021, according to the plan. Visitors had the chance to see one two seater and the QRA in a different program, during the later, one PC-9 played the agressor and the Fishbeds „force landed” it at Varazdin.

As mentioned before, the spanish Hornet pilot did probably the best program of the whole event, it trully used all the advantage of the F-18, did sharp turns, high speed low passes. For the fans luck, the spanish team had a stand where souvenirs were waiting for them, as many as 20-25 different patches from the wing and the squadrons, there were even caps, t-shirts and stickers too. The austrian Saab trainer is not known about its high performance, but having the chance to still see this cold war era type in the air is a huge welcome, not to mention that here they flew with a non-special painted jet.

A big dissapointment was the RAF Typhoon, yes it was already known that not the official display team will perform, but with just one high speed fly passt, it was really a total letdown. The Orlik team and the Krila Oluje were the only demo team performing during the show, the polish team came with three planes, but only two of them flew during saturday, the croatians flew in a four ship formation, instead of the usual 6 PC-9.

The organisation was much better for this year, car parking was fluid, enough food stands, and much more souvenir stands like the previous years – personally still miss a Croatian Air Force souvenir stand! The crowd spread well at the public zone, visitors really had no sardine feeling, the narration was well organised with croatian and english speakers, altough the program announced many helicopters and airplanes on the static display none of them were „open to the public” on the first day, they were only accesible on sunday. No signs on the roads for the airsport were available, I can confirm personally that some people had trouble to find the place as a first visitor.

The Saturday program missed the Black Hawk and the Beechcraft C-45H “Expeditor”, sadly the weather and rain can be accused for that, the program had huge gaps at times, at least there was a 20 minutes of hiatus with no dynamic show. In all, some minor errors here and there, nothing serious which could ruined the whole experience, Varazdin airport is still a great choice for the CIAV, hope an airshow in 2019.