Over 50,000 spectators visited the 21st Tactical Air Force Base in Caslav last Saturday to see the static and flying displays of 2015 edition of the Open Day.
The airshow was the final event of the 10th Gripen fighter anniversary in the Czech Air Force, and the programme was also focused on Gripens – the spectators could watch the anniversary flypast of 10 Gripen fighters in an arrow formation, both the Czech and Swedish Gripen solo displays and intercepting the transport airplane.
The Czech Air Force was still the main actor during the airshow and its flying displays included a pair of L-159 ALCA combat aircrafts during the attack on the ground target, the combat mission of two Mi-24 helicopters, ALCA and Mi-24 solo displays, parachute jumps from Mi-171 and CASA C-295. Those displays were supported by the Belgian Air Force F-16 Solo Display and the Polish Air Force SW-4 „Puszczyk” display. Unfortunately, the F-16 performing the display wasn´t the newly painted „Blizzard“ everyone expected, but the reserve aircraft was used. This, certainly, had no influence on the quality of the display, which was one of the best during the airshow.
Apart from the currently used military aircrafts the spectators could watch the variety of other aircrafts as gliders, aerobatics aeroplanes, classic warbirds and replicas. There are just a few examples: P-51 Mustang, Spitfire LF.XVIE, Twinbeech C45H, Flying Bulls aerobatics team, Boeing A-75N1 Stearman, Aero L-29 Delfín, North American T-28 Trojan.
The main static display was surprisingly small comparing to the fact that the airshow was related to the 10th Gripen anniversary. There were all the aircrafts used by the Czech Air Force, including the Gripen with the anniversary tail painting, in the addition of Swedish JAS-39D and Polish static display (SW-4 helicopter, CASA C-295 and F-16D Block 52+). The most admired stars of the static displays were certainly Gripens and Polish F-16. There was also a Spitfire replica at static display.
Another static exhibition, including the aircrafts that were flying the dynamic displays was placed at the other end of the airfield. It wasn‘ t so good accessible for the visitors as the main one.
The worst factor during the airshow was, as it often is, the weather. The day started with the blue sky with some clouds and the sunshine, but soon it turned out into a grey almost completely clouded sky. Many displays would be even more impressive and eye-catching if they would not be performed with a background of a grey clouded sky.
This year the biennial Open Day moved again a little bit towards the classic airshow formula. It is expected the number of visitors from 2013 (50,000 as reported after the show) was easily exceeded. It is possible that the accident with Hungarian Gripen that happened just a few days before the show was the factor that attracted the additional visitors to Caslav. The information about the accident was shared by almost all Czech media, with the additional news about the Lion Effort exercise and the Open Day.