26th edition of Aviation Fair (Aviaticka Pout) took place at the Pardubice airfield on the last weekend of May, 28/29.05.2016.
The main theme of 2016 edition was ‘Stars in the Sky’ – and this meant the meeting of the radial engine powered airplanes. The list of participated aircrafts could please any radial engine fan: B-25J Mitchell, F4U Corsair, PBY Catalina, TBM-3 Avenger, Harvard Mk.II, Po-2, Jak-11, Lockheed Electra, Douglas DC-3, Twin Beech, Stearmans…
However, the main ‘star’ of the 2016 Aviation Fair was not the airplane with the radial engine, but the jet powered one. It was Me 262 Schwalbe from the collection operated by Messerschmitt Stiftung foundation from Manching. This flying replica of Me 262 is powered by two General Electric J85/CJ-610 jet engines and was built in 2004/2005.
Schwalbe was without any doubts the main attraction of the Aviation Fair. That legendary airplane re-visited the Czech Republic again, after the 2015 flying display at the CIAF airshow in Hradec Kralove. That display could be considered as a kind of traveling back in time, as Me 262s were used over the Czech Republic (then Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia) in 1945. After the World War II the production of this airplane in Czech Republic continued (by assembling the parts left from the World War II production) and 12 airplanes named Avia S-92 and CS-92 were made for the Czechoslovak Air Force.
Warbirds displays are usually connected with the Pardubice airshow and this year the Aviation Fair was really the biggest warbird show in this part of Europe. Apart from the already mentioned airplanes the visitors could also see P-51 Mustang, Spitfire or Jak-3. The warbird displays were supported by the ground re-enacting groups that performed the scenes from the World War II.
The idea of joined flying and ground displays became a strong point of the Aviation Fair and the spectators could enjoy some really stunning shows. Especially the air raid on the German motorized column performed by P-51 Mustang pilot, which was one of the best displays during the 2016 Aviation Fair.
Czech Air Force is one of the usual guests at the Aviation Fair and this year the visitors could see the flying displays of L-159 ALCA, JAS-39 Gripen and Mi-24/35 with the addition of Jak-42 and CLV training centre flypasts. At the static display JAS-39 Gripen with the latest Tiger Meet painting could be seen with the addition of some helicopters. Czech Army static exhibition included the anti-aircraft equipment and the heavy trucks.
The Flying Bulls are another usual guest at the Aviation Fair. This time the team from Salzburg visited Pardubice with four aircrafts – already mentioned Mitchell and Corsair were accompanied by Alpha Jet training airplane and Bo 105 helicopter. The Czech based Flying Bulls aerobatic team performed the new aerobatic display, for the first time since they changed the airplanes for XA42s it was a four aircraft display.
All those aircrafts are still not the full list of Aviation Fair 2016 participants – the spectators could also enjoy Martin Sonkas´s aerobatic display, World War I replicas and more aircrafts on the static display.
The weather is recently one of the important factors during the Aviation Fair. In 2013 the airshow was about to cancel because of the heavy showers, last year there was an extreme heat there and this year it was a storm time. The Saturday show started with the warm and humid weather and slowly as the displays continued, the dark clouds were gathering around and the storm started at the end of the programme. This, unfortunately, meant some cancellations including the two-engine airlines display (DC-3, Twin Beech, Electra), BALBO formation and the World War I replica show. The Sunday weather was a bit better, allowing to perform the displays cancelled on Saturday.
The 2016 edition of the Aviation Fair was, again, a very interesting airshow, that offered the visitors the possibility to see the aircrafts from the beginning of the aviation era (Bleriot and World War I replicas) through the 1920s/1930s and World War II to the modern military and aerobatic airplanes. The strongest point of the airshow are the warbirds that attracted most of the visitors and performed great flying displays.