The two season openers are better than one – Plasy airshow.
The last weekend of April brought two interesting aviation events opening the flying season in Czech Republic. The aerobatic glider contest ´The Kolín Mayor´s Cup´ was the first of them (our report here ) while the second one was the regional airshow in Plasy.
´Den ve vzduchu´ (The Day in the Air), organized at the Plasy airfield become already a traditional opener of the airshow season in Czech Republic and it´s also one of the earliest airshow events in Europe.
Plasy is a small town near Plzen, western part of Bohemia, with a picturesque location in the valley of the river Strela. The airfield is located above the town, surrounded by the forests and with the scenic view of the countryside. According to the information found on the webpage of Plasy Aeroclub, the very first public aviation event in Plasy took place in 1947.
´Den ve vzduchu´ is not only an airshow, the idea behind the event is to organize a day at the airfield for the whole family. This year the programme included, beside the main airshow event, the re-enacting show ´Battle for the airfield´, rescuers´ display (fire brigade, rescue teams) and short music concert. There were also some playgrounds for children and some commercial exhibitions there.
The airshow itself included two hours of flying programme that started in the afternoon. As the very first display there was a pair of Czech Air Force JAS-39 Gripen that made several flypasts over the airfield.
The programme followed with the Praga E-114 Air Baby airplane from 1947 and its maiden public display after the reconstruction. This wasn´t, however, the oldest aircraft concept that could be seen in the air over the Plasy airfield – the spectators could also see the Hol´s der Teufel glider, which was built based on the original technical documentation from 1920s.
The flying programme was relatively short but showing many different aspects of flying: Canopy Formation parachuting, glider aerobatics (LO- 100), historical aircrafts (already mentioned Praga E-114 followed by Twin Beech C-45H, Aero 45, Olympia 2b, Šohaj VT 125) and ULL replica (Red Baron´s Fokker Dr. 1 with the elements of re-enacting show).
Karel Kuthan, aerobatic pilot and instructor and the member of the Czech National Aerobatic Team, performed the aerobatic show with his Yak-55M. The P3 Flyers Swiss Pilatus Warbird aerobatic team displayed the team aerobatic show and there was also a JAS-39 Gripen solo display.
Most of the aircrafts participating in the airshow could be also seen at the static display before the beginning of the flying displays, except the Gripens that were flying to Plasy directly from Čáslav AFB.
The airshow programme was the same both Saturday and Sunday, just with the shortened Gripen solo display on Saturday due to technical problems with the airplane. The weather was much better on Saturday – warm and with blue sky, on Sunday it was windy and the sky was covered by the clouds.
Almost 19,000 visitors came to Plasy airfield to see the show, most of them attracted just by the Gripen flypast and solo display. It was unfortunately noticed, that many people were going away from the display line after the second Gripen display, not interested in P3 Flyers show or gliders that followed. That´s a pity, as the historical airplanes and gliders were the pleasing part of the airshow and included some rarely seen ones.
´Den ve vzduchu´ was an interesting opener of the 2016 airshow season, the variety of the displayed aircrafts made this event worth visiting.