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2011 Air Shows
AIRPOWER11 – ZELTWEG, AUSTRIA
Location: Zeltweg AFB, Styria, Austria
Admission: See report
Parking: See report
Value: Excellent
Airpower11 Map of airfield
The biannual Austrian air show was held in Zeltweg, in the beautiful province of Styria, the green heart of Austria, on July 1 and 2. The Friday and Saturday air show draws large crowds every 2 years, but this year a record 290,000 visitors were in attendance. For hardcore enthusiasts the show really starts a few days earlier. One could get a five-day package for 180 Euros and be at the airbase from the arrivals day on Wednesday through Sunday, departure day. There were also other spotter packages: Friday and Saturday for 90 Euros or 1-day package for either airshow day for 60 Euros. For enthusiasts, it is strongly recommended getting one of the spotter packages since it has many benefits that only this air show provides. It has no less than 13 spotter zones throughout the air show grounds, affording excellent opportunities to view and photograph the aircraft in action. Transportation to these zones are provided from the Spotter/Media Center, since some of them are not very close to the Spotter center, and at least one is not reachable by foot because it is located on the other side of the runway. There is also excellent food and beverages being served all day at the Spotter’s center, the only problem was that it was very difficult to leave the spotter’s zone to go eat since no one wants to miss any of the flying action.
By the time Austria declared neutrality in 1955, it had just formed an air arm to defend its airspace. One of the tasks of the Luftstreikraeft today is air sovereignty of the country which is the responsibility of the Ueberwachungsgeschwader (surveillance wing) with bases in Zeltweg, operating the Eurofighter Typhoons and in Hoersching, flying Saab 105s. The Hinterstoisser Airbase in Zeltweg was completely renovated with a new control tower, hangars and facilities to receive its complement of 16 Eurofighter Typhoons which replaced the venerable Saab J35OE Drakens for the defense role in 2007. The airbase became a sanctuary for 17 storks, which had nested at the base and would not leave the area for the air show. Some animal activists had protested against having the air show in Zeltweg because of these storks!
The weather forecast called for possible rain on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, leaving Wednesday the best day to see and photograph aircraft that were arriving and rehearsing for the show without having to worry about inclement weather. Fortunately the threat of rain never fully materialized, but at times there were high winds.
Being in or around an airbase before an airshow, gives the opportunity to see many aircraft in the air that will not be flying at the airshow. On Wednesday two Saudi Arabian Typhoons came in, still with their British numbers on the fuselage since they were on their way to be delivered to Saudi Arabia and were being piloted by British pilots. The Saudi Hawks had arrived before Wednesday, but unfortunately the 2 supporting Saudi C-130s did not come to Zeltweg until Sunday. They stayed at the base in Hoersching. Other aircraft that arrived on Wednesday and Thursday, but did not fly at the show were: Dornier Do 27, Red Bull Cessna CE 208 Amphibian Caravan, Swiss Air Force Beechcraft 1900, Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) DC-2, Croatian Mil MI-117 , Turkish Air Force Transall C-160 in support of the Turkish Stars Demonstration Team, two Casa C-295M, one from the Polish Air Force and the other from the Czech Republic, Serbian Soko G2 Galeb owned by the Serbian Galeb Flying Club, Belgian SF 260D, French Air Force Mirage 2000, Irish Air Force Pilatus PC-9M, German Air Force 2-seat Eurofighter, USAF C-21 Learjet, USAF C-130, Embraer ERJ-145 from the Belgian Air Force, Antonov An-2, Hungarian Air force 2-seat Saab JAS 39 Gripen fully loaded with Sidewinder and Maverick missiles and LANTIRN pod, Soko G4 Super Galeb from Serbia, German Air Force F-4F Phantom II, Serbian Air Force Antonov An-26, German Luftwaffe Tornado ECR, 2 Royal Air Force Tornado GR.4.
Friday and Saturday flying displays started at 9 AM with flybys from an Austrian Air Force Typhoon, 3 Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porters and a parachute flag jump. The Flying Bulls Douglas DC-6B also did a solo display. It once belonged to President Tito from the former Yugoslavia. There was a formation of 4 aircraft representing the history of military aviation which included 2 Piper PA 18 Super Cubs, a Saab 91D Safir and a Cessna L-19 Bird Dog, they were followed by a T-6 Texan and a Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer. A rare Bede BD-5J Microjet from the Flying Bulls also flew (seen in the James Bond movie: Octopussy). It is one of only three airworthy examples in the world. It was followed by a solo display of a Slovenian Air Force PC-9M.
At 10 AM there was a training demonstration from the Austrian Aviation and Air Defense School with a formation of 5 Alouette III helicopters. The Agusta A109 and F-16 from Belgium flew next. The Breitling Jet Team from France flew their L 39 Albatross on Saturday only and the Flying Bulls Aerobatic team from the Czech Republic flew their four Zlin-50 LX aircraft on both days.
At 11 AM there were solo displays from the Flying Bulls BO-105 helicopter and Boeing PT-17. Two Messerschmitt aircraft flew both days. A Bf-109 G-4 “Rote Sieben” did a nice display. It belongs to aerospace giant EADS. It is a former Spanish HA-1112M built in 1956. Then the Me-262B-A1 took to the skies over Zeltweg. It is a replica built in Texas and it belongs to the German Messerschmitt Foundation. It was a rare sight. The Hawker Hunter T.MK. 68 from the Fliegermuseum Altenrhein, Switzerland flew with its magnificent tiger scheme. The Czech Air Force flew its Mil Mi-24 Hind and its Aero L-159 Alca. On Friday there was the arrival of the Nord Noratlas 2501, a rare bird, making a rare appearance. As soon as it landed it taxied to the static display area. Four Austrian Air Force Saab 105OEs flew a formation display followed by the Turkish Stars team flying nine NF-5As and one NF-5B giving their always impressive demonstration.
At 12:30 the Red Bull Skydive team did their demonstration and Hannes Arch did aerobatic performance flying his Edge 540 followed by an elegant flying performance of the Blanix team flying 2 LET L13 Blanik gliders.
Starting at 1PM there were solo displays by an Austrian Saab 105OE in a smart tiger scheme and by an Austrian Eurofighter Typhoon. The next demonstration team to take to the air was the Royal Saudi Hawks flying their green and white BAE Hawks MK 65 and MK 65As for the first time in European skies. On Friday their program was cut short due to a bird strike, but on Saturday they were able to do their entire display program without a hitch.
Around 2PM a Fokker Dr.1 replica was flown by Mikael Carlson from Sweden showing how maneuverable this aircraft was in the First World War. Then there was a unique flying formation by the Flying Bulls: DC-6B, F-4U-4 Corsair, B-25J Mitchell, P-38L Lightning, two Alpha Jets, Pilatus PC-6, PT-17, Stearman, Bell TAH- 1F Cobra, two BO 105s and an Extra 300. A Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16AM flew next, followed by the Croatian demonstration team, Wings of Storm, flying their 6 Pilatus PC-9s.
Around 3:15 PM the Austrian Armed Forces had a combat demonstration by the air support brigade which included ground troops, Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawks along with Bell OH-58 Kiowas and August/Bell 212s and pyrotechnics on the ground. There was also an air interception demonstration by 2 Austrian Typhoons forcing down an Austrian C-130. The Alenia C27J Spartan from the Italian Air Force flew an incredible display for an airplane of its size. That was followed by a solo display from an F/A-18C from the Swiss Air Force. A French Alpha Jet with special scheme also flew before the Patrouille Suisse performed their very precise routine which on Saturday had a short gap on their performance due to one of the base storks was in the flying area.
Just before 5PM there were displays by the Bell TAH-1F Cobra from the Flying Bulls and Pilatus PC-21 demonstrator from the Swiss manufacturer. There was a good flying performance from a Polish Mig-15 UTI owned by the Polish Eagles Foundation. It is actually a 1956 Polish licensed built SB Lim-2. The final solo display of the day was a great one by a MIG-29A from the Slovak Air Force. The final demonstration team act of the day was the Frecce Tricolori from Italy with a superb routine.
In total there were 222 aircraft representing 22 nations at the show and 8 flying display teams. The organizers did a terrific job in keeping the action moving in the air and on the ground there plenty of aircraft to see. Food vendors were distributed around the grounds and there were plenty of bathroom facilities.
The base is also home of the Fliegermuseum, which is located in Hangar 8, housing two specially marked Drakens, a Saab Tunnan and a Shorts Skyvan among other historically important Austrian aircraft.
The event cost about 3 million Euros and it was sponsored by the energy drink producer Red Bull. This has been one of the best airshows seen by the AirshowsReview staff that was present in Zeltweg. It truly deserves a 10/10 rating.
I would like to thank Vzlt. Gross in getting the spotters and media accreditation for the AirshowsReview staff members that were able to attend the airshow. Also a special thank you for the organizers who put together this memorable air show.
Austrian Flag
222 Aircraft/Performers Presented:
  • Breitling Jet Team
  • Turkish Stars
  • Krila Oluje (Wings of Storm) from Croatia
  • Patrouille Suisse
  • Italian Frecce Tricolori
  • Saudi Hawks
  • Royal Saudi Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons
  • Red Bull's: Douglas DC-6B, Chance Vought F4-4U Corsair, North American B-25J Mitchell, Lockheed P-38L Lightning, two Alpha Jets, Pilatus Porter PC-6, Boeing PT-17 Stearman, Bell Cobra TAH-1F, two BO-105 and an Extra 300
  • Fokker Dr. 1 triplane (replica)
  • Bf109G
  • Me 262
  • and many others.
Rating: 10 out of 10
Red Bull's: Douglas DC-6B, Chance Vought F4-4U Corsair, North American B-25J Mitchell, Lockheed P-38L Lightning, two Alpha Jets,
Saudi Hawks Team first time in Europe
Me-262
Bf-109G
Report & photgraphy by Ricardo von Puttkammer for AIRSHOWSREVIEW LLC
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