August 6-7, 2005
|Kecskemét Air Base an hour south of Budapest is the home of MH 59 Regiment 'Zentgyőrgi Desző' and has two squadrons of MiG-29s and Let L-39ZO's. Both 1 'Puma' Squadron and 2 'Wa 'SP' Squadron operate the L-39ZO advanced jet trainer and the MiG-29 and two seat MiG-29UB. 3 Transport Squadron with their An-26s operate from Szolnok and were flying three aircraft from there for the show. The final squadron, 4 Training Squadron fly Yak-52s also from Szolnok, which is currently the only other operational air base in Hungary.
A full days flying at Kecskemét on both the Saturday and Sunday was enjoyed by the vast numbers which attended. Traffic control struggled with the amount of cars that were being shepherded in to off base farmer's fields. However, the brilliant weather and the prospect of some good flying and unusual aircraft kept moral high while we slowly made our way on to the air base and to our chosen position on the crowd line. The event started slowly with the flying of what was described in the program as 'old timers' from 08:30. The display proper started with the opening ceremony at 10:15 with a mass fly past of the Hungarian Air Force. The fly past consisted of waves of one's and three's of Mi-8/17s, Yak-52s, Mi-24s, L-39s, MiG-29s and An-26s.
|The 'old-timers' Polikarpov Po-2 (U-2) HA-PAO from Budadőrs and one of only two examples still flying in Europe it was flying with An-2 HA-MEC. Also OK-JZE/11 a Yak-11 (Let C-11) from Czech Republic. Arriving at this time was 'Red Bull's' latest acquisition, DC-6B (N996DM) which was resplendent in a fifties style Red Bull colour scheme. This aircraft dating back to 1958, was was once the personal luxury transport Yugoslavia's Marshal Tito.|
|Above and below: Kecskemét's based MiG-29s took to the air at every opportunity. They were involved in the fly past and conducted a three ship display with two separate solo displays during the day. The last two images above show two seat MiG-29UB (26) and single seat MiG-29 (16).|
|All the MiG-29s are inscribed 'HuAF 59 TFW' on the tail.|
|The based Let L-39ZO's departing ready for the mass fly past.|
|Part of the mass fly past, were three Yak-52s and An-26s.|
|The three An-26s returned later to dispense flares and fly some extremely tight touch and goes. Again in three's, Mil-8Ts employed as water bombers with water in the national colours.
Helicopters featured strongly throughout the show.
Mil Mi-24V Hinds (712 and 716) of the Hungarian Air Force, MH 86 2nd Helicopter Attack Battalion based at Szolnok.
|Mil Mi-8T (10440) of the Hungarian Air Force MH 86 1st Helicopter Transport Battalion based at Szolnok. PZL W3 Sokol (0619) of the Polish Air Force during a solo display.|
Left to right: Let L-39ZO (119) in the Wasp Squadron special colour scheme. Italian Air Force C-130J Hercules (MM62177 coded 46-42) with a departing fly past after it's brief visit on Saturday in support of the Frecce Tricolori who displayed on arrival and again later in the day.
Visiting air forces' of Hungary's close neighbours, played a major part in the show. The images below reflect the highlights of what was enjoyed on the day.
|Czech Republic Air Force L-159A (6050) during its solo display.|
|Above and below: The Soko J-22A Orao (25207) of the Serbia and Montenegro Air Force was for me the star performer of the show. It taxied out for a spectacular down wind take-off, staying just a few feet above the ground, as it retracted it's undercarriage. The display was equally as good as the take-off, staying as close to the crowd line as was prudent. The Orao was developed in a partnership between Yugoslavia and Romania (YUROM) in the early 1970s. It is powered by two Rolls Royce Viper engines. In Romania it is known as the IAR-93.|
|Soko J-22A Orao (25207) of the Serbia and Montenegro Air Force.|
|Serbia and Montenegro Air Force Soko G-4 (N-62) Super Galeb 'Sea Gull' (23638).|
|Serbia and Montenegro Air Force Soko G-2A (N-60) Galeb (23194 / YU-YAG) departs prior to it's solo display. Sadly the very rare Serbian MiG-21bisK (L-17K) (17126) was confined to the static display. Slovak Air Force MiG-29UB (5304) based at Sliac, is used by a member of the groundcrew to improve his view of the flying display.|
|Slovenian Air Force Pilatus PC-9M (L9-65).|
|Romanian Air Force IAR-99C Soim 'Hawk' (718) during it's solo display. It uses the same Rolls Royce engine of the IAR-93 or Orao described earlier.|
|Whilst the Belgian F-16 pair left for home midday on the Saturday the Dutch F-16AM (J-061), and for a change in standard RNAF colours, did it's usual impressive display. Hungary will be taking delivery of it's own Saab Gripens in 2006, a number of Swedish Air Force examples were on show with this one (39198) doing a display with a Formula One racing car at the end of the show!|
|Above and below: The Turkish Star's and their entertaining formation flying and solo splits.|
|Left to right: French Air Force Mirage 2000C (30 coded 5-OF), Austrian Air Force PC-6 Turbo Porter (3G-EB), Red Bull's F-4U-4 Corsair (OE-EAS) performing solo on the Saturday.|
| Photography Note: I was using a Canon 20D with a Canon 100-400mm L IS lens. I was positioned at the touch down point of the runway and adjacent to the main display aircraft ramp. For the media they had erected a small stand, which was essential as all along the crowd line there was a 2m high fence. Whilst the gaps through the fence were large enough to poke a telephoto through, panning would have been impossible. I used ISO 100 setting in the days bright sun. For jets a shutter speed of up to 1/750th was used, for props the setting was changed to no more than 1/350th, for helicopters I went down to 1/180th for greater rotor blur.
Many thanks for all involved in making my visit to Hungary in 2005 a very enjoyable one.