June 27-28, 2003
Every two or three years,
Zeltweg airbase hosts the Air Power event. Billed as being the biggest air show in Austria, up to 250,000 people visited the two day show.
Many of Europe's national display teams attended, such as the Red Arrows, Frecce Tricolori, Patrouille de Suisse, Patrouille de France, Patrulla Aquila and the Turkish Stars. The Swedish Air Force were prominent in the ten hour display with their JA37 Viggens and a C-130 Hercules.
|The prize for most attractive aircraft in the display must go to the J35D Draken (08) or "Ostarrichi Draken" in its special red-white-red paint scheme. It was flown solo at the end of the show by Captain Dieter Springer of the 2nd squadron of Austrian Air Force, based at nearby Graz.|
|The best solo display was by a SAAB JA37 Viggen of the Swedish Air Force (Flygfapnet F21 37411/11), complete with special markings as shown on its undersides. The Viggen with its unmistakable double delta wing, gave an impressive short take-off with afterburner and to finish an equally impressive short landing, using engine thrust reversing.|
|Left to right: A flight demonstration was conducted by the
Swiss Air Force with its transport helicopter the Aérospatiale (now Eurocopter) AS.532UL Cougar (T-339).
Maurizio Cheli, the chief test pilot of Alenia Aeronautica, the Italian manufactures of the EF-2000 Eurofighter or Typhoon, gave a brilliant display of this relatively new aircraft to the air display circuit. It was still showing it's French air show number '345', with the Italian military test serial of MMX-603 from the RSV test centre at Pratica di Mare, south of Rome.
The most unusual air force participating, for those who live in the UK, must go to one of Austria's neighbours Slovenia, who displayed their Pilatus PC-9M trainer (L9-62) of the Slovenian Air Force. A Bell 412EP was also present from the Slovenian Air Force.
|Left to right: The Swedish Air Force 'threw' one of their C-130 Hercules (TP.84 84003/843 from Flygfapnet F7) around the airfield. The crew showing that they could control the large aircraft perfectly well with just two of the four engines. The cargo doors were open for much of the display, revealing the cargo-master sitting with legs dangling!
A Turkish Star F-5 returns after its display:
The Royal Netherlands Air Force demonstrated their F-16A Fighting Falcon (J-063) with another breath taking display of solo aerobatics.
|Left to right: Whilst not to everyone's taste, that is those who prefer military aircraft, the 'Beluga' certainly made everyone stop and stare at this super transporter, and the largest aircraft in the display on Saturday only. The Airbus 300-600ST or 'Beluga' (F-GSTD) as its is affectionately known is based in Toulouse, France. It is used to transport large aircraft components, typically wing sections from their BAe wing manufacturing plant at Hawarden, Chester, UK. Its lengthy display consisted of several slow circuits of the airfield with a touch-and-go before climbing steeply away from the airfield and bound for France.
I particularly liked the ex Swedish Air Force Fi156 Fieseler Storch or 'Stork' (civil registered as OE-AKA). There were also a number of crowd pleasing 'warbirds' at the show, those flying included; a P51 Mustang, a B25 Mitchell and a F4u Corsair.
The air show whilst very crowded throughout the day making static shots almost impossible was interesting. It had a full range of Austrian Air Force machines, including the S-70 from FIRgt1/1 on show for the first time, aswell as; PC6s, PC7s, Drakens, SAAB 1050s, OH-58Bs, SAAB 91 Safir, L19E, SA.316Bs, AB.206s, an SC-7 Skyvan and AB.212s.