On June 26, 2007 (Tuesday), at the 31st Air Base in Poznańskie Krzesiny, an Aviation Festival was organized, the main attraction of which was the Thunderbirds aerobatic team from the USA, belonging to the USAF and flying F-16 planes.
The initial idea of organizing the festival was based on the assumption that the newly acquired F-16 C / D block 52 + multi-role combat aircraft, which in Poland received the proper name Jastrząb, would be presented to the broadly understood society for the first time. They wanted to demonstrate them at a static exhibition and in the air. To make the event even more attractive, it was decided, and rightly so, to invite guests from abroad, including the Thunderbirds team. This summer, the group went on a show tour in Europe, performing in many countries. The Americans agreed to the show on June 26, 2007, that is, Tuesday, which limited the number of potential viewers. The Thunderbirds team had several other requirements that the Polish side met. One of the most unpleasant for fans of Polish Aviation was the total occupation of "heaven" for the performance of the American band. This translated into the fact that we did not see Polish Hawks in the air.
In terms of organization, the festival was wonderfully prepared. It was an event for 100,000 spectators. Going to Poznań, we wondered how we would get there. This, however, turned out to be the least of the problem. Public transport organized a shuttle service to the airport itself. Every few minutes another bus departed from the city center to the hangars. And it's only for 3 zlotys both ways. In turn, the Polish State Railways launched a special train from the Poznań Główny station to the railway siding to the airport itself. Even a makeshift platform made of concrete slabs was built. Moreover, the train ride was free.
The base itself made a very positive impression. Everything sparkled with freshness. You could see the enormity of the work done. As soon as the bus entered the airport area, the brand new concrete on the runway was visible. All the taxiways and stands were new. Not to mention new facilities. It is safe to say that the airport is worthy of modern technology.
As soon as I left the bus, I had the impression that I was a welcome guest here. Of course, no one fell on my neck, but all those responsible for the security of this strategic place for Poland, as well as mine, provided specific information.
I took my first steps in front of the hangar, which displayed what the Polish taxpayer has to pay for around 3.5 billion US dollars. It was something to look at, although they were actually sitting in the nest. Looking at it, you can see, on the one hand, the delicacy of the machine, emphasized by a half fork of the front leg, and on the expensive side, with great power expressed by a large air grip. This combat aircraft is of a different quality. Well, this is a different philosophy that stems from what you can't really see, but what is hidden in the word electronics. I took about 100 photos, which I still processed at home, bringing out details and details.
Then something for the body - gastronomy. Hot tea, because it was cool, and worse, it was raining. Further on as at fairs. Representative orchestra. Numerous company stands, stage and, above all, stands with aviation magazines.
The next item on the agenda is visiting the static exhibition of the remaining Polish aircraft. Among them; MiG-29 nb 4103, still considered the basic fighter, Su-22 nb 7309, which will remain in service until 2012, TS-11 Iskra, its undying glow, Orlik, a great training plane and others.
When writing about Polish airplanes, it is impossible to ignore the MiG-21 MF nb 9111 fighter in a characteristic camouflage with a raven's head, which is now an exhibit set up at the base. This plane is a delight to the eyes. By the way, it should go to one of the Polish museums to decorate it.
The report would not be complete if I had not written about the two C-17s that accompany the US team.
And finally, the main point of the program. The team's eight planes were also positioned far away from the public. A drill show. Better visible in advertising films than in reality due to the long distance. And waiting around 30 minutes for the start. I think they were waiting for better weather conditions. However, the later it got worse. The glimpses of the sun did not indicate an improvement in the weather, only a storm. A team of four machines started a shortened program consisting mainly of horizontal figures. These are the true masters of sky evolution. Their evolutions are impressive, and the adrenaline-pumping noise of jets. Unfortunately, this program also had to be interrupted and landed. To be honest, I saw more Americans in flight the day before, over Poznań, when they got acquainted with the area and performed various figures for training.
Finally, it is impossible not to thank all the organizers for organizing the event on an international level. You can be satisfied and prepare the next festival. This time with our Jastrzębiami, which, incidentally, I saw in the air only in Warsaw during the parade, and then in Radom.
General plan of the air fair.
09.00 - Start of the festival.
09.00 - 18.00 - Static exhibition of ground technology equipment.
09.00 - 18.00 - Aircraft static exhibition.
09.00 - 18.00 - Promotional exhibitions.
09.00 - 18.00 - Exhibitions of car dealers.
10.00 - Ceremonial welcome to the audience at the 31st Air Base by the Commander of the 2nd Tactical Aviation Brigade.
09.00 - 18.00 - Artistic performances.
13.30 -14.40 - USAF "Thunderbirds" aerobatic group show.
18.00 - End of the festival.
Written by Karol Placha Hetman