A surprising combination – Martin Šonka and Blériot XI

Approximately two weeks ago we have informed about the newest addition to the Aviation Fair Squadron (Letka Aviatické pouti) aircraft fleet – a replica of the famous aeroplane from the pioneering years of aviation, Blériot IX. And now, the organizers of the Aviation Fair (Aviatická pouť) air show announced a quite unexpected but somehow inevitable intersection of that iconic aircraft and the Czech aerobatic champion, Martin Šonka.

Without any doubt, aerobatic shows are some of the most desired displays of any aviation event. No matter if being flown by teams or solo performers, they always are among the air show highlights and attract thousands of visitors to the airfield.

And it is no different in the case of the Aviation Fair, the biggest civilian air show in the Czech Republic. Every edition of that event offers its spectators an interesting set of aerobatic performances, flown by famous pilots and teams, such as Martin Šonka, Petr Kopfstein, Felix Baumgartner, Siegfried Schwarz, Jurgis Kairys, Łukasz Czepiela and the Flying Bulls Aerobatics Team.

The organization team of the Aviation Fair already assured that there would be no lack of such high emotions during the upcoming 32nd edition of the air show. One of the most popular Czech aerobatic pilots, Martin Šonka, was recently officially confirmed among participants of the Aviation Fair 2024. Moreover, he is expected to perform a very special and uncommon display.

Martin Šonka, Aviation Fair 2023

´Martin Šonka´s aerobatics always gain  favour with the public. That is confirmed not only by applause that follows his display but also by crowds of fans waiting for his autograph, both directly at the aircraft and especially at special autograph sessions organized during the air show´, says Jan Rudzinskyj from the Aviation Fair organization committee.

In fact, Šonka not only belongs to regular participants of the show but his performance is now one of constant points of every edition of the Aviation Fair. Over the past years, the Czech aerobatic champion presented in Pardubice a broad range of displays, flew with few different aircraft.

´This year, Šonka will perform with his own aerobatic special, Extra 300SR, and will again fly with Z-142C training aircraft from the Flight Training Centre in Pardubice. He is working for that company as an instructor for a number of years, training the new military pilots´, continues Rudzynskyj.

Nevertheless, the organizers are planning to attract the public with another Šonka´s display. And it is going to be a unique experience of combining the famous aerobatic champion with the aeroplane from the pioneering years of aviation.

Martin Šonka / Extra 300SR

´We want to get him into an aeroplane in which he surely never sat before – and we mean Jan Kašpar´s Blériot here. Certainly, it will not be an original aircraft, but a replica built by Václav Vondrášek ´, Rudzynskyj adds.

The aircraft was recently acquired by the Aviation Fair Squadron. However, it did not fly for approximately fifteen years, and it needs a lot of work – as well as a new engine – to bring the Blériot replica back to airworthy condition. Furthermore, its approvals and certificates must be renewed too. Therefore, it is not possible to complete the work by the upcoming edition of the Aviation Fair.

However, the organization team hopes that at least the engine issue would be solved until the air show date. Then, it will allow the Blériot to taxi in front of the Aviation Fair spectators, with Martin Šonka at its controls. We keep our fingers crossed for achieving that ambitious but interesting objective, as well as for seeing Martin Šonka in pilot´s seat of the Blériot XI.

The upcoming edition of Aviation Fair air show will take on 1st and 2nd June 2024, in Pardubice, the Czech Republic.

Martin Šonka / Zlín Z-142

Cover photo: Martin Šonka in Extra NG, Aviation Fair 2022