First look at the 2020 airshow season.

The first days of new year 2020 are already here, meaning the best time to start thinking about the forthcoming air show season. As some of the organizers already released a few initial information and the dates were set, we can do a brief summary of the aviation events in Central Europe.

Aviation Fair was among the early birds, with some information about the 30th anniversary edition of the show released as early as November 2019 – informing us about the creation of the Aviation Fair Squadron and its first aeroplane, the replica of Nieuport 11. Ticket sales also started in November, and the novelty of the 2020 edition is the price of the tickets depends on the date of purchase, and the online prices are significantly lower than at the gates during the air show.

The organizers are promising an interesting, anniversary programme, and until today it was announced that both Czech aerobatic masters and former Red Bull Air Race pilots, Martin Šonka and Petr Kopfstein, would participate in 30th Aviation Fair. Additionally, Petr Kopfstein is going to fly his Edge 530 V3 aerobatic special, he used to fly in RBAR championships. The Flying Bulls Aerobatic Team and other Red Bull aircraft from Hangar 7 in Salzburg are another certainty of 30th edition.

Petr Kopfstein aerobatic display, Helicopter Show 2018

In addition, the Aviation Fair team promised several changes and improvements, including two ticketed VIP zones and enhanced catering area in Air Food festival style. The 2020 edition of the Aviation Fair will be held on 30th and 31st May, at Pardubice airfield, Czech Republic.

Good news came from Croatia, where the first edition of Croatian International Military Air Show is planned to be held this year. Croatia already had one widely known air show, CIAV, organized by Varaždin Airclub over the last few years, with the latest edition in 2018. This time it looks that the Croatian Air Force decided to join the air show club with its own aviation event (it should be mentioned here that the Ministry of Defence and the Croatian Armed Forces were the co-organizers of CIAV 2018).

The Croatian Minister of Defence Damir Krstičević confirmed the air show enjoyed full support from the Croatian Government. The first edition of CROIMAS will be held in Zadar, with the flying displays organized over the Zadar Canal and 93rd Air Base in Zadar supporting the logistics of the show. It is estimated that the air base capacity, related to the air show purposes, is 100 aircraft and approximately 450 participants. According to 93rd base commander, Lieutenant Colonel Damir Barišić, the invitations were already sent and the first CROIMAS would be a great show. This new aviation event will be organized on 30th May 2020, which is Croatia Statehood Day, and more than 100,000 visitors are expected.

June means already three confirmed aviation events, the only pity is that all of them are organized on the same day, the 13th of June, therefore forcing the aviation enthusiasts to do the tough choice.

First of all, the annual Tag der Bundeswehr, open-doors event organized by the German Armed Forces, must be mentioned here. This event is organized at several military locations throughout Germany and usually there are air bases among them, offering an interesting aviation programme on the ground and in the air.

Panavia Tornado IDS, Tag der Bundeswehr 2018 at Fliegerhorst Jagel

This year´s edition of Tag der Bundeswehr is no exception, and there are two aviation-related locations already confirmed: Fliegerhorst Laage in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the home of Taktische Luftwaffengeschwader 73 ´Steinhoff´, operating EF 2000 fighter jets and Flugplatz Husum-Schwesing in Schleswig-Holstein (the former Fliegerhorst Husum), used by FlugabwehrRaketenGruppe 26.

Another open-doors event is planned to be organized on the same day at 22nd Helicopter Air Base in Náměšť nad Oslavou, Czech Republic, the home of 211th Helicopter Squadron of Czech Air Force. The air base, located between Brno and Třebíč, is widely known for organizing the annual international JTAC exercise Ample Strike.

And the third aviation event, also to be held on 13th June, and also in Czech Republic, is the bi-annual Historical Air Show (Dobový letecký den) organized at Mladá Boleslav airfield, located approximately 50km north of Prague. At this airfield, the Metoděj Vlach Aviation Museum (Letecké muzeum Metoděje Vlacha) is also located, operating several interesting airworthy replicas from the pioneer era of aviation.

Unfortunately, it seems that June 2020, with three interesting aviation events organized on the same day at different locations, wouldn´t be an exception of this year´s air show season. Also in September – looking also beyond Central Europe – another three significant events are organized at the exact same time. NATO Days in Ostrava, Czech Republic; an air show celebrating the 60th anniversary of Frecce Tricolori aerobatic jet team in Rivolto air base, Italy and Athens Flying Week at Tangara air base, Greece – all those three events are organized during the weekend 19th – 20th September.

At this point, we can only hope the 2020 season to offer enough interesting aviation events that the fact some of them are held at the same date would not make a significant disadvantage for air show enthusiasts.

Caudron G. 3 (replica), Letecké muzeum Metoděje Vlacha