The Czech Republic is known for its beer and beautiful tourist attractions, but it is also a great center of aeronautical culture, as confirmed by the great number of flight schools throughout the country and numerous airshows organized annually. Aviaticka Pout’, held in the town of Pardubice, is one of the biggest air shows in the country, organized yearly between the end of May and the first days of June. 2022 marked the 30th edition of the show, the third followed by From The Skies.
For exquisite logistic problems, we could attend the show just on Friday and Saturday. We arrived there on Friday full of expectations, but unlike the previous editions (Pardubice 2016 and Pardubice 2017) due to prohibitive weather conditions, the flight activities were postponed,and even the press accreditation process was affected negatively by a 2-hour delay.
Saturday was better, but just a little bit! Strong wind gusts grounded the Flying replicas of JanKaspar’s Bleriot XI, as well as the World War One aircraft. The leitmotif of the show consisted mainly of Trainers and Rotary wing.
The show started with the flying display of a Mil Mi-2 chopper, we managed to enjoy its performance while we were trying to take pictures of static display aircraft. The gem of the collection was the Hawker Sea Fury of Stefano Landi. This airplane looked magnificent even with the wings folded. Having seen the legendary test pilot Dan Griffith getting inside the plane, we rushed towards the spotters area just not to miss the take-off of the big fighter.
When the aircraft was ready for takeoff, the pilot released the brakes and moved the throttle to maximum, and as soon as the aircraft gained speed…. It lost some sort of panel which detached from the wing! The aircraft continued its takeoff normally but it had to make a circle and land almost immediately. During the taxiing wecould observe a huge square hole in the middle of the right-wing; it was the cover panel of the Hispano V wing guns that wasn’t probably fixed well. Luckily it wasn’t a serious problem, and later that day the Sea Fury could come back to the skies and accomplish the whole flight program, with its pleasantly deafening 2480 HP 18-cylinder Bristol Centaurus engine, one of the most powerful aircraft piston engines ever built!
For the first time we could also see a glimpse of the sun and a takeoff of the colorful Zlin Z-142 of the CLV Pardubice: unlike the previous shows, this time the aircraft was not limited only to a fly-by but it performed some breathtaking acrobatic maneuvers including screws, loops and other unusual stunts: the obvious reason of this stunning performance is behind the controls – the amazing Martin Šonka himself!
After the exhibition of the award-winning champion, it was the turn of a historic jet, the MiG-15UTI (the two-seater training version), built in Czechoslovakia under license with the name Aero CS-102: the aircraft is equipped with a VK-1 centrifugal flow turbojet, and on the left side of the nose we can see the coat of arms of the city of Ostrava.
As the ColdWar trainer headed towards the parking lot, a new aerobatic display began with the take-off of two Flying Bulls XA-42s, piloted by Stanislav Čejka and Jan Rudzinskiy. Our most loyal readers remember that the group consists of four aircraft, but it must be said that the half of the original group did not in the least affect the spectacularity of the acrobati program, with the planes that from the ground appear fused together by the wingtips, performing mirrorpassages with perfect synchronism.
Another premiere of the show, besides the Sea Fury, was the Miles Magister piloted by Richard Santus, who performed graceful passages over the runway: the British trainer might seem out of place in the Czech Republic, but it actually had a crucial role in the training of the Czechoslovakian pilots who fought in the RAF during the WWII. As a logical historical continuation, two trainers which followed one another in service tookoff, the Let C-11, or a Yakovlev Yak-11 built under license, and a CLV Aero L-39 Albatross.
Then the show came back to the helicopter part: a Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 of The Flying Bulls, a helicopter with extraordinary acrobatic abilities, took off. There was an exceptional pilot in the cockpit, the record holder Felix Baumgartner, who on 9 October 2012 jumped out from an altitude of almost 39 km, broke the speed of sound and reached the top speed of Mach 1.24 !!! The rigid head rotor of the Bo 105 allowed the helicopter to flyupside down, and the smoke bombs added some special wow-effect to its maneuvers.
The Flying Bulls’ AH-1T Cobra, piloted by Siegfried Schwarz, followed by the Bell 47 belonging to the samecollection, with Christian Svoboda in the “Fish Bowl, also performed in an eye-catching black livery with the red bull that stands out on the very thin fuselage of the helicopter.
A glance towards the flight line made us understand that the best was still to come: after the helicopters of The Flying Bulls it was the turn of fixed-wingaircraft! The B-25 Mitchell and the P-38 Lightning with their magnificent mirror livery taxied to the runway, together with one of the Alpha Jets from the collection. The planes first performed in formation passages, then the Alpha Jet split off vertically, and an aerobatic display began, enhanced by particularly dense smoke bombs. The Mitchell delighted us with various passages, while the Lightning demonstrated a flight program characterized by various vertical maneuvers.
Another flying gem was DietmarGrosz’s Ryan PT-22, seeing it just a few meters away created truly an atmosphere of another Epoque, also thanks to a very yellow PT-17 Stearman and a pair of Dh-82 Tiger Moths!
Summing up, it was a pity that the arrivals had been so staggered compared to previous editions, as per tradition the weather was very variable, and the show took place largely against the sun! Despite all this, it was a great event that did not disappoint us, we hope that the next one will be even better!
Text and pictures by Antonio Di Trapani and Victoria Agronsky