After a very poor day at Tiger Meet there was hope that the Poznan Air Show 2018 would in some way make up for this. The showground was situated directly opposite the main Poznan passenger terminal on the old military airfield site which unfortunately meant facing into the sun all day and with the civilian terminal as a background for any ground shots. Fortunately there is a great spot alongside the main terminal and runway which puts the sun behind you and the aircraft above. This is where most of the local and international photographers and spotter groups had set up camp and there was a relaxed friendly feel there throughout the weekend.
Saturday started with clear blue skies and the arrival of the static aircraft from Tiger Meet. Leading the first 4 ship run and break was the Polish F16. This was then followed by the Tiger special schemes from Dutch, Greek, Swiss and German squadrons with the highlight being a go around from the stunning GAF Tornado and low pass from the Polish Tiger schemes Su22 Fitter which sadly didn’t land or feature again over the weekend. It seems a lot of effort to fly the aircraft in from its base at Świdwin just for a single pass and it would have made a great addition to the static or even flying display.
I did visit the inside of the show on the Sunday taking advantage of the 8am entry for spotters to shoot the statics before the public were allowed in at 9am. This was a nice touch by the organisers although the fencing, fairground and portaloo backgrounds on most locations made getting too many decent clutter free shots difficult. I did visit the spotters platform for the first hour of the show but with the sun directly in your face and a lengthy display distance I quickly returned to the spot outside.
Poznan Air Show 2018 was devised into three blocks to allow civilian flights from Poznan airport to continue. Block one was a three hour celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Greater Poland Uprising against German rule. In 1918, after Kaiser Wilhelm’s abdication, Poles hoping for a sovereign Poland started serious preparations for an uprising which broke out on 27 December that year in Poznan. Opening with a parachute jump from the AN2 were the Sky Magic S3 WAT team complete with smoke and Polish flag. The jump was noticeably higher on the Sunday and the strong cross winds had eased.
After the jump and a display by Tercel RST, a pair of twin seat gyrocopters, the AN2 formed up for a display with 3 Aero AT3 to fly an extended display on the Saturday as the WWI aircraft of the Pterodactyl Flights were not able to get airborne due to the strong cross winds. Starting the more mainstream display acts was the Yak-3UPW who initially displayed solo before being joined by a CAC13 Boomerang. This extremely rare aircraft on the display circuit did a fairly short tail chase sequence with the Yak before landing again.
Grounded by strong cross winds on the Saturday, the Pterodactyl Flight’s collection of reproduction WWI aircraft did get to display on the Sunday over a mock WWI airfield setting just in front of the crowd line. After an extended break for the commercial flights to arrive and depart from the main terminal the second block got underway featuring displays from the aircraft attending Tiger Meet. With the majority of the special scheme airframes on static display it was down to regular jets of the participating squadrons to perform in the display. Up first was a series of long loops from the Austrian Saab 105 and a reasonable display from the Czech Gripen.
Highlight of the fixed wing Tiger Meet segment was a dynamic display from the Spanish Typhoon who even managed to squeeze out a bit of rear stabilizer vapour alongside an impressive rolling inverted dirty pass.
The highly regarded French Navy 2 ship Rafale display on the Saturday only amounted to little more than a series of paired passes with the landing gear and arrester hooks down. Completing the Tiger Meet section was the Czech air force with the Mi-24 helicopter display. As well as the amazing Alien Hind scheme which was on static the Czech Air Force had brought a Tiger schemed Hind for the display.
After the second break for civilian traffic it was the final block celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Polish Airforce. Opening the slot was Stephen Stead in the Supermarine Spitfire XVIE which had made its way from its home based at Biggin Hill for a decent performance with several topside passes and a victory roll accompanied by the sound of the Packard Merlin 266 engine.
Moving forward to the jet age with two classic eastern European cold war jets. The first was Czech Flying Legends Mig-15 UTI. Produced in 1955 in Czechoslovak by Aero Vodochody, 2514 was then exported to Poland where it served with 61 training squadron. After storage and a 20 year spell on the US airshow scene 2514 returned to the Czech republic in 2013 to join the Czech Flying Legends. Following this was PZL TS-11 Iskra a Polish jet trainer who flew a rather disappointing high display.
Finally it was onto the two headliners. Displaying both days was the Polish F16 who put in the star performance of the weekend complete with flares. The display was even more spectacular from our location with the Polish Falcon going from a slow Alpha pass into a high climb with full afterburners directly overhead with a spectacular burst of flares as he went into the climb.
Closing the show on the Sunday only was the Polish Mig29. The Fulcrum’s display with its dirty trailing smoke was equally impressive even without flares and was a fitting way to close the weekend.
Thankfully my flight, right after the show ended was delayed so I hung around to catch the static line up depart as the sun started to set at the far end of the runway. This gave us another chance to see the static aircraft as well as the Mig-29 depart although the sun was a little too far round to fully catch the departing aircraft well. Overall I had a great weekend and the show did made up for the poor experience at the start of the trip at Tiger Meet, although this was largely down to the alternative location which kept you very close to the action as well as a very informal and friendly atmosphere plus easy access to the terminal for my flight home which I made with minutes to spare.