A 12 months in the past, nobody would have thought what modifications COVID-19 would impose on us in 2020. The airshow business was hit onerous as practically all American airshows have been canceled and solely a handful have been in a position to adapt to a drive-in. type that allowed a large social distancing. And it positive will likely be attention-grabbing to see what the 2021 airshow season will likely be like. What is going to the brand new regular be like? Perhaps extra drive-in type reveals? Time will inform. However it’ll positively be some time earlier than we return to the “good previous days” of huge crowds all collectively.
Talking of airshows, since I have never been in a position to attend any airshows this 12 months, let’s check out an airshow I attended whereas on trip in Switzerland final summer time.
What precisely is the Zigermeet? It’s the identify of an air present in Switzerland. Ziger it’s a by-product of the cheese-making course of. And meet, as in meet or get collectively. The Ziger comes from the Glarus area space in Switzerland, which is positioned roughly 65 km or 40 miles southeast of Zurich. The city of Mollis has an airport and it’s there that the Zigermeet The 2019 airshow was held from August 16-17, 2019.
A few years in the past the primary Zigermeet airshow was a really small occasion, extra like a gathering or flight of aviation fanatics. However over time, the present continued to develop, and with 2019 the Zigermeet it turned the biggest air present in Switzerland. Friday was thought-about a coaching day, with round 10,000 attendees, and Saturday was the primary day of the occasion with 20,000 attendees.
I used to be on trip in Switzerland the second half of August and had reserved a day, August 17, to attend the Zigermeet 2019. There are a number of companies positioned on the airport, amongst them the Kopter Group, which was just lately acquired by Leonardo, who’s growing a brand new single-engine turbine helicopter referred to as SH09. Ambulance operator Swiss Air REGA can be primarily based at Mollis Airport and proudly displayed its new Airbus EC-145 helicopter and its new Bombardier ambulance plane, the Challenger 650.
The Swiss authorities was in the midst of the analysis course of for the acquisition of a brand new fight plane with the intention to fully retire the growing older F-5 Tiger fleet and cut back the usage of the F-18s presently operated by the Swiss Air Pressure. . Present contenders are Airbus with its Eurofighter, Dassault with the Rafale, Lockheed Martin with the F-35 Lighting II, and Boeing with the F-18 Tremendous Hornet. There had been a fifth contender, Saab with the Gripen E, however throughout the starting of the testing course of Saab was requested to withdraw as a result of the analysis committee felt that the Gripen E was not but mission prepared. Nonetheless, Saab had a robust presence within the Zigermeet with an airshow of the Gripen and the oldest Viggen, a customer’s pavilion, in addition to a VIP space for company.
Airbus, Dassault and Saab offered their respective jets and had customer pavilions and delivered a whole lot of loot to the plenty. Lockheed Martin additionally had a flag and handed out flyers. There have been F-35 pilots who spoke to air present attendees, however for some disappointing purpose, Lockheed Martin determined to show only a mock-up of an F-35 Lightning II and did not hassle to deliver an actual aircraft and make an antenna. monitor. Boeing had an enormous marquee arrange for a big catered occasion, however that was by invitation solely. The Tremendous Hornet was not current both; not even a mockup.
The flight shows all through the day have been incredible, as talked about earlier the Eurofighter, Gripen and Viggen, and the Rafale confirmed off its capabilities. However there have been additionally present groups just like the Baltic Bees with their Latvian L-39 planes and naturally the Patrouile Suisse flying the F-5. Personally, I’ve additionally at all times loved watching helicopter demonstrations, and the Swiss Air Pressure confirmed the Tremendous Puma and the Czech Air Pressure had a incredible airshow with certainly one of their Mil-Mi 24 Hinds.
After all, the Swiss Air Pressure was additionally current with the solo demonstration of the F / A 18, the Patrouille Suisse and the Tremendous Puma helicopter demonstration.
However with all of the quick jets and unimaginable aerobatic shows, the factor that stopped me in my tracks occurred throughout lunchtime, when Christian Moullec from France flew his motorized glider together with his geese over the airfield. There was one thing so serene and peaceable about seeing this man together with his machine interacting together with his birds. Easy however spectacular!
When evaluating European airshows with airshows in North America, it appears that evidently such occasions in Europe have a way more relaxed environment. I actually appreciated seeing the only boat demos from European plane producers that we do not usually see right here in North America. In case you are on trip in Europe and you’ll mix that with a go to to an air present, I extremely advocate it.
The subsequent Zigermeet is scheduled for 2022. If you wish to see extra spectacular footage from the air present, Take a look at the gallery on the official airshow website.
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