NATO Aviation Days in Ostrava and the Czech Army Air Force Day 2012
The NATO Days in Ostrava and the Czech Air Force Day, which took place again at Leoš Janáček Airport in Mošnov near Ostrava, attracted more than 200,000 people this time as well. The biggest attraction of this two-day event was the B-52H Stratofortress bombers of the US Air Force. This aircraft could be seen in Mošnov for the last two years, but this time it was also a unique dynamic demonstration, which took place in Europe after 13 years. The US Air Force therefore sent two of these aircraft to the event, one of which was available for a static demonstration and the other for the aforementioned dynamic demonstration.
A huge attraction was also the simulation of refueling Gripen in Czech colors from the tanker KC-135 of the French Air Force. We could also see in the air the breathtaking performance of the British acrobatic group Red Arrows, which we certainly don’t have to present. This performance deservedly received a huge applause from all spectators, to which the British pilots were rewarded with a few extra flights.
For the first time in its history, the French Air Force demonstrated two Mirage 2000N fighters. As far as air pairs are concerned, this year the program was the richest ever. In the air we could also see a pair of Su-22 Polish Air Force or Slovak Mig-29 AS, which performed a dogfight or other air combat. For example, the F-16 of the Turkish Soloturk team belonging to the Turkish Air Force, the Austrian and Italian Eurofighter Typhoon and many others appeared in the air. There was also no shortage of propeller machines, of which a great example of the Italian C27-J Spartan or B-25 Mitchell, which is a preserved light bomber from World War II, is worth mentioning. Of course, there were also helicopters known in our country as Black Hawk, Swiss Super Puma or Mi-24 and Mi-171, which were accompanied by ground dynamic demonstrations.
Of course, the program also took place in a country where the Czech Army, police officers and customs officers from various countries took care of the demonstrations. We could see, for example, the siege of the mechanized brigade of the Czech Army, which was very interesting for spectators, because it was attended by self-propelled howitzers, tanks, BVP, helicopters and, of course, soldiers. However, we could also see interventions in the area, such as the abduction of a prison escort, the release of hostages, a search of a bus with a positive drug finding, the apprehension of perpetrators when handing over goods or, for example, a demonstration of driving characteristics of motorway vehicles. So when someone managed to find something in the program that did not interest them and went on a tour of static demonstrations, they could see a pair of very similar aircraft E-3A and E3-D, which are radar aircraft, typical in that they carry a giant radar on their backs. Next door was the Swedish competitor S1000D Argus, which serves exactly the same purposes. The static demonstrations were about aircraft from 19 different countries. These were combat fighters, subsonic or transport machines. There were also helicopters.
On the other side of the whole area of the event we could see exhibitions of various components from mostly the Czech Republic. These were, for example, machines for the illegal production of goods confiscated by the Customs Administration, an exhibition of equipment from the Army, the Military Police, the Prison Service and others. For example, a rollover simulator is worth mentioning.
We were very surprised by the friendly behavior of the pilots, who mostly stood by their machines and answered the questions enthusiastically. Some were even willing to put children in the cockpit. The crews also sold souvenirs such as T-shirts, caps, airplane models and patches from their own Display Teams or bases. The possibility of refreshments was also taken care of very well, and even during the hundreds of thousands of visits, there was no long advice. There was also virtually no place to relax and sit down, except for literally a few benches throughout the resort. We were also personally disgusted by the pre-election speech, which canceled the end of the Red Arrows show. Many people also complained about the traffic situation around the airport, where kilometers of columns were forming. However, it should be noted that this is the second most visited two-day event in the Czech Republic, but the airport complex was not built for this purpose, as evidenced by the access roads, which are only from two sides and then merge into one narrow path. >
We got up in person at 7 o’clock in the morning and waited in the column for only about 30 minutes, which we don’t think is bad at all. NATO Days are getting better and better every year and we will not miss the next one again.