Posts Tagged ‘Aero L-39 Albatross’

After the vintage and World War II warbirds had a go at it, it was time for the fast-movers!

 P-51 Mustang








Murdy CAP 10 A CAP 10, a French aerobatic design, flew solo aerobatics.  Don’t let the side-by-side seating fool you – this little rocket scorches along at over 130 knots, and is stressed for +6 and –4.5 Gs. 

Most European aerobatic champions had their start in CAP 10s.




In contrast to the 180 horsepower snarl of the CAP 10’s Lycoming, the next performer was completely silent.

 ASK 21 aerobatic glider

I never saw the ASK21 aerobatic glider launch.  Suddenly it was overhead, flying a breathtaking sequence to the soaring notes of Enya.  Afterwards, the glider landed on Ginkel Heath, where its military grandparents – Wacos and Horsas carrying troops and equipment of the British 1st Airborne Division — also landed 66 years ago.


A formation of Fokker S.11s flew next – formation aerobatics, with a twist.  Literally!

Fokker S.11 barrel rolls


They flew barrel rolls and other aerobatics in sequence, and it looked like an aerobatic book diagram brought to life!

 Fokker S.11s 

A flock of Yak 52s then swept over Ginkel Heath, hefty and powerful.

Yak 52s in formation fly-bys


Then the first jet flew in.  The French Fouga Magister primary jet trainer first flew in 1952, which makes it solidly older than I am! 

Fouga Magister


It’s unique V-tail (earlier than the Bonanza V-tail or the F-18 Hornet) gives the airplane a novel look – it’s not just another jet airplane.



Then the Breitling Team arrived.

They flew seven L-39 Albatros jets.  First deployed in 1969, the Czech-made Albatros still serves in over 30 air forces worldwide and has become popular with private owners – at $200,00-300,000 for your own private jet warbird! 

L-39 Albatroses


The graceful airplane has a double-tapered wing planform – very pleasant looking.  A Soviet-made Ivchenko turbofan takes it to Mach 0.8.  It will eat +8 and –4 Gs for breakfast and laugh at you.  James Bond flew it in Tomorrow Never Dies, and it was also in Lord of War.


I’ve seen the US Air Force Thunderbirds and the US Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams.  Powerful, loud and brash.  I found the Breitling team a bit classier – the same exacting precision with more elegant use of energy.

Echelon going into a course reversal


Variable radius formation rversal


Mach 0.8 jets are as fast as they come, in air shows.  What was next, I wondered?



AH-64 Apache at the bottom of a loop


Whoa!!  An AH-64 Apache attack helicopter punctuating loops with anti-IR flare salvos was a dramatic finish to the air show.

Or so I thought.  When I left Ginkel Heath, there was an microlight paraglider circling the heath.  Such an unremarkable end, I thought.


I never saw the geese.



This last photo is from Ferry v0’s outstanding collection of dramatic photographs of the air show.  He must have been standing just a few meters from me on Ginkel Heath. 

Visit the sim-outhouse site here to see his exceptional collection!

The aviator is Christian Moullec, who devoted his life to teaching geese to migrate, using an ultralight.





All in all, this was an outstanding air show, action-packed yet smoother and more refined than other air shows I have been to.  I was at the prestigious Singapore Air Show earlier this year.  That one had a lot of defense contractors and tourists.  This one at Arnhem was full of enthusiasts..

BIG Antonov An-2 biplane 

Breitling L-39s


B-17G "Sally B", painted as the "Memphis Belle"  

Imagine my reaction if I had missed this air show and then read about it afterwards.  Instead, on the 66th anniversary week of A Bridge Too Far, I stumbled on the Market-Garden air show!



Posted from Manila, November 10, 2010










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It was the most enjoyable air show I’ve seen.  All the more because it was completely unexpected.

Do you remember the movie, A Bridge Too Far?  Dick Bogarde, James Caan, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Edward Fox, Eliot Gould, Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins, Hardy Kruger, Ryan O’Neal, Laurence Olivier, Robert Redford, Maximilian Schell, Liv Ulmann. 

Operation Market-Garden, the biggest airborne landing in history, really happened.  It happened last weekend, 66 years ago.

Remember Robert Redford rowing a canvas boat full of paratroopers across a wide river, under heavy fire?  That was in Nijmegen.  The crossing point on the Waal river is just 4,000 meters from my hotel right now.


I am in Nijmegen, in the Netherlands, for meetings.  I’d completely forgotten the date.  The internet notices about the 66th anniversary of Operation Market-Garden were very sparse.  I thought I might see a few commemorative parachute drops during the weekend.

Then, on Saturday morning, a camouflaged C-47 troop carrier with Normandy invasion stripes banked hard 200 feet above me, and I knew I was in a very historical place and time.





Then I got to the old drop zone itself, at Ginkel Heath 15 kilometers from Arnhem, and WOW!

British 'Dak' over Ginkel Heath again Green light, jump!


Soldiers in US 101st Airborne and British 1st Airborne uniforms drove jeeps flying the British 1st Airborne Pegasus flag.  Camouflaged tents sold World War II uniforms, flags, patches, books, even old World War II aircraft instruments.


Dutch paratroopers of the Luchtmobiele Brigade

Re-enactors as U.S. MPs


A low-flying procession of C-47s, C-130s and C-160 Transalls disgorged 700 paratroopers on the heath.  There were American, British, Dutch and German paratroopers and aircraft – once adversaries, they now commemorated the event together.

  C-130 Hercules and paratroopers over Ginkel Heath    









    Full stick of paratroopers out of a C-130

There were C-130s and C-160s from 3 air forces, and 700 paratroopers in 2 waves











The sky over Ginkel Heath, last weekend


Ginkel Heath is the original drop zone for the British 1st Parachute Brigade.  A 3-square kilometer sandy meadow, it is still carpeted with purple heather, virtually unchanged in 66 years.

The heather on Ginkel Heath


In A Bridge Too Far, Sean Connery as Gen. Roy Urquhart listens in consternation as a briefing officer tells him that his drop zones are so far from his objective, the bridge at Arnhem, that they are off the map!  Gene Hackman, as Gen. Sosabowski, pointedly inspects at the briefer’s uniform.  “Just making sure which side you are on.”


U.S. C-130 banks hard over the Ginkel Heath drop zone

U.S. C-130 from Ramstein AFB










The printed programme for the air show included:

Boeing Stearman CAP 10
Piper Super Cub ASK21 aerobatic glider
Saab Safir Pitts Special
Harvard Fokker S-11
Antonov 2 Yak 52 formation aerobtics
Yak 3U Fouga Magistere
P-51 Mustang Breitling Jet Team
Supermarine Spitfire Apache helicopter
B-17 Flying Fortress  


Every young boy of my era knew Spitfires, Mustangs and B-17s.  But in my 53 years, I had never seen a real Spitfire before, nor had I ever seen a B-17 in flight.

All my boyhood wishes were about to come true.



The Stearman was loud, hefty and smoky.  The Super Cub with Dutch insignia and sneaked around the trees over the show line.

Boeing Stearman over Ginkel Heath show line












The Boeing Stearman was a primary trainer in WWII









 Piper Super Cub in Dutch insignia










The Yak 3U is a Soviet fighter from World War II.  How many pilots have even seen this airplane, never mind seen it flying.

       Soviet Yak 3U , at the Market-Garden airshow over Ginkel Heath        

The other half of the Soviet pair, the Antonov 2, looks like a biplane, but a careful inspection shows a massive airframe. 

The Soviet Antonov 2 biplane was in service as late as the 1970s


The cockpit is high above ground, almost like an airliner cockpit.  Ten skydivers jumped out of that monster cabin.

Skydivers jump from an An-2 over Ginkel Heath


Then the pilots flew several chandelles right above the trees.  It was exhilarating to see a big airplane like that maneuvering up close.  

An-2 flies a low chandelle over the show line










Just above the trees!       Big aluminum biplane!












Other airplanes flew some very nice aerobatics.  I saw a Saab Safir for the first time, as well as a Falco F8 and that French aerobatic beauty, a CAP 10.

Saab Safir, great aerobatics, over Ginkel Heath










French CAP 10 flying aggressive aerobatics over Ginkel Heath  The programme billed this as a Harvard, but I'm not sure of that tail











The next items on the program were the Warbirds:  Spitfire, P-51 Mustang, B-17 Flying Fortress.  Then there would be jets.

It was about to become a truly unforgettable afternoon!



Posted from Nijmegen, September 18, 2010  

66th Anniversary, Operation Market-Garden

Next:  P-51 Mustang, Supermarine Spitfire and a B-17 Flying Fortress









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