Wednesday 19 June 2019

In pictures: Aerobatics thrill thousands at Romania’s international air show

Pilots have displayed some stunning skills at the Bucharest International Air Show 2018.

NF-5 fighter jets of the Turkish Stars, Turkey’s national aerobatics team (AP)
NF-5 fighter jets of the Turkish Stars, Turkey’s national aerobatics team (AP)

By Vadim Ghirda

Thousands of Romanians have gathered at an airfield on the edge of the capital, Bucharest, for a weekend of aerobatics and air power offered by more than 200 pilots and 150 aircraft from multiple countries.

NF-5 fighter jets of the Turkish Stars, Turkey’s national aerobatics team (Vadim Ghirda/AP)

The thundering noise of jet engines was heard across most of the city as participants in the Bucharest International Air Show 2018 started their practice runs.

An F16 jet of Romania’s air force drops flares during its display (Vadim Ghirda/AP)

The star formation of the show was the Turkish Stars unit, a team of eight NF-5 supersonic fighter planes.

Gliders from Romania’s aerobatics team (Vadim Ghirda/AP)

The pilots of Turkey’s national aerobatics team entertained crowds with complex manoeuvres during which the red-and-white planes, carrying the signature of Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, on their fuselages, often flew within 3ft of each other.

A Puma helicopter of Romania’s air force drops flares (Vadim Ghirda/AP)

The Swedish-made Saab JAS-39 Gripen, flown by pilots of the Czech and Hungarian air forces, was the star of the solo demonstrations, with stunning displays of manoeuvrability both at low and high speeds. The Gripen was considered by Romania’s air force in the bid to bring its fleet to Nato standards, but the US-made F-16 was eventually chosen.

The Hawks of Romania aerobatics team fly above pyrotechnic effects to simulate a bombing raid (Vadim Ghirda/AP)

A Spanish Air Force F-18 demonstration, along with Romanian Air Force F-16 acrobatics and the Czech Flying Bulls team, were also crowd favourites.

A Swedish-made Saab JAS 39 Gripen of the Czech Republic’s air force(Vadim Ghirda/AP)

The United States offered only static displays, showcasing an AWACS early-warning flying radar aircraft and two F-15 fighter jets.

NF-5 fighter jets of the Turkish Stars have a close encounter (Vadim Ghirda/AP)

Thousands braved scorching heat to attend the show, which ended with spectacular pyrotechnic effects during a demonstration of a vintage aircraft formation dubbed The Hawks of Romania.

A B-25J “Mitchell” bomber leads the Flying Bulls Red Bull formation (Vadim Ghirda/AP)

The event is traditionally enjoyed by thousands of spectators.

Reaching for the skies – a boy plays with a toy plane during the spectacular event (Vadim Ghirda/AP)

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