After the Corona Year 2020, all aviation enthusiasts were looking forward to the first normal airshows with spectators. However, the number of participants at the 42nd Sanicole International Airshow is still limited to 7,500. In addition, proof of vaccination and or testing must be presented upon entry.
The Sunset Airshow on Friday kicked things off. Here you can see some smaller aircraft with colourful LED lights and pyrotechnic installations in the evening sky. Before it gets really dark, however, the two aerobatic teams of the Patrouille Suisse and the Red Arrows were allowed to perform their figures over the Hechtel-Eksel airfield. In addition to the Belgian Air Force’s A-109, F-16AM and A400M, the Hungarian JAS39 Gripen was also performing a solo display.
On Saturday, a Spotterday took place parallel to the Sanicole Airshow at the Kleine Brogel airbase. This is much better for photographers as all participants of the airshow are based here and take off and land from this airfield (except external participants such as the Red Arrows). A special participant for the Sanicole Airshow on Saturday was the Airbus A340 of Air Belgium. Military demonstrations included E-2C Hawkeye of the French Navy, Finnish F-18C, Greek F-16C Zeus Demo Team, Tiger Demo Team of the Polish Air Force also with F-16C as well as a larger contribution of the Czech Air Force (Mi-17, Mi-24, W-3 and JAS39C) and the Italian Air Force (T-346, F-2000 and C-27). The Dutch Air Force was also represented by its neighbours with historic B-25 and Spitfire aircraft and a single-seat Hawker Hunter.
Another reason for the numerous participation of squadrons of NATO Tigers is the largely cancelled XTM (Extra Tiger Meet) exercise at Kleine Brogel Air Base. Actually, the 60th anniversary of the NATO Tiger Association was to be celebrated extensively. Corona, however, kept the framework comparatively small. Nevertheless, there were some Tiger aircraft and crews to be seen!
A similar airshow programme was shown on Sunday. The event ended with the departure of the guest aircraft on Monday, for which there was also a spotter day. Here especially the German Eurofighter Typhoon of TaktLwG 74 of the Bavarian Tigers presented the photographers a perfect motif. In addition, some of the participating Tiger squadrons were extremely shy. Thus, the Rafale M of Flottille 11F and the Greek F-16C and D of the 335 Mira could only be seen during take-off. The Italian Air Force stayed in Belgium for the rest of the week with its Eurofighter Typhoon for an exercise. The Hungarian Gripen also took part in a joint exercise.
Air Superiority Photo thanks all the organisers for an excellent event!