Every September the superb Malta International Air Show is held at Malta International Airport, and IrishAirPics paid a visit to the island to report on the 2015 edition of the show.
Fifteen different Air Arms supported the show, including the Armed Forces of Malta Air Wing / Skwadra tal-Ajru tal-Forzi Armati ta' Malta. Locally based organisations also supported the show; while bonus points have to be awarded for the opportunity to see a Lufthansa A340 that was undergoing maintenance outside at the Lufthansa Technik Malta facility, as well as catching an Atlas Air Boeing 747 freighter depart on the Sunday.
The Malta Aviation Society organises the air show, where a team of over 200 volunteers helps to make the event one of the biggest outdoor events in Malta. The Air Show organisers have an excellent package for photographers & spotters alike, with access to the show site on arrivals & departures days in addition to the show days themselves. A night photoshoot was arranged on the Saturday night, while on the arrivals day it was possible to choose between basing yourself at the display site or at the side of the runway to catch the arrivals.
Royal Navy Wildcats in action
Saturday's show had blue skies for the most part, while Sundays show had lovely big white clouds as a backdrop; both backgrounds making for some spectacular photography. It was also warm, there's nothing like a bit of warm autumn sunshine to help close out air show season!
The Belgian Air Force Solo Display F-16 from 349 Squadron provided the fast jet flying action, while Team Orlik from Poland and the PC-7 Team from Switzerland provided the formation displays, while Team Daedalus, the Hellenic Air Force Solo Display T-6 Texan completed the line-up of foreign military fixed wing displays.
As was to be expected, the Malta Air Wing provided aircraft for the flying display. An example of each type in service was flown, with the show being opened on Saturday only by an Alouette III flying the Maltese flag.
On both days an Agusta Westland AW-139 helicopter flew in formation with a Beech 200MPA, and once they broke the formation solo displays were flown by each type, while later in the display a Britten Norman BN.2 Islander dropped parachutists from the British Army Tigers Parachute Display Team.
The rest of the flying display consisted of helicopters. Two displays were provided by the Italian Air Force; one display was flown by an Italian Military Mission in Malta Agusta Bell HH-212, while the other display was by an Agusta Westland AW-149 from the RSV (Reparto Sperimentale Volo / Experimental Flight Department).
Completing the line-up of helicopter displays were the Royal Navy Wildcats Display Team flying a very dynamic display with a pair of Agusta Westland Wildcat HM.1 naval helicopters.
Armed Forces of Malta Air Wing AW-139
An eclectic mix of military aircraft were on static display; with a Hongdu K8-E Karakorum from the Egyptian Air Force which was parked beside a pair of Hellenic Air Force Dassault Mirage 20005EG's from 331MPK at Tanagra, which in turn were parked beside a pair of RAF Typhoons from 1(F) Squadron at Lossiemouth.
And if you ignored the Polish Air Force CASA C-295 that was in the line of large transports and maritime patrol aircraft, it could have been a promotional line-up for Lockheed; C-130's from Both Egypt and Belgium, a CP-140M Aurora from the Canadian Air Force and a US Navy P-3C Orion from VP-9. The VP-9 Orion is normally based at Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii but is currently on deployment closer to Malta at Sigonella in Italy.
Other static display highlights included a Romanian Air Force Alenia C-27J, a USAF Europe C-130J from Ramstein, a Boeing E-3A Sentry from the NATO Airborne Early Warning Force, a Polish Navy M-28-1TD maritime patrol aircraft, and an Italian Air Force Piaggio P-180 Avanti. The second of the two Italian Military Mission in Malta Agusta Bell HH-212 SAR helicopters was also on static display; while amongst the civilian aircraft on display was an immaculate AW-189 from Gulf Helicopters.
The British Armed Forces provided a substantial chunk of the static display, where, apart from the Typhoons mentioned earlier, and the Royal Navy Wildcats in the flying display, an RAF Beech BE200GT from 45(R) Squadron at Cranwell was on show, as were two aircraft from the Royal Navy; a Merlin HM.2 from 814 NAS and a Beech Avenger T.1 from 750 NAS.
Malta International Air Show 2015 Video Highlights
The Malta International Air Show, while small compared to some of the shows in Europe, was well worth the visit. The diverse aircraft line up, the spotter's package that allows you to be on base for arrivals, departures and the show days, combined with beautiful weather, makes it the ideal location for the last air show of the season.
The chance for warm sunshine in autumn, especially after the damp and cold summer we had in Ireland this year, made for a pleasant stay, and if time allows you should spend a few extra days in Malta as there is lots to see and do on this small island.
The 2016 edition of the Malta International Air Show is being held over the weekend of 24-25th September, and if we can we will be making a return to Malta for some more fun in the sun.
More of our pictures from the Malta Air Show 2015 can be seen on our Facebook page here.
A Big Thank You goes to: IrishAirPics wishes to thank Gordon Pace, the organisers and all the volunteers from the Malta Aviation Society for their help and assistance during our visit to the Malta International Air Show... GRAZZI!