Vasteras Flygmuseum Roll OutPhotographer: Frank Grealish
18th - 20th May 2012Location:
Vasteras (VST / ESOW), Sweden
On Sunday 20th May the Vasteras Flygmuseum hosted its annual Roll Out open day and air show. The Vasteras Flygmuseum, which is based at Hasslo airport, a former Saab J-35F Draken fighter base 100km west of Stockholm, is not a traditional aviation museum where aircraft are displayed once they have been retired, never to fly again.
While the Flygmuseum does indeed have "normal" non-flying museum exhibits such as a Saab J-37 Viggen with panels removed for closer inspection of the innards or a J-35 Draken that you can sit into, it's the airworthy exhibits that set this museum apart.
Airworthy aircraft that call the museum home vary in size and age, flyable aircraft include World War 2 vintage warbirds such as the North American P-51 Mustang and the Douglas A-26 Intruder as well as Cold War DeHavilland DH-115 Vampires, Saab Safir's and a Percival Pembroke. Civilian aircraft such as the DeHavilland DH-114 Heron, Pitts Python, Yakovlev Yak-18T and Sukhoi Su-26 are based here also.
As with most air shows there is a practise day, and at Vasteras practise displays were flown on the day before the air show. With that in mind, two Swedish friends, Bjorn Hellenius and Daniel Karlsson, made arrangements to photograph some of the air show participants air to air while they were flying for their practice sessions and they were kind enough to invite me along.
Our photo ship for the day was an Antonov An-28, usually this aircraft is used for dropping parachutists but this time nobody was jumping out, we were all securely strapped in!
Practise flying was going on all day and we ended up flying three photo missions. We had such delights as a three ship Vampire formation, a four ship Saab Safir formation, all of which was topped off with a DeHavilland Heron and Percival Pembroke in formation. Other flyers were a pair of Harvards and Daniel Ryfa in his nippy Sukhoi Su-26.
And while all of the photography was exceptional, my personal highlight, or highlights, was the sunset flying with North American P-51 Mustang "Old Crow" followed by the Scandinavian Airshow formation of a Pitts Python, Pitts S-2 Special "Wasp" and Grumman G-164 Agcat "Catwalk" complete with wingwalkers. The backdrop of forests and the islands of Lake Malaren all helped to add a little more flavour to the pictures.
Not all air to air photography was on Saturday though; on Sunday, show day, the opportunity arose to fly in the magnificent DeHavilland Heron, and not only did we get to fly in such a classic aircraft but we also were going to be flying in formation with the museum's Percival Pembroke in Swedish Air Force colours and the immaculate visiting Douglas C-47B Skytrain owned by Ake Jansson.
Now while we didn't get to fly air to air with it, and it is not based at the museum, a special mention has to be given to the Swedish Air Force Historic Flight Saab AJS-37 Viggen. This aircraft has recently been restored to flying condition and it performed its second post restoration public demonstration at the Vasteras Roll Out.
The Vasteras Flygmuseum is open every Sunday from 11am until 4pm, and as well as the static and flyable aircraft the museum also has various simulators that you can try your hand at: Saab J-35 Draken, McDonnell Douglas DC-10 & Convair 440 Metropolitan. The museum is well worth a visit any Sunday, especially during the winter when you can catch the outdoor exhibits covered in snow, but Roll Out day is the time to go as you get to see the airworthy residents spread their wings and take to the air again after the winter.
A big thank you goes to Bjorn and Daniel for organising this great opportunity to fly air to air with some rare and beautiful aircraft, an even bigger thank you goes to the Vasteras Flygmuseum and all the people who keep their aircraft there for flying so gracefully behind our photoship.