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AirPower09 : a superb airshow with 280.000 people attending. 07/02/2009



 280.000 visitors !!!

(80.000 on Friday June 26th, and 200.000 on Saturday June 27th)

AirPower 2009  , Turkish Stars  , KRILA OLUJE    , and so more to watch ...

A record number of 280.000 visitors attended AirPower09 at Zeltweg Hinterstoisser Air Force Base in Styria, Austria, on June 26th and 27th, 2009.

I have been waiting for four years for another airshow to take place again at Zeltweg , since last AirPower05 was the best organised and largest airshow in Europe during the 2005 season. Nothing better came since then in Europe to beat all records... Even if the 2008 event at Zeltweg had to compete against the airshow in Reims - France - , occuring that same last weekend of June 2008, with most of the famous european teams having already booked Reims weeks before Zeltweg show was planned..., AirPower09 would not disappoint anyone attending it.


Of course some might have meant they'd rather drink the famous Champagne in Reims than Red Bull drinks in Styria, but being a Red Bull as well as Champagne drinker myself, I knew well why I would rather choose to travel from France to Austria to be sure that I would really attend a serious airshow. Red Bull is the largest airshow sponsor in Europe, and we must thank this company for its unique contribution to an airhow. AirPower is shared between the Austrain Forces, Red Bull Company, and the government of Styria. The result is an entrance free show that allows anyone to come in what is a big fest.

First and foremost, Hinterstoisser Air Base is surrounded by finest landscape exiting anywhere in Europe for a big airshow. Styrian alpin mountains surround Zeltweg, and the inspiring Holzberg is the background for that show air display scene. More interest linked to this alpin panorama is that the echoe from jet fighter engines is a little louder than it is other shows. Moreover AirPower09 is a nine hours non stop long show producing an ' electric ' atmosphere. In 2009 - as in 2005 -, the weather was sunny and rather hot and big clouds always coming in and out to filter sunlight with different manners all day long, and this does special interest to me as a photographer. These clouds did not generate a local storm stopping the display for a few hours this year - as in 2005 - but lightnings could be seen further south sometimes, and this was intriguing.

Adding to this electric atmosphere are of course the jets afterburners, glider trails, vortices in a wet atmosphere, a RNLAF F-16 ejecting flares, the Turkish Stars scorching the sky with their F-5 Freedom Fighters, Red Bull bright aluminium warbirds blinding your eyes with sunbeam reflection, and more than 100.000 spectators a day all raising hands as commentator call for their participation. Last but not least organisation is still perfect at Zeltweg and few other events may rival on that point. Unlike most other airshows in Europe, there is no gap in the nine hours long flying display. Safety is premium in accordance to NATO Stanag 3533 Standardisation Agreement, and having photographed some airplanes outside the airfield I can testify they avoid so well houses and farms around.

As said the public is part of the show. Everyone smiles, I mean thousands of smiles up to the sky..., and though thousands and thousands of people went on the field everyone remained cool and fair. The airshow organisers are proud to report that no incident happened with any spectator and my point of view is that it is proof that aviation generate awe, inspiration, and social ' art de vivre ' . Apart from Austria, most visitors came from nearby Hungary and Slovenia, the Czech Republik, Slovakia, Italy, Germany and Switzerland. Fewer where from as far as Japan and the USA, and I would strongly recommend our readers from North America to travel to Europe and attend next AirPower scheduled in 2011.

On we focus on the AirPower09 flying military participants from Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, The Czech Republik, Slovenia, Croatia, Germany. An Air Race that saw four Red Bull aerobatics, Hannes Arch, Peter Besenyei, Alejandro Maclean and Matthias Dolderer, champions competing with speeds up to 400 km/h and sustaining 10 G. Vintage airpanes took part in an ' historic ' Air Race : a Blériot XI (1908), a Boeing PT-17 Stearman (1934), a Douglas DC-2 (1935) and a Vought F4U Corsair (1945). Always looking glamorous and smart where birds from Red Bull a Douglas DC-6B, which was once the official aircraft of Marechal Tito, a North American B-25 J and the first public display of the newly delivered (from the USA) Lockheed P-38 L Lightning.



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