Pardubice Aviation Fair, 2023

The 2023 edition of the Pardubice Aviation Fair took place on May 27 and 28. The show is a primarily civilian show with a strong focus on vintage aircraft.

This year’s show was to the usual high standard and the weather was sunny all day. Photography was a challenge due to the sun travelling parallel to the runway and being overhead all day. It caused a lot of photos to be backlit and heat distortion played havoc with distance shots on the ground.

However, I managed a good set of shots that gives a taste of the event:

Čáslav Base Open Day – 2023

On May 20 of 2023, the Czech air force base at Čáslav hosted an open day.

It was the base’s first open day in four years, and it was very much worth the wait.

The weather was fantastic for the most part and the program was pleasantly varied.

Here’s a taste of what was there:

Kunovice Air Museum Update

A general view of the Kunovice Air Museum collection during my visit in April of 2023.

Long term readers of Pickled Wings will know of my existing article about the Kunovice Air Museum in the south-east of the Czech Republic.

This museum is a special place to me as I’ve seen it change so much since my first visit there in 2008, and all the changes have been for the better. The museum business is not an easy one, but the Kunovice Air Museum is a great example of how a struggling museum can become a flourishing one when networking opportunities for partnerships with companies and other museums as well as government support at both national and local levels are made available.

I try to visit the museum at least once a year and post an update of the recent developments there. I was not able to visit during to 2022 season, but here are some notes from a recent visit I paid at the end of April, 2023:

The museum’s restored Z-37, returned to public display in 2022.

A Bumblebee Refreshed

The museum has had a Z-37 Čmelák (Bumblebee) in their collection for many years.

When I saw this aircraft on my first visit to the museum in 2008, it was in such a sad state that I didn’t even take a picture of it.

The museum took the aircraft off of public view for several years to perform an extensive restoration of it.

Beyond the tremendous talent pool among museum volunteers, the restoration was made possible by the Kunovice based Let aircraft company donating hangar space for the work to be done in as well as funding from the Czech Ministry of Culture.

The completely restored aircraft was rolled out and put back on public display in summer of 2022. The aircraft was restored precisiely to the markings it wore when it operated on the civil register of the former East Germany. This is very fitting as the aircraft spent the bulk of its flying career in that country.

The MiG-23 fighter, on loan to the museum from LOM Praha.

Meet the New MiG!

LOM Praha is a Prague base aviation services company that the museum has a partnership with.

In autumn of 2021, the company loaned a former Czech air force MiG-23 fighter to the museum wit hthe intent for the aircraft to be displayed at the museum and eventually restored.

From late 2021 to early 2022, museum staff went to Prague to disassemble the aircraft, which had been sitting for many years in front of the LOM Praha office, and transport it by road to Kunovice.

Following reassembly, the aircraft was placed on public display at the museum in summer of 2022.

The Education Interactive Zone for Children.

Something for the Kids

The loan of the MiG-23 was not the only recent museum project that involved LOM Praha. The company was one of several contributors to the creation of the Education Interactive Zone for Children that the museum introduced at the start of the 2022 season.

The area takes up a small area and has three friendly looking aircraft for kids to explore and play around on.

However, it’s not simply a playground. One of the aircraft has a functioning control stick and foot pedals, so kids can see the control surfaces on the wings and tail responding to how they move the controls.

There is also a presentation board with examples of common materials that aircraft parts are made from, so a tactile experience is available without touching the museum’s display aircraft.

There is education as well as fun in this part of the museum.

As with the Z-37 restoration, the Ministry of Culture also provided some funding for this project.

An engine pod, complete with the thrust reverser visible at the back end.

The “Nagano Express” Revisited

The centrepiece of the museum’s collection is, without a doubt, their Tupolev Tu-154 airliner, “Nagano Express”.

In the 2021-2022 time period, engines were installed in the aircraft’s two outboard engine pods. The engines were provided and installed by the Slovak Technical Museum.

These new engines may not be the most immediately visible of the new developments at the museum, but they give a lot in the way of completeness to the Tu-154 when you get up close to it.

Now, when you look towards the tail of the aircraft from the top of the airstairs, there is a real engine turbine face looking back at you.

When you walk around the back of the aircraft, you can know see the thrust reverser machanisms at the back of the engine pods. The thrust reversers were very distinctive and visible features on the functioning aircraft.

That’s Just a Taste

What I’ve written in this update touches on the most visible of new developments at the Kunovice Air Museum in the 2021-2022 timeframe.

If you want to know more about what you can expect to see at the museum, please visit my existing article about it via the link in the start of this article. You can find links to the museum website and Facebook page there for more information.

Happy Birthday, Aeronautica Militare!

In a few days, March 28 to be exact, the Italian air force will be celebrating 100 years.

The Aeronautica Militare, the modern Italian air force, was formed as the Regia Aeronautica in 1923. It was given its modern name following the Second World War.

Here’s a few photos of modern Italian air force aircraft I’ve snapped here and there:

The Golden Hour

The “golden hour” is that small window of time at sunrise or sunset, where the sun is at just the right spot to cast a warm golden hue over everything it touches. It adds an ethereal feel that is much sought after by many photographers.

Today, it was my good fortune to be taking my afternoon walk to Brno’s Medlánky airport as the “golden hour” struck while this Socata Rallye was heading out.

Have a good weekend everyone, I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking.

The MiG-15 hits 75 Years

Like its western counterpart, the F-86 Sabre, the MiG-15 needs no introduction.

December 30 of 1947 saw the maiden flight of the legendary Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 fighter.

To mark the occasion, here are some pictures of MiG-15 variants I’ve taken here and there over the years:

NATO Days, 2022

September 17 and 18 saw the 2022 edition of the annual NATO Days show in Ostrava, Czech Republic take place.

I attended on the 17th. Despite the weather being overcast most of the day and making photography of flying displays tricky, it was an enjoyable show as always.

The 2022 show marked the first appearance of Brazilian and Latvian participants at the NATO Days event. It also marked the first time a Dassault Rafale fighter was in the static park, previous editions of the show have had Rafales in the flying program, and it was quite interesting to get up close to France’s most modern fighter.

On a somewhat bittersweet note, the 2022 edition of the show was the last public airshow appearance of the Czech air force Mil Mi-35 “Hind” helicopter. An iconic aircraft from the height of the Cold War to the present, the “Hind” is scheduled to be retired from Czech air force service in late 2022 or early 2023.

At that, here’s a selection of what was on view at the show in 2022:

Medlánky Oldtimers Weekend – 2022 Edition

September 10 and 11 of 2022 saw the annual Oldtimers Weekend event take place at the Medlánky airport in the northern reaches of Brno,Czech Republic.

The event was a mix of some familiar gliders, both contemporary and vintage that belong to the Medlánky Aeroklub, and visiting aircraft. The 2022 edition of the event had a surprize in the form of a Czech air force Mil Mi-35 helicopter on September 10, this was a very unusul aircraft to have on hand as the event is typically a fully civillian affair.

The weather forecast for the weekend was not particulary good, but the event went on anyway. I took these pictures during a practice for the event on September 9 and a window of reasonably clear weather on the afternoon of September 10.

Airpower 2022 – Zeltweg, Austria

Airpower is the largest airshow in Europe and takes place on a roughly tri-annual cycle at the Austrian air force base at Zeltweg, located in the state of Styria. On September 2 of 2022, I attended the Airpower show for the first time since the 2013 edition of it.

It was a well balanced show between military and civilian aviation and a very well run show in all aspects. It’s a show I would definitely recommend attending if you have the opportunity.

As it’s a big show, I’m giving it a larger than normal gallery. Fix a beverage of your choice, take your time and enjoy: