|11 years ago, the Athens Flying Week burst onto the airshow scene. The first editions saw a pre-show held at the Faliro seaside of Athens, in addition to a weekend show at Tatoi, also the location of the Hellenic air force museum. The pre-show is now a thing of the past, and since 2016, the event outgrew Tatoi and moved to a bigger venue at Tanagra, the Hellenic air force’s Mirage 2000 base. The steady growth of the event have made it into a main feature of the European airshow calendar. This year, one of Greece’s main multimedia companies, Podimatas group along with its associated partners, wanted to celebrate the 10th edition in style.
The Athens Flying Week is of course one of the main events to watch the Greek military in action, with some of its often exotic equipment. This year though, the run-up to the show had the airshow community buzzing with a very rare bird due to attend: a solo display by a Saudi air force F-15C Eagle, which flew a short but spirited routine inspired strongly by the USAF Bitburg F-15 displays of old. Other notable displays included tactical demonstrations by helicopters of the Hellenic navy, army and air force, some fly-bys by a pair of F-4 Phantoms, the French Rafale and Swiss F-18 solo displays, the Polish Orlik team and the final display of the Royal Jordanian Falcons European tour 2022. More than enough to get the public excited. Add to that the premiere in the flying display of the new Hellenic Rafale, joining the Icarus foundation Spitfire for a special heritage flypast alongside a Aegean Airlines A321NEO and a pass by the Hellenic air force’s airborne early warning and control Embraer ERJ145 and there is plenty for a memorable show. To round off the flying programme, there were also acts by the Italian Silver Chicken and Luca Bertossio and the Hellenic Skydivers.
On the ground there was also plenty to be seen, with a large number of types in the Greek inventory parked for close inspection, the highlight there what may well have been the final appearance of the T-2 Buckeye trainer. Joining them were aircraft from the United States, Austria, Italy, Germany and Saudi Arabia.
By and large, the flying display was identical on both days, but it started later on Saturday to stretch into the evening, to allow the Red Bull Bo105 to show off its new LED-lights on the skids around 19:30. On Sunday, the display finished around 18:00.
The showground had all the usual items, ranging from display crews at their tents to aerospace companies promoting their goods, large catering tents selling affordable and delicious-smelling food and a range of different enclosures along the crowdline allowing the public to choose which option they prefer to watch the flying display. With the blistering sun, having an enclosure with a top cover and a chair to make it through the day is definitely recommended!
Watch the complete report above (61 minutes)
A range of interesting aircraft on display both in the air and on the ground and a friendly, welcoming organization definitely made the 10th edition of the Athens Flying Week a memorable one! It has certainly earned its place among the top shows in Europe. It can also easily be combined with a holiday in the neighbouring area, either along the seaside or in the historic city of Athens.
|Report by Chris Janssens
Special thanks to Panos Podimatas and the Athens Flying Week press office
Lay-out and content by Chris Janssens, 2005 - present