|In 2018, Romania celebrated its 100th anniversary in its modern form. One of the celebrations was the 10th edition of the Bucharest International Air Show, held at Bucharest Baneasa airport, a high-profile international event with a strong Romanian touch.
The show is held at Bucharest Baneasa, which is located just outside the center of the Romanian capital. This means that the preferred method of travelling to the show is by public transport, also because the show does not have dedicated visitor parking facilities. This may seem odd to foreign visitors but it works surprisingly well.
Entry to the show is free of charge. The flying display runs uninterrupted from 9AM until 21:30, when darkness has set in and thus ending with pyrotechnic acts using flares and fireworks. All of the acts performing twice during the day, including the international performers.
The Romanian air force takes center stage both on the ground and in the air, in the latter case not only with dedicated displays but also with dynamic tactical setpieces and flypasts involving impressive numbers of aircraft and helicopters, even with its IAR-99 and Mig-21 fleet grounded due to accidents in the weeks leading up to the show. It was still a great opportunity to watch this air force in action.
There were also several international star performers, including two renowned display teams: the White-Red Sparks from Poland and the Turkish Stars.
The static display was also well worth a visit with several airforces joining in, including two state-side based USAF F-15Cs which were deployed to Romania at the time, all centered around a NATO E-3 Sentry.
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The show ground offered ample space and had reasonably priced catering facilities, adjacent to large tents offering shelter from the weather. The show got lucky in 2018 with a dry showday, with the day before and after seeing torrential rain showers hit the city.
With a heavily populated catchment area such as Bucharest and the free entry, it is no surprise the audience turns up in great numbers, though many of them only come to watch part of the show. Later in the day, the music volume gets turned up and the airshow becomes a party both in the air and on the ground, with a strange festival ambiance setting in with the audience, something that carries on after the air display with a concert and party on the airfield to stagger the exit.
|Report by Chris Janssens
Lay-out and content by Chris Janssens, 2005 - present