|The Croatian International Airshow Varazdin has been growing steadily in recent years, but in 2018, the show made a major leap forward, teaming up with the Croatian airforce to setup the biggest show in the country in recent history. Many foreign enthusiasts rushed to get to Varazdin, your scribe who was an early adopter of the show included.
Varazdin is a lovely city close to the border with Hungary and Slovenia and in many ways, it feels very Austrian. The center is full of lovely cafes and restaurants, and the fun doesnít stop when the sun goes down, with terraces sprawling the charming squares at night too.
Just outside the center lies a small airport, home to Aeroclub Varazdin and a parts manufacturing plant of Austrian aircraft company Diamond.
The public area at the show is smaller than what you see at most airshows, certainly shows with a programme to rival the Croatian International Airshow Varazdin (CIAV) in 2018. With participants from 9 countries, the show was more international than ever, also thanks to the joint organization with the Croatian air force. Slovenian and Hungarian military participants flew in from their home airfields, while the military participants from Austria, Poland and Spain aswell as some of the Croatian ones flew in from Zagreb-Pleso, about 100 kilometers away from Varazdin. The programme was very different on Saturday and Sunday, with the bulk of the military participants only displaying on Saturday.
The flying display started in the afternoon and ran to about 19:00 on Saturday. In the morning, visitors could stroll through the static park, some of which would also take to the sky in the afternoon. The public area during the flying display had been expanded to accommodate a larger crowd. The central feature of the area was still an enormous catering tent which provided shelter from sun and rain, with ample seating available both inside and outside underneath parasols. Lining the sides of the public terrain were trade stands and a recruitment stand of the Croatian air force, as is common at most airshows.
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On Saturday, the Croatian commentary was combined with English narration, in addition to a rather eclectic music selection. To the right of the crowd area were a spotters stage and tent, access to which was limited, even if policing it was left to the spotters.
The display was nicely varied, with vintage aircraft, helicopters, parachutists and aerobatics, jets and display teams. The Croatian tactical demonstrations were particularly well-received.
The organization team is to be applauded for the magnificent effort in putting this airshow together. The hospitality was remarkable, and any future show in combination with a trip to Varazdin should be on any serious aviation enthusiastís to do-list.
|Report by Chris Janssens
Thanks to the CIAV 2018 press office and the members of Krila Oluje
Lay-out and content by Chris Janssens, 2005 - present