|Because dealing with covid19 restrictions wasn’t enough of a challenge, the organizers of the Slovak International Air Fest were faced with an additional obstacle for their 2021 edition: Moving the show to a new location.
For about 10 years, SIAF was held at the Slovak air force’s fighterbase Sliac. That base has to undergo major construction works though in anticipation of the new Slovak F-16s arriving in the country. Those works made staging an airshow at Sliac impossible. Fortunately, the Slovak air force has a large airbase not too far from Bratislava: Malacky-Kuchyna. This is the home of their transport fleet, and thanks to its location it also has a large potential visitor pool in the vicinity. It was quite pleasing to see the organizing team manged to pull the move off successfully.
Of course, there was also the small matter of covid19 restrictions for the 2021 show. The base was effectively cut in half. One half was open to people who had ben vaccinated or tested, the other half only to people who had been vaccinated. The centrally located static display at the rear of the public area was also divided and visitors from either part could only one part of the static. About halfway through the day, some fences were shuffled around so people from either part could see the other part of the static. An odd solution perhaps, but it worked.
Both halves of the showground had complete facilities to ensure a nice day out. The flying display saw terrific variety, even though the contribution of the Slovak air force itself was smaller than in previous years, owing to the transition that is currently taking place. This resulted in the strange situation where a central theme of the show, the anniversary of the former White Albatross display team took place without even a Slovak L-39 display. Somehow, only having an L-39NG and the L-29 Delfin to address the central aniversary at the show felt a little awkward. Luckily, there was plenty of star quality in the show to make up for this.
Watch the complete report above (50 minutes)
While the restrictions were cause for controversy in the runup to SIAF2021, there was nothing to be seen of this at the show itself, which managed to attract a healthy crowd. They witnessed a varied flying display and outstanding static display with some terrific gems. There were photographer facilities at the show but in all honesty, it is easy to enjoy the show from any vantage point away from the crowdline, though for some the appeal of taxy shot of the flying display aircraft may be worth finding a prime spot at the front.
SIAF was once again a highlight on the European airshow calendar and with the experience of 2021, the show appears set for a successful future at Malacky.
|Report by Chris Janssens
Lay-out and content by Chris Janssens, 2005 - present