Festa al Cel

Barcelona, 2 October 2011

Barcelona hosts the oldest and biggest airshow in Spain, the Festa al Cel. 2011 celebrated the 20th anniversary of this remarkable event.

The airshow is held along the seafront near the sports center Mar Bella, with trade stalls placed at the Carrer de la Marina, about 2 kilometres from the Ramblas, so the event is well within walking distance from the city center and therefore the show can be combined with a touristic family weekend, also helped by the fact it only lasts about 4 hours. Visiting spotters may want to take care they don’t accidently end up on the nude beach near the show center, as waving large lenses around is frowned upon in that area.

Catering-wise everything is peachy, the regular beach and seaside bars and restaurants supplemented by additional drinks stands from sponsors.

This 20h edition saw participation from 4 large jet teams: Breitling Jet Team, Patrouille de France, Patrouille suisse and of course the Spanish Patrulla Aguila, who closed the show. The rest of the programme had plenty of variation, ranging from local flying clubs like Cesda and Aeroclub de Sabadell to large jetliners. There were 3 aerobatic acts: two from Russia on SU-29 and one from France with their air force’s Equipe de Voltige on Extra 330. Further foreign military participation came from Belgium and the Netherlands, who both sent their F-16 solo displays. Vintage aircraft were quite rare this edition, the only examples being presented by the Fundacio Parc Aeronautic de Catalunya in one of Barcelona’s known ‘carrousels’ and the Breitling Wingwalkers. Apart from Patrulla Aguila, the Spanish air force took part with 3 acts: a search and rescue demonstration by a Super Puma, a firefighting demo with a CL215 and their parachute display team Papea.

Plenty of variation in other words. Visitors who wanted to see some of the smaller, lighter, civilian participants on the ground could head to Sabadell during the morning before the show, where these planes were presented alongside some preserved airframes. The heavier and military aircraft are not accessible on the ground, as they are parked on the ramp of Barcelona’s El Prat airport.

The 20th anniversary of Festa al Cel was a birthday party in style and the international prestige of this show continues to grow each year.

This report would not have been possible without the help from airshow coordinator Daniel Ventura
and the exceptional images of ‘Tuckie10’. Gracias!