“Are you on?”
“Of course I am!”
Well then! Soon we were on the train to Linköping, J nodding off and I reading. As we arrived in Linköpingand looked for our bus, we were greeted by staff from the local public transport who showed us to the bus to Malmslätt and quickly instructed us how to buy SMS tickets. The entrance to the airfield was through the museum (where I had to briefly stop to photograph the Tp 85 that had appeared outside the museum since our last visit). And there it was: The Swedish Armed Forces Air Show 2012.
The weather had gotten worse, which not only affected the aerial displays, some of which—like paradrops and replica pioneer aircraft—had to be cancelled due to the high winds. I realised exactly how inadequately I had dressed as a horizontal rain started. J calmly dug out a wind- and water-proof ski suit for himself from his bat pack. He offered me an umbrella, but it threatened to be shredded by the wind, so back it went into the pack. Instead he took out a plastic bag for me to cover my camera with, as he was concerned it wouldn’t take well to the rain. At least my hearing protectors doubled nicely as ear muffs.
Not so much a picture of the 6-group Sk 60, but of the cloud formations that day.
The Saab Historic Flight, Gripen leading, followed by Sk 60 (which has never had a proper name), Tunnan and Lansen, finally flanked by Viggen and Draken. Teared eyes all over the airfield.
The flight on the ground, augmented by a Hunter.
I’ve always been fond of the MU-2, here in a target tug version.
But well, an airshow is an airshow, so even though my teeth occasionally chattered, we had a good time. We threaded a weaving path about the airfield, as I tend to be mostly interested in the static displays, where you actually have a chance to see the aircraft close up, whereas J didn’t want to miss any of the aerial displays, so wanted to be close to the flightline. I for my part tend to be a bit blasé about aerobatics and wasn’t all that impressed until the performance by the Baltic Bees, which had the right components for an aerial display: fast jets and a well-trained group. They had been preceded by the Swiss PC-7 team, which, while doing a nice display, had a speaker who had me groaning as he repeated for every manœuvre that it was executed with Swiss precision (well yes, but we got it the first time) and managed to mention the team’s web site probably eight times during the display.
Then of course, it was this was a PR event for the Armed Forces and the speakers, while knowledgeable about their subject (not necessarily a requirement at some Swedish air days I have been to), underscored what a great job it was to be a military pilot, or military anything, really, especially as you got to protect Freedom, Democracy, and all that in faraway countries. I did not appreciate the demonstration of a helicopter-supported attack on a terrorist holdout, heavy machine guns rattling off blanks into the audience during the entire display. (Yeah, I know, but we’ve talked about the cognitive dissonance thing before.)
Finally the day wound down and I decided it was time to have a look at the stand selling model kits. As I stood there going through the stacks (eventually going for RS Model’s brand new D-3800) the Saab Historic Flight started their engines one by one in the enclosure I was standing next to, in preparation for leaving. Hot exhaust washed over me. I was warmed in all respects though grateful I still had my ear protectors on. And then, with great roars they returned to their lair, and so did we.
The people from the bus company were standing by the bus stop, requesting extra busses according to need. I chatted a bit with the guy, who demonstrated that Linköping indeed is Air City, as he had initiated comments not only on the day’s display but also of aviation in the city in his youth. He also had some acerbic comments about Saab putting on a big show, but not having the courtesy of hiring coaches, instead letting the bus company cover the bill for that.