Hradec Králové hosts the annual Czech International Air Fest
The Czech International Air Fest (CIAF) is – after the NATO-days at Ostrava – the second largest yearly annual air show in the Czech Republic. The festival is held every first weekend of September at Hradec Králové airport. We visited the Air Fest on a cloudy and dark Saturday, 4 September 2010.
Czech International Air Fest
The Czech International Air Fest was first organized in 1993 at Hradec Králové airbase. The airbase was the home of a large number of Mig-21s and SU-22s until 1992 when a large reorganization of the Czech forces took place. The planes left and Hradec Králové became a reserve base, making it particularly suitable for a large event like the CIAF. After another reorganization of the Czech Air Force Hradec Králové airbase was closed as a military base. Therefore the CIAF moved to Brno-Turany international airport. The airshow had to be combined with normal operations at the airport which made it less suitable for the CIAF. Besides that the audience was situated on the north side of the runway, which made the people stare into the sun the whole day. The numbers of spectators declined over the following years making the organization investigate a possible return to Hradec Králové, which finally happened. In 2009 the CIAF was back at its birthplace.
The 2010 edition
The Czech Air Force demonstrated all of the aircraft and helicopters that they have currently in use. So the L-39, L-159, L-410, JAS-39, EV-97, Zlin-42, L-39 of the CLV (Centrum Leteckého Vycviku / Centre of Air training for the Czech Air Force) and An-26 were present, as well as Mi-17, Mi-24, Mi-2 (CLV) and the W3A Sokol helicopters. The JAS-39 Gripens, that operated from their home base Caslav, demonstrated an interception of a civil Boeing 737. The foreign participation is usually not too impressive at the CIAF. The fact that the NATO-days at Ostrava are usually 2 weeks after the CIAF doesn’t help in getting a lot of interesting foreign aircraft.
This year only a Belgian Agusta A109, a Danish F-16 and a Slovakian Mig-29 made their appearance. Having said that, it was a nice day out of the house with a chance to see a good number of Czech Armed Forces aircraft and helicopters and enjoy the Czech hospitality.