report by Antoine Pierribattista
AIRPOWER22 was held on 2nd and 3rd September. AIRPOWER is jointly organised by three stakeholders – the Austrian tourism authority and local authority of Steiermark, in which Zeltweg is located, the Austrian Air Force, and Red Bull.Europe’s largest air show has been planned impeccably for over a year. AirPower show was held at Zeltweg since 1997 until the last edition in 2022. The decision to establish an airfield in Zeltweg Styria was held in 1935. In 1938 the field was taken by the German Luftwaffe. In 1955 RAF Station Zeltweg closed and the airfield was transferred back to Austrian Airforce.
Over 6,500 staff were deployed at this year’s air show, including 4,500 soldiers. Among the 4,500 servicemen and women, the ready-reserve accounted for 1,356 and women for 658. Three hundred fifty-two people were employed in the ambulance service.What has to work immediately is the interaction with international military aviation guests. Welcoming the participants flying to Zeltweg, supplying the foreign participants, the practising of the displays, the adherence to common rules of flight safety, perfectly functioning air traffic control, the airport fire department, the military meteorological service, or the cooperation on the two days of the event under high time pressure.
Classic jets and warbirds also put in a decent showing, too. The SwAFHF Draken performed a solo flying display in a nod to the Austrian Air Force’s previous fast jet mounts, and then joined a bizarre formation with the Serbian-based G-2 Galeb recently repainted into its 1960s era SOKO marketing colours.
Flying direct from their home base at Zagreb, a Croatian MiG-21UM Mongol B produced a highly appreciated display. It was also noted that EF2000 “7D-WC” marked up with an attractive “Austrian Tigers” special scheme, to mark the unit’s ascension into the NATO Tigers Association. The famous Belgian Airforce Black Snake F-16 also took part to the flying display.
Expected static items included almost all Austrian Air Force types except, oddly, no EF2000 despite it being an EF2000 base. The public had to put up with a plastic mockup Eurofighter instead. These were complimented by European based warbirds and modern military, and the likes of a Belgian F-16, German Tornado, Italian Typhoon, and one apiece of Polish & Turkish F-16s. These were supplemented by some slightly rarer items, such as a Polish Su-22, Turkish F-4, and Slovak L-39. A very pleasant experience that we expect to do again in the future.