NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days

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Combat planes raged over Ostrava, thousands visited the show

21.09.2014, 18:58

Combat aircraft in the air, heavy army equipment and response units on the ground. After two action-packed weekend days at the Mošnov airport, the NATO Days in Ostrava is over.  Some 225,000 spectators visited the show, including President Miloš Zeman.

President Zeman appreciated the persistence of organisers and recalled that the show has seen 20x increase in the visitors‘ rate in just ten years. “There are only a few organisations with such a track record and that is why I am here,” said the supreme commander who had also taken auspices over the show. The President also spoke about the necessity for providing defence and did not forget to congratulate Gen. Petr Pavel upon his election for a senior NATO military post.

On Saturday, some 140,000 spectators came to the show area, while on Sunday the number was 85,000, based on the data from organizers. “I would like to thank our visitors who came in such massive numbers. Only thanks to them we can claim to be the biggest security show in Europe,” stated Zbyněk Pavlačík, head of the Jagello 2000 Association, the show´s main organizing agency.

Apart from the flying demonstrations, the programme traditionally offered ground presentations of heavy assets by armed forces, police and many emergency management agencies like firefighters, custom service, prison service and others, including displays of special units´ training and their equipment.

In the sky, the Danish, Greek and the Netherlands Air Forces presented one type of aircraft, the ubiquitous F-16 Fighting Falcon, allowing an interesting comparisons in the three displays. The Hellenic Air Force Demo Team Zeus presentation was complemented by a very lively commenting by a Team member including some Czech sentences and an audio from the pilot´s cockpit.

The Swedish Air Force Historic Flight presented the capabilities of the direct predecessors of current Gripen fighter – the AJS Viggen and Saab 35C Draken fighter planes. Another real treat was the joint fly-by by the Czech-produced L-29, L-39 and L-159 aircraft. Finnish Air Force F-18 Hornet put on a breath-taking display, in what was the country´s premiere participation at the show.

Organizers also introduced a novelty this year, allowing for a much broader presentation of a particular country´s armed forces. The first country to become a “Special Partner Nation” was Polish Republic, quite symbolically, since Poland had also been the first-ever foreign participant of the show. The spectators could thus view-up close a wide spectrum of Polish Armed Forces assets across the individual services. The presentation included for example the MiG-29, F-16 and Su-22 aircraft, the Leopard 2 tank, the “Humwee” special forces´ vehicle and the Rosomak armoured personnel carrier.

A special recognition during this year´s NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days   went to four Czech pilots and two members of the air defence unit. They were recognized by the Czech Armed Forces and the Saab Company. Pilots Michal Daněk, Ervín Ehm, Tomáš Merta and Martin Pelda were honoured for 1000 flying hours on the JAS-39 Gripen aircraft. “The abilities and experience of Czech pilots is admirable,” stated Tobias Wennberg on behalf of the Saab Company on the occasion. Swedish Air Force commander Gen. Micael Bydén also personally congratulated the pilots. Crystal plaques went also to Zdeněk Kraus and Ladislav Novotný, best operators of the RBS-70 air defence system that is in the inventory of the Czech Armed Forces.

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