102 Years Bulgaria Air Force

"This is us"   Sofia Vrazhdebna Air Base

 

On Saturday 11th October 2014, a Air show was held over the skies of Sofia.

The event was organised by the Bulgarian Air Force to showcase the Military, make the Public more aware of the service and recruitment purposes.

Rich Pittman/VLNPhotography reports from the rehearsals and show Day.

 

 

The static line up included every type of Aircraft in the Bulgarian Air Force inventory.

 MiG-21, MiG-29, Su-25, PC- 9M, PC-12, L-39ZA, AS 532AL , Mi-17, Bell 206, C-27J Spartan, An-2, An-26, An-30 and L-410 filled the apron, with all visitors able to get a hands on experience.

 

With the show being held at the Sofia International Airport, civilian aircraft had to be stopped from arriving and departing during the 2 hour show.

 At 13:00 the flying display commenced with a Para drop from Bulgaria's latest Aircraft, the C27 Spartan transport aircraft.    2 of the 3 "Spartans" now in service took part in the Air show.

 

 

A wedge formation of 5 helicopters ( 2 AS532 Cougar, 2 Bell 206 and a Mil MI-17 ) was  followed by a Mi-17 demonstrating  fire extinguishing   exercise "Bambi bucket" with a water drop.

This was quickly followed by a pair routine of synchronized flying by the 2 Bell 206 jet rangers.

Then the AS532 Cougars and Mil Mi-17 moved in for the extraction exercise which included providing  air cover, fast roping and casualty evacuation.

The Air force and the 24th Air Base in Krumovo near Plovdiv  " expects 2 new Bell 206 helicopters in the coming Months and 2 more Cougar helicopters at the beginning of the next year,” said Brigadier General Zlatko Zlatev.

 

 

The Bulgarian Air Force didn't hold back putting everything into putting on a brilliant display.

 

The 2 C27 returned after the helicopter displays  for a pair display of tight flying, before a full stop landing.  On taxi they hoisted the Bulgarian National and Air Force  flags from the top hatch of the C27s.

These C27 have replaced the the ageing Soviet An26 transport Aircraft.

 

 

Next up was the Air Training Group, from Dolna Mitropoliya Air Base.

The Pilatus PC9  trainer flew a solo display.

The PC9 entered service with the Bulgaria Air Force in 2004.

 

 

Progressing on from the PC9, the AERO L39 Albatross (recently restored to Bulgarian Air Force service)performed a pair and solo routine.

 

 

The show gained even more momentum as the Air Force launched 2 Mig21 Fighters. Incredible noise and after burner over the airfield demonstrating combat manoeuvres and air cover.

After a Year out of service the Bulgarian Mig21 re entered service in March 2014.

 

 

 

Then the Su-25 "Frogfoot" showed  combat manoeuvres and attacks on ground targets in a pair, and then a single fighter demonstrated complex acrobatics at low level.

Flown by Dimitar Danev and  Rado Stefanov, these SU25 currently fly from Graf Ignatievo.

Bulgarian Air Force Col. Dimitar Aleksiev Danev, Bezmer Air Base commander  explains

 “Bezmer Air Base is under major reconstruction, with the runway lengthened and wider taxi ways.

 We shall be able to receive C5, hot cargo and a new ramp will be installed  for up to 12 C130 Hercules"

 

 

The SU25 departed and then a 2 ship of Mig29s took off to demonstrate a dogfight over the field

Lyubomir Slavov and Nikolay Rusev demonstrated a tight sequence of turning and burning.

This Year marks the 25th Year of Mig29 flying within the Bulgarian Air Force.

 

 

 The best was saved till last with the Commander of Air Force Major General Rumen Radev 

flying a incredible Mig29 demo! including a cobra manoeuvre.

 

 

The show concluded with a mass flypast of 2 Mig21, 2Mig 29 and 2 SU25

A fantastic 2 hours on how to showcase a Air Force.

 

 

Rich Pittman/VLNPhotography would like to thank the Bulgarian Air Force press office and

Ognyan Stefanov for there assistance during the event.