John Ratley made it to the Malta International Airshow 2006, unlike most of the participants!
Malta International Airshow took place over the weekend of 23/24 September,
providing a warm and sunny end to the airshow season. Following last year's
sixtieth anniversary 'Merlins over Malta' airshow, this fourteenth edition
proved to be a smaller and quieter event, a situation not helped by many
cancellations. The last-minute withdrawal of the Croatian display team
with their PC-9s prevented the prospect of two national display teams
being on show, a big disapointment for the organisers - the cancellation
was due to the unavailability of the Croation support aircraft, the An-32,
which would have been an attraction in itself.
All was not lost as far as national display teams were concerned, as the Swiss Air Force PC-7 Team was displaying on its nation's first visit to the airshow. It was also a first for the Irish Air Corps, who were on static display with the Casa CN235. Unfamiliar surroundings for the Irish, but made to feel at home with the same aircraft type beside them on the pan from the Spanish Air Force.
USAF sent a pair of Aviano based F-16s to the static line, the RAF joining
them with two 13 Squadron Tornado GR4s from Marham. Added to these was
an Alpha Jet from the French Air Force, and from the French Navy a Falcon
10. The Armed Forces of Malta claimed one end of the static park to display
their aircraft, while the Italian Guardia di Finanza (customs) and Police
were also in attendance. Dominating the static park was a NATO E-3A, while
away from the static area at the far end sat a Fokker 60 from the Royal
Netherlands Air Force.
Although the content was down on the previous year the show lived up to its international title with eight countries attending. So, if you're arriving on one of those holiday flights next September, it's well worth a visit!