Göteborg Aero Show Report

Saturday 8th June - Sunday 9th June 2013

The 2013 Aero Show at Göteborg City Airport was a must-do for me. I'd attended the Aerospace Forum at Linköping in 2012 and developed a fascination for the scarcely-seen Swedish types, plus access to the event was ridiculously straight forward with Ryanair flying direct to the airport from Stansted. The show, held over the 8-9 June, was the main aviation event in Sweden this year and included a whole host of vintage types, including the mighty SAAB Viggen.

Dean West reports from a sun-drenched Sweden. All photography by the author.

The Swedes seem to do things very differently to the UK when it comes to airshows with the event only hosting a small amount of trade stalls, a handful of which were military related, as well as a small collection of light aircraft making up the static display, although this also included the Aeroseum's Hkp4B Vertol (more on that later!). However, this meant the attention was focussed on the flying display and the Aeroseum's fascinating collection of Swedish aircraft preserved in the underground caverns. 10,000 people attended the show over the two days.

The undoubted star of the event was the Swedish Air Force Historic Flight's SAAB AJS-37 Viggen, SE-DXN, which performed a full display on both days flown by the chief of the SwAFHF, Stellan Andersson. While the demo was not as impactful as the old Swedish Air Force solos, in an attempt to preserve the airframe's life, it featured all the right ingredients for an impressive aerial display, including zoom climbs, a gear down pass with wing waggle and even a demonstration of the aircraft's reversing capabilities on landing. The aircraft has been the star item of shows throughout Sweden and Europe since its return to flight on the 27th March 2012 and its UK 2013 appearances are highly anticipated by many enthusiasts. Viggen SE-DXN will be making its UK mainland debut at the RAF Waddington International Airshow on the 6-7 July, before an appearance at the RAF Leuchars Air Show on the 7th September.

The support that the SwAFHF gave the Aero Show must be commended, providing no less than six of their fleet, all of which performed in the flying display display. In addition to the Viggen their other contributions included a J-34 Hunter, J-28C Vampire, Sk60E, Safir 91, Sk61 Bulldog and no less than three Sk16 Harvards. They had also planned to send their J-29 Tunnan, although the aircraft was unable to make it due to ‘paperwork and technical obstacles'.

My personal highlight of their contributions was the J-34 Hunter, formerly a Mk58 of the Swiss Air Force, but now resplendent in the colours of the short lived Acro Hunters display team, with Lars Martinsson displaying the aircraft in the typically elegant style that you would expect for this British classic.

It was not just the SwAFHF who supplied classic types to the show, but a handful of civilian operators provided some unusual types in the flying display. It was great to see a different Spitfire at the event, with the Biltema owned MkXVI gracefully filling the blue skies over the airport, with the aircraft occasionally joined by the operator's P-51D Mustang for some looping and rolling tailchase manoeuvres. Further prop action over Göteborg City Airport came in the form of a smart US Navy schemed T-28B Trojan. One display that I was intrigued and excited by was the four-ship of ex-Flygvapnet helicopters, made up of two Hkp5s and two Hkp6s, more commonly known as the Hughes 269 and Bell 206 in civilian hands. Sadly, I was left underwhelmed by their appearance as their whole display consisted of two very slow circuits with the helicopters in a loose line astern formation, before hovering some distance away from the crowdline.

Bringing the participation up to date was the Swedish Air Force's JAS-39 Gripen solo display. The demo was an absolute corker, demonstrating the Gripen's impressive performance by keeping the aircraft tight within the airfield's boundaries all while making one hell of a racket. When we're lucky enough to see the Swedish Gripen in the UK it is usually at a huge show such as RIAT, so to see the nimble multi-role aircraft in the skies above a much smaller showground really made you appreciate just how remarkable the display really is. The only other Swedish Air Force participation came in the shape of a hugely appreciated, but all too brief, appearance of a Tp84 Hercules. The aircraft made three passes over the airfield on each of the show days, complete with loadmaster waving from the back ramp as we used to see in those well-missed Tp84 solo displays! The Aero Show organisers were understandably excited to secure the Swedish debut of the Royal Jordanian Falcon, flying four Extra 300Ls, and so gifted them with the honour of closing the event.

As I touched upon previously, the star of the static display was the Aeroseum's Boeing Vertol Hkp4. The aircraft, 04072, was incredibly popular with the enthusiasts and the general public alike, allowing people to get a close up look at the unusual type as well as getting a peak in to the cockpit. The static Hkp4 is the sister ship of another Hkp4 at the Aeroseum, 04070, which is being restored to airworthy condition. There were plans initially for Yankee 70, as it is also known, to fly at the show but this was changed some months before the event to a taxi run, finally being reduced to static display only. I wish the team all the best with the restoration of this fascinating type..

With that in mind, and the prospect of the SwAFHF's Draken and Lansen back in the air, I could imagine that the next Göteborg Aero Show has the potential to attract one of the strongest, and most varied, line-ups in Europe. Whether it'll happen or not - we'll have to check back in a couple of years, but I would definitely recommend the event and the Aeroseum's underground caverns. If you do venture to the land of ABBA and Ikea just make sure you're not too reliant on the taxis, £23 for a 5 minute journey - ouch!