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2018 was the last time we flew the Skyvan photoship in Finland, when the Finnish Air Force celebrated their 100th anniversary. How the world has changed in just 5 years… With Finland becoming a member of NATO, it was expected that their annual airshow would be a pretty good one this year. Downside: well, we missed the aerial join-up of the F-35s as they were low on fuel, and unfortunately the planned photomission with the Latvian Antonov 2 could not happen in the end. Upside….everything else!!

The Finnish Air Force had chosen the city of Turku to host the airshow, and being a coastal place it could only mean our ‘photo join-up area’ would bring the Skyvan over an amazing scenery with a thousand lakes. And the weather forecast was the best scenario you could wish for as well, with only a few fluffy white clouds missing but full sunshine all day.

As always, the aerial photomissions were fully supported by the Finnish Air Force providing us with an incredible line-up of assets. Unfortunately close to the airshow date it became clear that the Hawks were still grounded and so we all missed the national star and what had to be the headliner of the show, their own Midnight Hawks. All photographers onboard the photoship were gratefull to see the power of 3 F-18 Hornets, and a supernice formation of two Tutor trainers.

Talking about formation flying, we were spoiled by incredible 2-ships of NH90 and MD-500. While the NH90 goes regularly to other European airshows, the MD500 is an absolute rarity. Also the Border Guard signed present with their Do228 and an extra big ‘thank you’ for the H215 crew for taking up the helicopter especially for us, after the encountered a mechanical issue the day before.

On the historic side we were very priviledged to get a join-up of the Vampire, with Finnish markings, a unique chance for us.

Our aerobatic friends came out to say hello in the Christen Eagle and two Extra’s, not forgetting the smoke for that perfect photo. At the end of the second day, already in a nice semi sunset light, we had the chance to welcome the 5-ship of the Saab Safir formation. With 5 bare metal aircraft and dayglow paint it was a delight to the eye and another great photographic challenge for the photographers to catch the different formation set ups.

Another first for us in Finland was the Phenom Bizz jet from the Finnish Flight Academy giving us a masterclass in ‘how to perfectly position an aircraft in 10 various set ups, and nail it every time!’, sunset light included.
No ‘big’ airshow in Europe is complete with a nice line-up of foreign participants, and for sure the Turku airshow did not disappoint. Plenty of brilliant action from many countries. The Baltic states always join the party, and never forget to say hello to the Skyvan photoship before landing. Sweet times with the Lithuanian Dauphin and Let 410 and the M28 from Estonia. All rare types for the die hard aviation enthusiast.
Of course the neighbors of Sweden brought the Gripen to the airshow, well 3 of them, but for us the biggest surprise and again big smiles for all when we had a chance to welcome both the BlackHawk and C-130! After 15 photoflying seasons, this was the first time we had a chance to catch them air to air.
The jetpower and flares came from Denmark with ‘TEO ‘ flying the famous ‘Dannebrog’ red & white F-16, a super popular airshow demo several European airshows get to host each year. Pretty sure we gonna see TEO a few more times this season.
Also Belgium sent their F-16 demojet, better known as the ‘Dream Viper’, flown by ‘Vrieske’. Most of the solojet demo pilots know each other well, and so on occasion we have the opportunity to create some special magic for the photographers. Both Swiss F-18s, flown by ‘Fonsi’ and ‘Heavy’ took off especially for our photomission and timed it so we could have an unforgettable duo shoot with the Belgian F-16. We can only hope more of these combined formation shoots will come to the Skyvan photoship in other projects!!
Photographers do like to catch the military jets, and we are extremely experienced and very good in providing that opportunities. In Europe, we have the pleasure and priviledge to have a great variety of jet types active in many Air Force. But some have a lot more ‘star’ value than others….so when it was rumored that the Polish Air Force ‘might’ send a Sukhoi 22, everybody got super excited as every chance with this iconic Soviet era jet could be the last one. Rumor became reality, and YES of course we got a few flybys!!! Everybody happy, who knows it was our final chance…?
Our biggest guest was the C-17 from the SAV Heavy Airlift Wing based at Papa airbase in Hungary. Those Globemaster have international aircrews, and so it happened that the pilot in command came from…Finland! After a lot of paperwork and coordination, the approval was given for this big guy to join the Skyvan over that fantastic scenery along the coast of Turku. It’s always an impressive view when you see the big cargo planes almost ‘floating’ in the sky with the biggest ease.
The Finnish Air Force airshow at Turku really nailed it, as it was directed by ‘AirshowBoss 1’, Finland’s prime airshow expert, Perttu Karivalo. We have had the luck to know Perttu for almost 20 years through our EAC ( European Airshow Council ) membership and annual conventions, and he has been there to support us in Finland since our first adventure in 2014. He created some of the most unique air to air opportunities for us when we were flying the Skyvan in Finland. Unfortunately at the time of the Turku airshow we did not know it would be the last time we would work with him. Perttu passed away in October, leaving big shoes to fill in the European airshow community. Thank you so much for every opportunity you have ever given us. With so many great moments, we will come back to Finland for sure!

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