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When the ‘little’ worldfamous airshow of Sanicole is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary you can expect a pretty good airshow…but it’s always a really good airshow, so how do you celebrate in style? To make it a super brilliant airshow of course! Needless to say that the photoflights would be set at the same level, the only bad luck in this week was the Friday of the arrivals, when the weather made it impossible for us to fly apart from a morning run with the Swiss F-18’s in nearly fog weather.
But 40 years of epic airshows we did celebrate with so many highlights again. With the Royal Saudi Hawks we could add Air Force number 50!!! on our long list of countries to show up behind the Skyvan photoship. We shared the opportunity of the air to air excitement this week with over 40 photographers, as we split up the week into different projects, all had several of the star participants posing for photos.
We started with the SoloTurk identical twin F-16’s, bringing their A400M as support aircraft. More jetpower came from the RAF typhoons, the only demo outside the UK in 2017! That gives you an impression of just how important the Sanicole airshow is….
Both the Finnish Air Force and the Swiss Air Force send their F-18’s and of course we had plenty of Hornet and double Hornet action this week, in all kinds of weather! Quite a number of local aircraft came to join the air to air photoparty in the shape of Trescal, Marchetti, Cap 10, T-28 and on Saturday two special formations of the Pilatus aircraft.
It was a while since we saw a Hind – and with a menacing sound included – aiming for the open ramp of the Skyvan, with a few flares overhead the military Pampa range, our photo zone for the week. The Swedish Gripen gave us a cool 5 minutes and the French Rafale team were outstanding as ever, showing their 2018 demopilot what it is to fly on all sides of the photoship!
When you mention the word ‘Mig-29’ for some reason photographers start drooling and smiling in a strange way….very often it doesn’t work due to short fuelreserve, but this time it was bingo, twice! And a ‘close up’ just means a real close up with these guys, smoke included!!!
Unfortunately the Red Arrows had to cancel last minute due to bad weather in the UK, and also our much awaited photopass with the Frecce Tricolori was cancelled because of the low cloudbase. But the other teams were all present, with the Belgian Red Devils, the UK Blades, Jordanian Falcons, Patrouille Suisse, Patrouille de France and the fantastic Royal Saudi Hawks, they all gave us phototime and we gave them fantastic photos.

The special photo prizes for this edition will go to the Belgian Air Force: on Saturday we had a rather rare opportunity to see the ancient C-130 Hercules in the most amazing cloudformations. The combination of this old worn out painting with clouds in all 50 shades of grey gave all the photographers a very warm feeling.

And the hometeam, the KB based ‘Silver Tigers’ did it again. It’s hard enough for an F-16 with underwing tanks to hold a steady position behind the Skyvan, but to do just that in a tight 4-ship is epic….and these guys do it every year for us! The weather was just perfect and so we were granted again a full 20 minute action packed private airshow in a live imax theatre 4000 feet in the sky.

In 2018 there will be no Sanicole airshow, as the airshowteam is supporting the new edition of the Belgian Air Force Days hosted at KB airbase. I think it’s gonna be a really busy week for the Skyvan photoship.


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