Current Tour Programme
USA: Florida - MacDill AFB & Sun 'n Fun Airshows (227105)
10th - 20th April CANCELLED DUE TO CORONA VIRUS
A great way to start your aviation year – in the sunny, warm weather of Florida attending THREE great airshows, plus various other aviation sites located in the north and central areas of the state. We start on the east coast in Jacksonville, attending the US Navy’s very large and popular military airshow.
Our second airshow is the EAA’s annual Sun ‘n Fun aviation extravaganza in Lakeland, with its tens of thousands of aircraft. On the ground and in the air are all types of aircraft, plus several GA trade halls and stalls. You have the option of going 1, 2 or 3 days. Often known as Oshkosh’s little brother: half the size, but still a huge and memorable show.
The third airshow is the Valiant Air Command’s on their airfield outside Titusville. As well as a good aviation museum, which we will visit on a less-crowded, non-airshow day, the airshow features civil, military and warbird aircraft in the static display and performing in the flying programme. Exhibits include the exceedingly rare Northrop F-5E (SSBD) Tiger II (pictured above).
We have a memorable day at NASA’s Cape Canaveral; visit the Fantasy of Flight Museum; and if you fancy flying in a twin-seat Mustang then “Stallion 51” awaits you.
Plus lots, lots more!
PORTUGAL – NATO Tiger Meet (NTM) (227108)
5th - 10th May CANCELLED DUE TO CORONA VIRUS
Spotter’s Passes for the original dates of May, then July 2020, will be valid in May 2021.
This updated tour is now one day less, however, we hope to keep the price unchanged as our stay at the new hotel in Vidigueira is now on a half board (bed, breakfast and evening meal) and not B&B.
The annual meeting of NATO’s Tiger squadrons will take place on the Portuguese Air Force airbase of Beja, southeast of the capital Lisbon.
Although the squadrons and aircraft types do not change that often, you can be sure that many of the fighters will have new and striking ‘tiger’ schemes. It’s certainly a welcome change compared to the usual boring liveries we see all the time.
We spend one full day on-base at the official Spotter’s Day – 6th May. And, on the 7th at the end of the landing runway.
On Saturday 8th May, we visit the excellent national aircraft collection in the 2 sites of the Museu do Ar: in Sintra, where there are 49 aircraft on display and, in Alverca which has another 19 exhibits.
There will be an international airshow on the airbase on Sunday, 9th May.
Our hotel is located only 14 miles from Beja AB, usually a 20 minutes drive!
EASTERN EUROPE: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia & Croatia (227104)
20th - 31st May CANCELLED DUE TO CORONA VIRUS
This tour was transferred from 2020 and now includes the first ever Croatian International Airshow.
Over the last couple of years we have received a number of requests to visit all or some of these countries in Eastern Europe, so we have put them all together to produce a really fascinating tour. As well as the glitzy national aviation museums funded by the governments, we visit some large collections of aircraft that exist purely because aviation enthusiasts such as us, and the general public, walk through the entrance and donate to the upkeep of the aircraft. And without such support they could not, and will not, survive. As you can see from the aerial photographs, these private museums and collections contain a wealth of mainly, but not exclusively, classic types going back to the Russian and Soviet era. A lot are off the beaten track and so those who are prepared to travel will be richly rewarded with some memorable visits. We also have confirmation of several hours air-side at Budapest International Airport. We end our tour on the Croatian coast at Zadar.
CROATIA CROIMAS AIRSHOW: Croatia (227124)
28th - 31st May
This is a long weekend to Europe’s newest airshow - the first ever Croatian International Airshow. Our itinerary includes both days at CROIMAS plus a look around the collection of aircraft in the National Technical Museum in Zagreb.
It is an option should you have limited time or funds to join our group on the longer Eastern European tour. We attend both days of the airshow, of which we await details.
USA: Alaska - Propliners & Floatplanes, Airports, Airfields & Museums. Optional flights. (227107)
2nd - 15th June
Whenever we offer a tour to Alaska you can usually guarantee 2 things: it will be very popular; and a huge success. So we are confident that our latest trip – and we think possibly our last for the purpose of viewing propliners – to beautiful Alaska will be no different. No surprise that 24 of 26 enthusiasts who booked on our postponed 2020 tour have re-confirmed their booking for this tour! We have room for more propliner fans!
We include as much aviation as possible and anticipate 100% co-operation from the aviation community who show a genuine friendship when our groups visit – “we heard you were back”, is often heard! As the propliner population diminishes and the price of flights and hotels go up, we think we have very nearly reached the point where it will no longer offer value for money for the average enthusiast. If your interest is propliners, airliners, floatplanes, general aviation aircraft collections and a great range of optional pleasure flights over this fantastically wild and beautiful environment, then this is the tour for you. Book early to avoid disappointment.
KAZAKHSTAN: KADEX - Kazakhstan Defence Expo, Airbus Helicopters, National Military Museum & Ramp Tours (227101)
8th - 14th June CANCELLED DUE TO CORONA VIRUS
We didn’t go to the last KADEX in 2018 (nor the postponed 2020 event), but we are going in 2021! This event is now well established and proving popular on the aviation enthusiasts ‘must do’ list. We enjoy 4 full days at the Defence Expo and Airshow to make sure we don’t miss anything that only flies in for the day, which the Kazaks tend to do. We will again request ramp tours of Nur-Sultan and Almaty Airports; Air Astana Maintenance; stored airliners; and visits to Airbus Helicopters Kazakhstan, and the aircraft collection in the National Military History Museum. Currently these visits are to be confirmed, but as we have visited them all before on previous tours, we do not envisage a problem. KADEX is similar to the ILA Berlin or the Paris Air Salon but it is smaller, but unless you go to Kazakhstan you won’t see any of their aircraft - they don’t come here. So it's more a case of “quality” rather than “quantity”.
FRANCE: La Ferte Alais Airshow and CANOPEE Chateaudun (227106)
24th - 28th June
After a gap of several years it’s time to go back to one of Europe’s most popular airshows: La Ferte Alais, featuring those wonderful classic aeroplanes that one sees in the UK at Old Warden. The Amicale Jean Baptiste Salis is the equivalent of the Shuttleworth Collection and their annual airshow on the grass airfield south of Paris is very popular. The show also includes some ‘heavy metal’ military types, making the flying programme very interesting. You will have the option of a second day at the show. We also visit the collection of military aircraft in CANOPEE on the French Air Force Base in Chateaudun. And we look around one of the finest aviation museums in the world: the Musee de l’Air et de l’Espace at Le Bourget. There is a free day in Paris – or a second, optional day at the airshow (subject to a minimum number for coach hire). We stay in the Montmartre area of Paris, a short walk from the Sacre-Coeur. This tour is also perfect for non-aviation persons, who would rather enjoy the various tourist attractions of the French capital.
RUSSIA: MAKS Airshow (227115)
18th - 25th July
As always we include 2 full days at this brilliant airshow: one day inside and a second day outside on the banks of the River Moscow, within a stone’s throw of the Air Traffic Control Tower which is ‘airshow centre’ for the flying display! With the sun behind, fabulous photographs can be taken from this perfect location.
This year we plan to offer a choice: 2 days at MAKS plus “Museums” or “Airports”. The former will include the Central Armed Forces Museum, the Great Patriotic Park Museum, the private aircraft collection of Vadim Zadorozhny and the one and only: the Central Air Force Museum or “Monino”.
For “Airports” we are discussing the possibility of ramp access at Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo and Vnukovo Airport. And/or a day spent outside, on the threshold of the landing runway.
Time also on Chernoe airfield with its An-2s and Mi-2s who enter the factory as un-airworthy messes and re-emerge at the other end as brand new, updated ‘ready to fly’ machines!
There is the option of a tour of the Kremlin and the famous Armoury and free time in the centre of Moscow.
USA: Oshkosh 2021 - 9-day tour - The largest aviation event in the world! (227109)
25th July - 2nd August
The figures are truly mind-boggling – as you would expect at the largest aviation event in the world. Attendance in 2019 (the last year it was held), there were over 642,000; more than 10,000 aircraft were there; daily average of aircraft movements was 127 PER HOUR over the 11-day period; 2,758 showplanes (plus the many thousands who flew and parked/camped for the event) comprising of 1,057 home-builds, 939 vintage/classics, 400 warbirds, 188 ultralights and light-sport aircraft, 105 floatplanes and 22 helicopters. Phew! That’s a heck of a lot of photos! Away from the flight-line there were 863 commercial exhibitors in 5 huge ’trade halls’. Also 1,500 forums, workshops and presentations attended by more than 75,000 people. 3,051 people flew aboard EAA’s Ford Tri-Motors, while 3,173 took rides aboard EAA’s Bell 47 helicopters (memories of MASH) and 669 enjoyed a memorable flight in the EAA’s B-17 Flying Fortress “Aluminium Overcast”. You will have 7 full days to experience all the above - at a leisurely pace. Our time at Wittman Field on this 9-day tour will start on the Monday, the opening day of the show.
USA: Oshkosh 2021 - 7-day tour - The largest aviation event in the world! (227110)
27th July - 2nd August
For those with limited time or finances, this shorter option to the biggest aviation event in the world, still gives you 4 full days on Wittman Field in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. You will stay on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, in the halls of residence where you have 3 accommodation options: one of the air-conditioned 2-bedroom suites, an air-conditioned or non-air-conditioned room – all on a twin-share or single occupancy basis. The itinerary gives details of each option. Wittman Field is a very short drive away from the campus using the EAA shuttle coach service. Our other ‘Oshkosh’ tour option is longer giving you 7 days at Oshkosh (tour 227109). Both tours visit the EAA’s ‘overspill’ airfield at Fond du Lac and, by way of a change, the Harley Davidson Motor Cycle Museum in Milwaukee on the return transfer to Chicago.
CANADA & USA NW STATES: Museums & the FH&CAM’s Airshow (227114)
31st July - 14th August
It’s been a few years since we toured the Northwestern states of the USA, so we make a welcome return. We start in British Columbia in Canada, to see a very rare and special aircraft – a Handley Page Hampden!
The tour includes the main, annual airshow featuring Paul Allen’s fabulous, incredible collection of warbirds in the famous “Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum” in Everett; it will be our first visit since it moved from Arlington several years ago. Where else can you see flying a genuine (not a repro) ex-Soviet Air Force ‘tank-busting’ Il-2m3 Sturmovik - pictured above!
Other well known - and equally fabulous – museums and collections included in the itinerary are: Canadian Museum of Flight – HP Hampden! Evergreen Aviation – Spruce Goose! Tillamook Aviation; Classic Aircraft Aviation; Olympic Aviation; Museum of Flight, Seattle; Historic Flight Collection; Legend Flyers; and Museum of Flight’s Restoration Hangar.
DENMARK: Museums & Roskilde Int’l Airshow (227113)
11th - 16th August
Our next tour to Scandinavia goes, after a gap of several years, to Denmark. Star attraction is the Roskilde International Airshow (replacing the RDAF’s cancelled Karup show). There is a Spotters Enclosure and you can book your ticket now: fully refund if the show does not take place. In addition we also visit the main aircraft museums and collections that are dotted around the country. Beautiful scenery, great collections of aircraft, fabulous airshow and lovely hotels.... bring it on!
BELGIUM, LUXEMBOURG, GERMANY & SWITZERLAND: "Hunterfest" Airshow, Aviation Museums & Collections (227112)
13th - 22nd August
We start in Belgium – Brussels and the national aviation collection - followed by Bastogne – with the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes the main attraction here. Travelling on through the Ardennes we pass through Luxembourg and into Germany. The words “Hermiskeil”, “Speyer” and “Sinsheim” all mean the same thing: 3 of the very best aviation museums to be seen – anywhere! Our journey takes us south, via the beautiful and historic spa town of Baden-Baden, and the Deutsch-Kanadisches Luftwaffenmuseum, into the Black Forest and the little known aviation museum in the Pflumm collection. In Switzerland we attend the annual "Hunterfest" held on the ex-Swiss Air Force base of St Stephan, high up in the mountains and forests. The peace and pace of this show is more like Old Warden than Duxford. Star participants are 4 Hawker Hunters and a couple of Vampires; plus several other types of civil and military, fixed and rotary wing. No 2 years are ever the same. Optional flights are available in a Hunter (very popular, need to pre-book) and a helicopter. This 10-day tour is taken at a leisurely pace and will be memorable not only for the aircraft but also for the beautiful scenery.
RUSSIA: ARMY LIVE-FIREPOWER DEMO & EXHIBITION (227122)
22nd - 29th August
Another fabulous opportunity to attend the “International Military and Technical Forum”, known as ‘ARMY’; previous tours were very popular and we therefore have no hesitation in returning.
The event is one of the world’s leading exhibitions of arms and military equipment and is a major ‘shop window’ for the huge Russian armament industry. The event features hundreds of military vehicles as well as many thousands of other items of military hardware.
Undoubtedly the biggest attraction for aviation enthusiasts and photographers is the number and different types of Russian military aircraft, large and small, fixed and rotary wing that participate in the flying demonstrations: they all operate out of Kubinka airbase. Different aircraft arrive/depart most days - so participating aircraft can and do change!
The itinerary each day is completely flexible, giving you the option of spending all or some of the days catching all the action at any of the 3 sites:
- Kubinka Airbase, from where all the participating aircraft take off from and land back
- Patriots Park Expo Site – static display only
- the Alabino tank ground with live fire-power demos and air show
In addition, we see the various types of aircraft at the Kubinka Aircraft Repair Plant.
Previous ARMY as included an official rest day for the participating pilots, in which case we will offer you the optional opportunity to look around one of the best aviation museums anywhere in the world: the Central Air Force Museum, better known as “Monino”; we also hope to arrange to go inside the Tu-144 ‘Konkordski’ and the world’s largest helicopter, the huge Mil-12!
BELGIUM: 60th Anniversary of NATO Tiger Association Airshow (227121)
1st - 30th September
We await confirmation of the exact date of the airshow which will be held on Kleine Brogel airbase in Belgium. We are looking at a long weekend tour, by coach, possibly including the Belgian and Dutch national aviation museums in Brussels and near Amsterdam respectively.
NORWAY: Museums (227120)
3rd - 7th September
Looking back since the beginning of Ian Allan Aviation Tours in 1999 I can find very few trips to Norway; unless it included an airshow. At the present time things are so different that no planned airshow is guaranteed, so this tour will be our very first visit to the country to look around the excellent collections of aircraft in their 3 museums. First, is the 30 aircraft in the excellent collection of the Flyhistorisk Museum Sola The very latest addition is this immaculate DC-6B which many of you will remember seeing on one of our propliner tours around Alaska. Next, the Norwegian Air Force Museum in Gardemoen with over 40 different types of aircraft and helicopters, some of which are unique not only to Norway, but also internationally. Thirdly, the National Aviation Museum in Bodo in the far north, beyond the Arctic Circle, it has a civil and military collection of over 40 exhibits: German and allied fighter, transport and bomber aircraft from WWII. It is largest aviation museum in the 3 Nordic countries covering around 10,000 square metres (110,000 sq ft) with the building shaped like a huge propeller.
UKRAINE: Aviation Museums & Collections (227117)
10th - 19th September
This will be our first visit to the Ukraine for many years, delayed due to warnings not to travel to the country because of the dispute with Russia over the Crimea and the eastern regions. Our itinerary keeps us well away from these areas. No travel restrictions have been imposed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Travel Advice Unit for where we are going. Taking into account that it is (currently) now back flying, we will do our utmost to make sure our paths cross, giving us the opportunity to see the world’s largest aircraft, Antonov’s An-225 (pictured above).We visit some very well-known aviation museums, in Kharkiv, Poltava, Kropyvnytskyi (Kirovograd), Vinnitsa and Kiev. There are optional flights in an An-2 from Korotich airfield and a Cessna 182 out of Chaika in Kiev. We will do our best to offer a Russian type during our visit to the latter: details to be advised when known. Enthusiasts have been wanting to visit aviation sites in the Ukraine for some time, but the country has been off-limits. Now the ‘coast is clear’!
22nd - 28th September
Looking to go somewhere completely different? Then Greenland is THE place. Many of you will have seen some of it on your way to/from the USA or Canada, but now there is the opportunity to see this beautiful country from ground level. We understand that we will be the first ever group of aviation enthusiasts and photographers to be allowed access to the 2 main airports: Kangerlussuaq and Nuuk. The former is the international airport and the latter is Air Greenland’s maintenance facility. Our airport visits have been approved by the Greenland Airports Authority. In addition to seeing the Northern Lights, the area around Kangerlussuaq is something very special, as there is a large road network that leads to lookout points, lakes and a place where you can get up on the ice sheet itself. gateway to the rest of the world is the international airport at Kangerlussuaq. There is a large population of reindeer and musk oxen in the area, plus arctic hares, polar foxes and a rich bird life – binoculars will be very handy.
JAPAN AIRPORTS (227116)
1st - 16th October
It’s been several years since our last “Airports & Airliners” tour to the land of the rising sun – Japan – so it’s about time we went back! The airlines have updated and expanded their fleets and, thankfully, they continue to paint a good number of their aircraft in fabulous, colourful schemes – pictured above is one of ANA’s A380s, each one of them in great “Hawaii” colours. We have 13 full days touring the country, from Okinawa in the far south to Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo; visiting a total of 8 airports!
BULGARIA: WRECKS, RELICS, MUSEUMS & COLLECTIONS (227119)
10th - 17th October
Our 2019 tour to Bulgaria was a tremendous success – and so popular we had a long list of people on the reserve list. True to our promise we are offering a repeat visit to this beautiful country with a slightly different itinerary. It will focus more on wrecks and relics, aircraft on poles and tucked away in the middle of nowhere. Once again Ivo, our Bulgarian born Tour Manager, has used the knowledge of his homeland and aviation to organise the trek around his homeland. A ramp tour will be requested at Sofia Airport and visit the Terem Letets aircraft repair plant (tbc).
We await dates of any Bulgarian Air Force Open Days which usually take place in October and will change the itinerary accordingly if possible. Our route will encompass approximately 90% of the 300+ aircraft on display, excluding museums, and we will stop-by as many as possible. Aircraft types will be a mixed bag of Laz-7, L-29, MiG-15, 17, 19, 21, 23, Su-22, An-2, Tu-134, Mi-2, Mi-24 with several different sub-types of each model, plus who knows what we find. And not counting the more rarer types in the museums.
AUSTRALIA – 100th RAAF Int’l Airshow & Aerospace Exhibition. Singapore Stopovers (227100)
15th November - 1st December
The perfect finale to your 2021 aviation year - on a tour to the far side of the planet! At an event that will never be repeated: the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airshow. This will be a huge show featuring a Friday night flying display in addition to the weekend airshows. Participating aircraft from around the world, and especially from the Far East, have accepted an invitation to attend. Never before will so many overseas military aircraft have assembled on the same place at the same time in Australia!
During our travels around Oz we will visit 10 aviation museums and collections.
In Singapore we visit the Singapore Air Force Museum and the old Ford Factory boardroom: the latter the site on 15 February 1942 when British and Australian soldiers surrendered to the Japanese army in the Second World War.
There are free days to enjoy as you wish in Singapore, Sydney and Melbourne. Explore each at your leisure or take on of many optional sightseeing tours that can be booked locally.
To ensure the long journeys to and from Australia are as relaxing and stress-free as possible, we have included ‘rest and recuperation’ stopovers in Singapore. However, you have the option of opting out of one or both of them, and going without a break.