2020 Tour Programme
THAILAND: Phuket International Airport plus optional extension to Bangkok Airport (227001)
1st - 8th February TRAVELLED
Please note we now fly with Etihad via Abu Dhabi and enjoy an additional day, at no extra cost, in Phuket arriving back in London a day later than previously advertised.
Following on from our very successful ‘airliners’ tour to Bangkok and Jakarta in 2019, we return to southeast Asia – to Phuket! As you would expect for one of the world’s most famous and popular tourist destinations, the airport gets busy; in the high season it gets very busy – and that’s when we will go! Something like 60 airlines operate short, medium and long-haul flights to the airport and this is reflected in the number of single and twin-aisle types you will see. Most of the airlines are from Southeast Asia. February is a perfect time to visit as there is very little rain. We stay at a hotel within walking distance of the airport – and the local beach: the perfect place for taking superb photographs. Like the well-known Saint Maarten Airport on the Dutch Antilles in the Caribbean, the aircraft land just a few feet over the sandy beach! You have the opportunity to extend your time in Phuket, or even extend your stay and spend some time at one of the popular ‘spotting’ hotels at Bangkok Airport. This tour is also perfect for those people in your life who have no interest in aviation!
USA: Florida - MacDill AFB & Sun 'n Fun Airshows (227018)
28th March - 5th April TOUR CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
A great way to start your aviation year – in the sunny, warm weather of Florida attending 2 great airshows and various other aviation sites located across the middle of the state. We start on the west coast at Tampa, attending one of the largest airshows held anywhere in the USA – the MacDill AFB AirFest: we enjoy the second day of this 2-day event.
Half way across Florida is Lakeland, the venue of the EAA’s Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In and Airshow. You have the option of up to 4 days at what is often referred to as Oshkosh’s Half Brother: half the size, but still a huge and memorable show.
We now fly on the scheduled services of Norwegian Airlines from London's Gatwick Airport, arriving back in the UK on 5 April, one day earlier than originally advised.
EASTERN EUROPE: Serbia, Hungary, Czech Republic & Germany plus optional Extension to ILA Berlin (227009)
3rd - 17th May TOUR CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
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. After the visits in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, you have the option of extending your travels for 4 more fabulous days in Berlin, to the ILA 2020 Airshow and including some more exciting visits.
GERMANY: ILA International Aerospace Exhibition & Airshow, Museums, Tempelhof Airport & Zossen Bunkers (227028)
13th - 17th May TOUR CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
Our biennial tour to the German Aerospace Exhibition “ILA”, an event similar to the Paris Air Salon with its large, international participation and airshow, is always popular. Over 5 full days in Berlin we visit several civil and military sites, and there is one day (or more if you wish) to enjoy some of the world-famous and historic attractions in the German capital. We stay in the very centre of the city, only a couple of minutes’ walk from the famous Kurfürstendamm, or Ku-damm, with its cafes, restaurants and shops. Also within walking distance is the Kaiser Wilhelm Cathedral, the Berlin Zoo and Tiergarten. Berlin is a fantastic destination for a short break, so this tour is ideal for those partners with no interest in aviation who wish to travel with you!
KAZAKHSTAN: KADEX - Kazakhstan Defence Expo, Airbus Helicopters, National Military Museum & Ramp Tours (TBC) (227002)
26th May - 2nd June TOUR CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
We didn’t go to the last KADEX in 2018 but we are going in 2020! 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 include 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. As of 27th September 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 (227005)
28th May - 1st June TOUR CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
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. And there is a free day in Paris. 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.
USA: Alaska - Propliners & Floatplanes, Airports, Airfields & Museums. Optional flights. (227007)
3rd - 16th June TOUR SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION IN RESPECT OF CORONAVIRUS
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.
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.
DENMARK: Royal Danish Air Force International Airshow, Karup, including Spotters Day & Aviation Museums (227008)
10th - 15th June TOUR CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
Our next tour to Scandinavia goes, after a gap of several years, to Denmark. Star attraction is the annual Royal Danish Air Force’s International Airshow, this time being held on Karup airbase. We have confirmation from the organisers that there will be a Spotters Day the day before the airshow. 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!
PORTUGAL: NATO Tiger Meet 2020, now a 5 day Revised Itinerary (227006)
8th - 13th July NEW DATES
We have our revised dates for our annual and ever popular tour to the NATO Tiger Meet, which this year is being hosted by the Portuguese Air Force on Beja airbase. Please see the updated Provisional Itinerary showing what we will do each day.
Due to the Coronavirus the NTM was postponed until July, therefore, we have moved our tour accordingly. This tour will only operate if the Coronavirus restrictions have been relaxed and freedom of movement has been re-introduced following the lifting of the UK and EU travel bans: i.e., officially it’s safe to travel.
USA: Oshkosh 2020 - 9-day tour - The largest aviation event in the world! (227010)
19th - 27th July TOUR PENDING DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
The figures are truly mind-boggling – as you would expect at the largest aviation event in the world. Attendance in 2019 was 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 2020 - 7-day tour - The largest aviation event in the world! (227011)
21st - 27th July TOUR PENDING DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
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 227010). 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.
BELGIUM, LUXEMBOURG, GERMANY & SWITZERLAND: "Hunterfest" Airshow, Aviation Museums & Collections (227013)
14th - 23rd 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 2020' including Kubinka, Patriots Park and Alabino (227026)
24th - 31st August SLIGHT DATE CHANGE
The huge Russian military hardware exhibition known simply as ARMY, is very popular with defence procurement offices around the world – and with aviation enthusiasts and photographers alike! It’s not every day you get the chance to see Russian army vehicles and air force fixed and rotary wing assets firing off weapons! You have the choice of spending up to 5 days at the 3 different sites. We also make a visit to a large collection of Soviet-era military aircraft at Medyn, southwest of Moscow, the Kubinka and Chernoe Aircraft Repair Plants, enjoy a look around the incredible Central Air Force Museum commonly known as Monino. On our final morning we have a guided tour of the Kremlin and free time in Red Square.
We now fly into and out of Domodedovo (DME).
JAPAN: Okinawa, Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Osaka, Nagoya & Tokyo Airports (227016)
2nd - 17th October TOUR EXTENDED BY ONE DAY
It has been a while since our last “Airports & Airliners” tour to the land of the rising sun – Japan – so it’s about time we went back! The airports have got bigger and busier, the airlines have updated and expanded their fleets and, thankfully, they continue to paint a good number of their aircraft in fabulous, colourful schemes. Like the ANA A380 above in great “Hawaii” colours. We will 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 – 9 including Seoul I We fly with Korean Air and ANA.
We travel in-country by Shinkansen (bullet) and express trains and, between hotel and airports, by monorail, airport train or coach. We stay in comfortable hotels within walking distance of the railway stations on a bed and breakfast (B&B) basis. We are accompanied at all times by one of our very experienced and travelled tour managers and will be assisted by local guides at certain times.
USA: California. NAS Point Mugu Airshow, Edwards AFB Airshow & Aviation Museums & Collections (227019)
3rd - 13th October
One of the most popular airshows for enthusiasts around the world is that held on Edwards AFB in California. With so many specially adapted types flying out of the base, opportunities to see them close up on the ground – and some of them in the air – is restricted to when this show is held; usually every 2 years, but not always. We will attend both days. Very conveniently, the weekend before, there is another large airshow: NAS Point Mugu. In the week between you can spend 1 to 3 days at the end of NAS North Island’s main runway – a large and busy base; go aboard the aircraft carrier and museum “USS Midway”; cruise around San Diego’s North and South Bays; enjoy the collections of aircraft in the Flying Leathernecks Museum, San Diego Air & Space Museum, Classic Rotors, Blackbird Park, Joe Davis Heritage Airpark, West and North Gates, Century Circle and the USAF Flight Test Museum on Edwards.
UKRAINE: 'Aviasvit 2020', Museums & Collections in Kharkiv, Poltava, Kirovograd, Vinnitsa & Kiev (227015)
9th - 18th October
It’s been a long time coming, but here it is – a tour to the Ukraine! During a 10-day journey around the western part of the country (not to the eastern part of country where there has been some trouble in the past), we visit various aviation companies, museums, collections, airfields etc., in Kharkiv, Poltava, Kropyvnytskyi (Kirovograd), Vinnitsa and Kiev. There are optional flights in an An-2 from Korotich airfield, a Cessna 182 out of Chaika in Kiev and, hopefully, also in the only An-3T in the country. We are also there for the biennial “AVIASVIT” International Aerospace Exhibition. We fly with LOT Polish Airlines via Warsaw, stay in superior hotels - and all meals whilst in the country are included in the tour price. From the questions we have been asked, we know that there are quite a number of enthusiasts interested in visiting the Ukraine so here it is!
BRAZIL: Cruzex 2020 (227022)
13th - 20th November EXACT DATES TO BE CONFIRMED
Our trip to the last CRUZEX in November 2018 was an absolute ‘belter’, so we keenly await the details of the 2020 event. Once announced we intend to offer a programme comprising of 6 days starting with the last ‘arrivals day’. The Força Aérea Brasileira were the perfect hosts: virtually everything was possible, nothing too much trouble. Access on-base is only for those with media accreditation, however, you do not have to be a professional. Each person applies individually and in 2018 nobody was refused. Here is a truly fabulous opportunity to see – every day for 6 days - 100 or more fighters from various air forces around South America (and further afield), participating in the largest fighter exercise on the continent. Plus supporting transport and aerial refuelling aircraft. Whether you are on-base or stood at the end of the landing runway, you will enjoy a superb time.