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2021 Tour Programme

USA – Red Flag & Top Gun NAS Fallon (227103)

6th - 13th March EXACT DATES TO BE CONFIRMED

This tour is being released before the actual dates of Red Flag 2021 are known but takes into account the 4 previous Red Flag-2s (RF-2s) held each year in February/March. You may either register your interest or book your place with the option of cancelling (with a full refund of your deposit), if the actual dates are not convenient once announced.

Our last tour to go to the second of the annual Red (and Green) Flag exercises was very popular and successful, so we have no hesitation in repeating it.

RF-2 in particular is very popular because the participants come from overseas air forces in addition to American military air assets. We await details of all the units and their aircraft types, they are usually released towards the end of the year.

We await confirmation of a full morning on-board Naval Air Station Fallon, on the very busy operational ramps of the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Centre (NSAWC) – better known as “Top Gun”! All our previous requests were approved.

You will definitely be, as they say, ‘up close and operational’!

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THAILAND: Phuket International Airport & Bangkok’s 2 International Airports (227102)

20th - 30th March

Our 2019 ‘airliner’ tours to Bangkok and Jakarta and to Phuket in 2020, were popular with photographers and spotters alike, so we expect this combined trip to be no different.

Phuket Airport does not feature on the ‘radar’ of most aviation enthusiasts; mention Phuket and one thinks of the famous holiday resort and nightlife. It’s a very popular destination with a busy international airport with 30-40 aircraft movements an hour at peak times. It is especially busy in the high season – and we are going in the high season!

Over 60 airlines fly to Phuket with long, medium and short-haul aircraft and, especially attractive to us, are the many airlines from around southeast Asia.

We stay 4 nights at an airport hotel in Phuket, a short walk from the beach; and in Bangkok, a further 4 nights at the very popular spotters/photographers hotel, the Phoenix. Both on a bed and breakfast basis

The Phoenix is a pleasant 3* hotel with an on-site restaurant and bar, it’s great for photography and spotting; it has a rooftop terrace complete with seating, toilet and shade from the sun.  As well as free Wi-Fi also complimentary are transfers to the airport and local railway station.  Our upgraded Deluxe Rooms are equipped with cable TV, hot and cold shower, complimentary coffee and tea. There is a 10% discount for dinner.

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USA: Florida - MacDill AFB & Sun 'n Fun Airshows (227105)

10th - 20th April

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!

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PORTUGAL – NATO Tiger Meet (NTM) (227108)

5th - 10th May

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!

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FRANCE: La Ferte Alais Airshow and CANOPEE Chateaudun (227106)

20th - 28th May

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.

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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.

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KAZAKHSTAN: KADEX - Kazakhstan Defence Expo, Airbus Helicopters, National Military Museum & Ramp Tours (227101)

8th - 14th June

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”. 

 

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DENMARK: Royal Danish Air Force International Airshow, Karup, including Spotters Day & Aviation Museums (227113)

16th - 21st June

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 await 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!

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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