The central event of the jubilee - 100 years of Serbian military aviation, international air show "Batajnica 2012" opened today at Batajnica air port.
This jubilee brought together representatives of 16 countries, performing with 27 aircraft and more than 200 crew members, 11 of whom will display their skills in capital's skies, while five states have only delegations.
Today's air show manifestation was attended by the President of the Republic of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic, Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, First Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Aleksandar Vucic, ministers in the Serbian government, Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik, Serbian Patriarch Irinej, SAF CHOD Lt. Gen. Ljubisa Dikovic, representatives of the Ohio National Guard, diplomats and military attaches accredited in Belgrade, representatives of religious communities and denominations, including many prominent public and cultural figures.
On opening the air show, President Nikolic welcomed the guests and thanked the members of our military aviation which, he stressed, is vital to national defense.
I would like to especially thank the countries that responded to our invitation to present their aviation at this air show. We hosted the participants and delegations from 16 countries, who will show us 27 airplanes and helicopters, making the event more meaningful and interesting as President Nikolic stressed, adding that in this way our international defense cooperation will be enriched and strengthened.
The President recalled that the first air shows had been held in France in 1909 and as early as the following year several thousands citizens of Belgrade had the opportunity to see Rudolf Simon and Boris Maslenikov flying at Batajnica air port.
- As early as 25th March 1927 , as part of the opening ceremony of the military-civilian airport built under Bezanijska kosa, there was the first big demonstration of flying with the most modern fighter aircrafts of the time, who flew over the city and the river Sava, performing stunts in front of numerous national and international audience - the president said, adding the first international air show in Belgrade, was held on 5 June 1938 in the first international aviation exhibition.
According to him, our aerospace and aviation industry were on the rise then, so the show presented air crafts from different foreign companies, as well as representatives from Germany, France, England, USA, Italy, Czechoslovakia and Poland.
- Since the end of World War II until today, there have been several displays of flying and air shows, much to the delight of the audience. Today, local and foreign pilots demonstrate their skills in flying modern military, transportation and sport aircrafts. A large number of journalists will report about the air show in homes around the world. This is the image we want to send the world, the picture of a friendly, benevolent and hospitable country, a warm host whose doors are always open for friends - said the president, adding that the spirit of peace, friendship and hospitality is woven into the air we breathe and in the skies above us.
At the Batajnica air port this occasion, he said, and are exposed to modern technical achievements airline industry.
- I am pleased that a large number of civilian aviation organizations decided to show their love of aviation and their aviation skills. The best proof of this is the school for training airplane pilots'' swallow'', which is already being produced, both for our needs and for foreign markets.
The President noted the importance of the development of the aviation industry, which is growing, given the plans to modernize the Air Force and Air Defense Army of Serbia, primarily multi-purpose fighter aircrafts, and other equipment to raise the level of operational capability of this branch of our armed forces.
What makes a serious state, as president Nikolic said, led by wise and responsible statesmen, is for vital institutions to recognize the new spirit of the times and adopt scientific, technical, technological, cultural and many other changes for the benefit of all citizens. The command of the Air Force came only nine years after the first, fateful flight the Wright brothers.
- This means that Serbia was a modern and a serious state then, ready to accept all the changes, and able to actively participate in them; a country that guided their capacity to achieve their goals and build their future. I do not see any reason that Serbia is such today, Nikolic said.
President gave special recognition to the Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Army Serbian as organizers of this great event, and stressed that the officers and soldiers of our army once again confirm that rightly enjoy public’s confidence.
Serbian soldiers have always seen their fatherland as sacred. This was the case during the past centuries, ands this is the case today, and I am sure will be in the years to come. By following current trends, the Serbian Army, as a modern armed force, is constantly developing its operational and functional capabilities, to always be ready to carry out its mission, in terms of new security challenges and risks.
Our vision is to have an efficient, modern and operational Air Force relying on indestructible air defense, Nikolic said.
- Training and knowledge of our airmen are our priority, and merits must be awarded on to the maximum to raise the motivation of those who defend our homeland. I expect that the Serbian government within available funds will invest maximum efforts to revitalize the military facilities and assets, to update resources and equipment, ensure and improve the financial situation of the Army. Only someone with a brave heart can successfully fly a plane, as Tomislav Nikolic remarked.
General Zivak welcomed the participants on behalf of all members of the Air Force of the Army of Serbia.
Few generations have the privilege to organize a centenary celebration. It is a great honor and at least a twofold duty. First, we have the obligation towards many generations of airmen who incorporated their youth, love, knowledge, and life in the development of the Serbian military aviation, and some of them even laid their lives. Secondly, it is a promise for the future and obligations for younger generations of airmen who will continue to build our air force, said General Zivak emphasizing the commitment of everyone involved to mark this important jubilee with events of different character, and 2012 will be the year of the Serbian military aviation.
Summing up his impressions after today's air show, Minister Vucic said that today was a an aviation jubilee which achieved a remarkable success, there was not a single incident, with this the aviation festival bringing together the largest number of people so far. The minister once again thanked all the participants "Batajnica 2012".
We managed to attract a huge number of people who brought their children, and who were interested in not only seeing the planes, but also the results of our work. I would like to thank all the pilots and the Army of Serbia which have shown the knowledge and skill, but also excellent organization - said the defense minister, adding that today's meeting was also an opportunity for the promotion of domestic production program, from our aircraft "Lasta” and stressed many foreign companies have showed interest in visiting the factory "Utva" and buying our products.
Commander of the 204th Aviation Brigade and head of "Batajnica 2012 air show," Brigadier General Predrag Bandic said that this year's air show has been a major success, as the number of visitors has exceeded the number of visitors from the previous 2009 air show.
- Everything is going according to plan, we received many compliments for the organization, according to my information, we have sold 30,460 tickets. At one point the gates were too narrow to accommodate visitors arriving, but other than that there were no other incidents or problems - said the General Mayor.
Lieutenant Colonel Predrag Nikolic, commander of the 714th antitank helicopter squadron "Shadows” from Ladjevci airport near Kraljevo, said that he was honored to be part of the air show marking the century Serbian military aviation.
- Members of our unit have shown the maneuverability of helicopters for general purpose "Gazelle" and "Gamma". Despite high temperatures, we were able to show the viewers knowledge and skills, and when you know that the temperature in the helicopter cockpit is 63 degrees Fahrenheit, you realize that it is not an easy job - said Lt. Col. Nikolic.
Major Omer Mehic, deputy commander of "Pegasus" in 890th mixed helicopter squadron, serves as the assistant commander for transport, search and rescue.
- We are very proud to be participating in the air show. We have demonstrated the ability of helicopters Mi-18 "- Major Mehic said, singling out the acrobatics of transport aircrafts “Spartan" as the highlight of the program. – Perfectly performed programme and the formation is what has been most interesting- Major Mehic said.
The appearance of Russian acrobatic-groups "strizi" and, according to group leader Colonel Sergei Isjajkin their job is to constantly be in "top form".
- It is a great honor to participate in your holiday and we are very pleased that we are here. We particularly liked the program that you prepared - Colonel Isjajkin said, after meeting with President Nikolic and Minister Vucic.
Major Lucca Campanella, pilot of the Italian "Eurofighter", believes that the audience enjoyed the performance, just as he enjoyed performing maneuvers for them.
-Our job is very demanding, risky maneuvers require high concentration, so you can enjoy the reaction of the audience for just a few minutes of flight. After that all we can think of is our next maneuver.
-Stanislav Gorbunov, test pilot for MiG company, is happy that he is back in Serbia and at the airport Batajnica.
- We have a new plane and I'm happy to introduce it. We are pleased with the audience’s reaction and how we were greeted. The characteristics of the new aircraft are speed, higher altitudes, and it is more powerful. I carried out a pilot’s demonstration and we have shown that the elements for an audience utmost satisfaction.
Peter Wallin from the Danish Air Force flew an F-16. He praised the air show the crowd and the weather. Although he Danish crew had been commended at the previous air show commended, he says that the Danes were better today. He described the atmosphere in the cabin.
-It is quite fresh in the cockpit, but it feels as if it is warmer than 40 C, because the flight is tiring. Anyway, it took us a few weeks to prepare for the performance. In preparation we had normal breakfast but drank plenty of fluids – the Danish pilot said, praising the Serbian pilots and their current program.
Test pilot, squadron commander for flight testing at the Center for flight tests Technical Test Center, Lieutenant Colonel Miodrag Ristic flew on a plane, "J-22 Eagle."
- I have been appearing on air shows since 2004 and this is the second time to be performing in front of our audience. It is a great pleasure to present myself at an international aero-rally. I am satisfied with my performance, which looked exactly as I wanted. I hope you also enjoyed the program, because our audience response and applause after the show means a lot - said Lt. Col. Ristic and explained that he needed extreme concentration for all parts of his performance.
The program of the air show was enriched with the exhibition of air equipment, which is organized in the airports’ hangar. At this most visited site, Military Technical Institute and "Yugoimport-SDPR", which appeared as an integrator performs the domestic defense industry were the main exhibitors.
The technical Institute presented, among others, two unmanned aircrafts –a tactical unmanned air craft "Pegasus" and a tactical unmanned short-haul air craft "Vracabc", whose three pieces were recently submitted to the Technical Testing Center for final testing.
At the "Jugoimport SDPR" stand the attention of visitors was drawn to a new school- turbine aircraft " Kobac” and modernized cockpit of the Mi-17 with elements of attack-navigation system and new weapons systems. Pancevo based airline industry "Utva," also showed its products at "Jugoimport" stand- the plane "Lasta".
Furthermore, the presentation of firms EdePro, then "Sanda CORPICO" with pilot boots "Tiger" with air craft fuel tanks for G-4 and the "Orao fighter planes," were also notable and the attention of visitors was also drawn by such companies as "Prva petoletka", "Teleoptik-gyroscopes" , "Sky" - a company for the manufacture of parachutes "," Pneumatic Flax "," Orao"," Zastava oruzje "and others, all under the organization of Jugoimport.
The Air Force Institute "Moma Stanojlovic" Technical Repair Bureau in Kragujevac and technology "Mile Dragic Production" also had a chance to present their products.
Colonel Zoran Rajic, director of the Military Technical Institute, points out that these events have a positive impact on the popularization of aviation in Serbia as a large number of people have the opportunity to learn from international and domestic developments in the field. - That is, it potentially one of the reasons why people are interested in aviation in any way - whether they are educated in the field of aviation, engineering, in the flight area. As regards the Military Technical Institute, these events are useful because they will surely induce a number of young people who came, saw planes and this sophisticated technology, to decide to devote their life to aerospace and aviation technology.
In addition to companies from Serbia, an exhibition of modern aviation technology and companies featured companies from France, Germany and Spain, and are enjoying a break in the aviation stunts in the skies over the Batajnica airport and adrenaline fans could see the energy and the latest achievements of modern aviation technology.
The greatest attention of Belgrade citizens and their guests today was drawn to the "Eurofighter Typhoon", an effective multi-purpose aircraft, which has already seen action in global peacekeeping operations. Many visitors visited the stall and MBDA, a French manufacturer of air defnse and antitank missiles, rocket launchers and vehicles.
Among the visitors of the aviation technology was Vladimir Mircevski who was thrilled and said - "Eurofighter" and F-16 are good, but it seems to me that the MiG is still a class above. Otherwise, I am delighted with what I have seen. I did not believe that the Army of Serbia, and Serbia as a country had the power to organize something like this. This is fascinating!
The static part of the air show attracted the attention of visitors, and many visitors gathered around the most interesting model airplanes and helicopters. They asked many questions about the technical characteristics of the aircraft and other equipment but you could also hear the gasps of those who delight in the stunts of the heroes of blue skies.
There were longlines in front of the U.S. aircraft KC-tanks - 135 "Stratotanker" and the Turkish Air Force military transporter "transal" C – 160. Many would like to enter the cockpit in and see for yourself the comfort of these powerful aircraft.
- Well, this a real beauty as one visitor, apparently alluding to their size said . - They're pretty when they fly, and leave us breathless, but they are also magical here, all bathed in the sun and polished - says a retired pilot from Belgrade Milan Rakovic, who on the occasion of the centenary brought his 6-year old grandson Uros. He has always wanted to touch the planes, of which his grandfather was talking about. Now he has the opportunity to do so and is delighted about that. And when the flying part of the programme starts…oh, joy
A graduated engineer from Belgrade Rasko Andrejic says - I watch "Eurofighter" and the upgraded "MIG 29", and I really do not know which to choose from these two powerful and dangerous planes, if it were up to me to decide.
- And look at this wonder of this technology, an American helicopter "C - 70 Black Hawk," whose picture I cut out of newspapers and printed from the Internet, on the black and white printer! It's great that they are now in front of us, and we have the opportunity to take photos of them, and even enter some of them- Andrejic said, a big fan of aviation.
- Romania's "Puma" is interesting because it is produced under the license in Romania and modified. The "Puma" version is one of the most capable in the world in that category. Some versions can even carry weapons, which is interesting because it is the primary transport helicopter - as Peter Vojinovic, a journalist gives his impressions.
11-year old twins Lazar and Nikola Paunovic came to the air show with their father Bojan. The planes left them breathless, because as Lazar says – they are better than a video game. Nichola only had problems with the sun being so bright, but noted that it is better to have a clear day because of the pilots.
For the second time Jovan Vukalinovic has come to the air show. This year he liked it more, because the program is diverse, both in the heavens and on earth. His mother Dragana complained about the crowd when purchasing a ticket, but, on the other hand, but was satisfied with the large number of visitors.
Goran Bogdanovic came to the air show with two daughters. Both were thrilled. Younger Natalia posed by helicopters, and Milica, the older one, said she liked everything, which is logical since she has graduated from the Air Force Academy.
Tradition of air shows in Serbia is more than a century old, and with the air show in 2009, our country has so far held a dozen major flight events of national and international importance. The first show pilot skill in Serbia was organized at the end of the 1910 when several thousands of Belgrade had the opportunity to observe pilots Rudolph Simon and Boris Maslenikov at Batajnica air port. It was the prelude to a series of future aviation events in the Serbian capital, and the first major display of flying over Belgrade performed was performed by pilots of 25 fighter aircrafts devoatin D-27 in 1927 on the occasion of the opening of the airport below Bezanijska kosa.