“Wings of Storm“ perform in NATO Days

The 19th NATO Days and the 9th Czech Air Force Days, with saw a first participation of the Republic of Croatia, took place in the "Leoš Janáček" Airport in Ostrava  from 13 - 17 September 2018

The 19th NATO Days and the 9th Czech Air Force Days, with saw a first participation of the Republic of Croatia, took place in the “Leoš Janáček” Airport in Ostrava  from 13 – 17 September 2018. In two performances the “Wings of Storm” Aerobatic Group showcased the flying skills of the Croatian Air Force’s pilots.

Unlike many events attended by the “Wings of Storm” that were focussed on aviation, NATO Days aims to cover a broader spectrum of defence and security capabilities.  Although aviation was at the forefront, given the attractive flying programme and of the venue, the 9-hour programme also featured a number of demonstrations in the ground ranges, including the capture of fugitives, protection of VIP convoys, rescue of hostages from the busses, protection from ambush, protection and defence of critical infrastructure, the dressage of horses,  demonstration fire extinguishing exercises and demonstration of the tank and armoured vehicles capabilities etc. NATO Days  is one of shows with most awards from the European Airshow Council, and it gathers many participants and spectators alike – the 2018 event gathered more than 100 military aircraft from 20 member nations and partner countries, and the two-day program was attended by more than 220,000 visitors. In  2014  the organisers introduced the concept of the Special Partner Nation practice, so Poland took part in in 2014, Sweden in 2015, Germany in 2016, Slovakia in 2017 and the United States in 2018.

The debut performance of the “Wings of Storm” and Croatia’s participation had been announced in the media , as had been the participation of the United States of America as partner country. The interview with the team leader of the  “Wings of Storm”  Captain Darko Belančić was broadcast in the national TV’s news programme . The Czech Republic and Hungary are the countries where the “Wings of Storm” have had most international performances (eight in total), taking part in the Czech International Air Fest), the CIAF 2012 and CIAF 2014 particularly memorable as the “Wings of Storm” won the best flying programme trophies. During the performance in CIAF 2012 a documentary “Flying over Croatia“, dedicated to the“Wings of Storm“ Aerobatic Group was filmed. Unlike the previous shows, the 2018 CIAF was held in favourable weather conditions allowing the performance of integral sequences. The most popular were the programmes of the “Team Iskry” of Poland and “Wings of Storm“ , and performances by demo pilots and fighter aircraft (French Rafale), Eurofighter Typhoon (the UK and Spain), F-16 (Denmark, Poland and Belgium), F/A-18 (Finland), and Swedish Gripen, Viggen and Draken.

The flying programme also featured a performance by a demo pilot of the Slovenian PC-9M, that also took part in the  Varaždin airshow. The award winner was the Czech demo pilot flying a Gripen, to honour the 100th anniversary of the Czech Air Force. Two Slovakian MiG-29 aircraft performed a flypast; s great eye-catcher were the theme flypast by all formerly and presently operated aircraft of the Czech Air Force (Historical Flypast) and Nordic Flypast, gathering the fighter aircraft of the Finnish, Swedish and the Danish air forces. The helicopter flight demonstrations (the Czech Mi-2, Mi-24/35, Enstrom 480 and W-3A and the German Lynx), took place in the early morning hours, preceding the formal opening ceremonies for each competition day. The noteworthy exposed aircraft included the U.S. strategic  bomber B-52, the C-17 transporter and the  KC-135 tanker. At NATO Days in Ostrava the “Wings of Storm“  performed the jubilary 50th international performance and concluded another very successful international season, during which they were sen by nearly half million spectators  (in Slovenia, Poland and the Czech Republic).