Latest Articles Appearing On Classic Warbirds..

Allisons, Wrights, Packards and Pratts, A Quick Freedom Tour Stop by the Collings Foundation at Worcester

DSC_4537a

The Collings Foundation's Freedom Tour, a travelling band of World War II warbirds, made a stop in Worcester, Massachusetts recently.  Included in the tour was their B-24 Liberator "Witchcraft", the TF-51 "Toulouse Nuts", and the B-25 Mitchell "Tondelayo". The Foundation's B-17 Flying Fortress "Nine-O-Nine" couldn't make the trip, as it was having an engine changed in Burlington VT.

DSC_4547a

What was a special treat for many warbird lovers was that the Foundation has a hangar at Worcester, and a quintet of seldom-seen or relatively inactive aircraft joined the Tour's stop. The A-36 Apache "Baby Carmen", the P-40B Tomahawk "284", the F4U-5NL Corsair "NP-5" Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX  "BR601" , and A-1E Skyraider " GD-700" were arrayed on the static line too!

DSC_4576a

Although the day was rather gloomy, hundreds of people showed up on Sunday to watch the B-25 and TF-51 take passengers on their once-in-a-lifetime flying experiences, or just crawl through the bombers.

DSC_4585a

Here's some history about the assembled aircraft for you, there was quite an assortment of engines to hear and see....  Both the A-36 and P-40 are powered by Allison V-1710 engines, actually the same model, but different versions with different horsepower output. The Curtiss Tomahawk has a -33 engine while the North American Apache uses a later -87 engine version. The TF-51 was powered by a Rolls Royce/Packard Merlin V-1650. Of course, the Spitfire is powered by a Rolls Royce Merlin, the forerunner of the licence built Packard Merlin found in later Mustangs.

DSC_4596a

The B-24 was powered by Pratt and Whitney R-1830s, the B-25 by Wright 2600s, the Corsair by a Pratt and Whitney R-2800, the Skyraider by a Wright R-3350.

 

Mid-Atlantic Air Museum’s 28th Annual World War II Weekend Scrapbook

zz48

Reading PA's Mid-Atlantic Air Museum boasts over ninety aircraft and replica aircraft from the past 100 years.  Most of these are civilian aircraft, but a lot of the attention surrounding the Museum focuses on their annual World War II weekend, with its gathering of warbirds and re-enactors. Mike Colaner attended the 2018 show, which was the 28th annual event. Here are some photos of the great aircraft that were in attendance, captured by the keen eye of Mike!

Warbirds and Historic Aviation Anniversaries Displayed at Airshow London, 2018

luqe8

Despite being hosted at one of the busiest civil airports in the province of Ontario, and among the top 20 busiest by passenger volume in Canada, Airshow London 2018 featured a minimal amount of flying civil acts, with US and Canadian military stealing the show in a big way!

The show was filled with aviation photography highlights, and stiff breezes combined with unseasonably low temperatures that had all but the heartiest Canadians reaching for sweatshirts Saturday and Sunday. The show focused heavily on the partnership between the US and Canadian militaries, a fitting theme given that 2018 is the 60th anniversary of NORAD. A tribute to the air defense partnership was emblazoned on the wings of this year’s CF-18 demo jet, continuing a tradition of beautiful paint jobs on Canada’s most famous Hornet each and every airshow season!

In addition to hometown aerobatic performers Pete McLeod and Mike Tryggvason, the show was headlined by the legendary Canadian Forces Snowbirds, with additional jet noise coming from the CF-18 Demo Team and the Viper Demo Team. Also flying in the show were a mix of CF-18 and F/A-18E Hornets, A-10Cs, an F-22, C-130s from the US and Canada, an F-86, and a T-33 painted up as Canada’s Red Knight from the hometown Jet Aircraft Museum making its airshow debut! On top of all the aircraft, jumpers from the USSOCOM parachute team joined the Canadian Skyhawks under canopy in the skies over London International Airport.

As CYXU is a facility with schedule passenger service it did not close for the show. Over half a million airline customers pass through the airport each year, and their timely arrivals and departures remain important despite the ramp full of show planes waiting to take to the skies. It was a treat to hear the air boss and control tower working together to deconflict the airspace as performers, air ambulance helicopters from ORNGE, airline traffic, and civil aircraft that happened to be in the area mixed it up in the skies over Southwestern Ontario.

In a bit of a change from more traditional airshows stateside, London expands their performer lineup by sending up visiting aircraft to do normal training missions and entertain the crowd with some spirited pattern work upon their return. This year’s show featured this sort of “demo” by the Selfridge A-10s, a flight of Canadian and American Hornets, and even one of the F-22s from Tyndall! While low approaches don’t quite have the same impact and wow-factor to the crowd as a full demo, a series of low approaches, particularly with a nice background of trees, is a great way for photographers to experiment with panning and get the jetwash involved in the image in a way that’s often more difficult with normal demonstrations.

Arrival and practice day Friday was a real treat for the assembled photographers. The first major move was a takeoff by a flight of four Hornets, a mix of CF-18s and an F/A-18E from VFA-143. The flight launched with burners lit for ACM training away from the field. Their return was the stuff aviation photography dreams were made of, with a series of low approaches that ended with aggressive overhead breaks at various points on the runway. On a show day with a waiver in effect it’s all but unheard of to have breaks directly over people, and being able to see things at such a close distance was a memorable experience. The Hornets were closely trailed by the F-35C from VFA-101 in one of the first airshow appearances of the Navy variant of the F-35.

As Friday afternoon progressed, Rain took the F-16 up for a practice run, followed by Porcelain in the CF-18. Seeing demos from the two most prolific frontline western fighters back to back was an outstanding opportunity to compare the relative strengths and weaknesses of the jets. While Porcelain’s jet certainly won the beauty prize, sound of freedom award, and the angle-of-attack trophy, Rain made use of the Viper’s superior maneuverability to wow the crowd, and he was just warming up!

Copy of lf32

Jets of a different vintage followed the tactical demonstrations, first with Paul Keepler’s F-86. The beautifully restored and immaculately polished Sabre is a joy to see fly, as Paul puts it through a graceful series of figures that show off the dawn of the jet age. One interesting thing to look for during the demo is the deployment of the leading edge slats during certain maneuvers. The slats are held in place by aerodynamic forces for the majority of the flight, with certain high alpha maneuvers and slower speeds allowing them to pop out. As they’re deployed by aerodynamics as opposed to actuators, asymmetrical deployments are possible, as was the case at the top of one of the loops. What initially looked like a minor stall as the aircraft reached the apex of the maneuver actually was a brief period of a single slat deployment. Paul’s Mig Alley Airshows teammate Jeff Kaney was in town with a rare F-5A, but rumor has it he grounded with an illness and the sleek jet remained on the ground all weekend. As of this writing the F-5 is still believed to be at London International over a week after the show. We wish Jeff a speedy recovery!

Sticking with the older jet theme, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds went up for their Friday practice run next. The Snowbirds are a common sight at airshows in the US and Canada, and are always a crowd favorite. Their mix of tight formations and heart stopping crossing maneuvers echo those of the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds, but with 9 jets there’s a lot more variety of formations and formation changes. The lighthearted approach by their announcer is always appreciated, with quips about the weather and some jokes at the pilot’s expense being interwoven into the informative commentary, particularly later in the weekend with high temperatures in the 50s! Friday’s show provided an opportunity for the Snowbirds to share their mission with some of their friends from the States, as Viper Demo Pilot John “Rain” Waters as well as his safety pilot, and next year’s demo pilot Zoe “Sis” Kotnik all got to fly with the Snowbirds. It’s great to see the second seat of the CT-114s being utilized more that I recall in past seasons!

Following the Snowbirds, a brief lull in the action allowed time for the media and photo pit photographers to take a rest as the public was admitted to the grounds for the conclusion of Friday’s flying. The “Hour of Power” is a Friday night tradition at Airshow London, and can best be described as part arrivals/pattern work and part twilight airshow. The 2018 edition featured arrivals by a pair of Tyndall-based F-22s, a P-8, F-15s from Seymour Johnson, and A-10s from Selfridge ANGB, just a short trip away in Michigan prior to the performances. The Snowbirds put on an abbreviated demonstration in the waning light, with hints of golden sunshine occasionally breaking through the clouds to really light up the red and white Tutors.

Copy of ls93

MAJ Waters took the F-16 up after the Snowbirds cleared the runway and flew his high energy demonstration for the second time of the day. While Rain’s demo is generally well flown, aggressive, and photographer friendly, the added visual of a cone of plasma shooting out the back of his General Electric F110 powered F-16 brought it to the next level! As is often the case at airshows, following the Viper Demo maneuvers, the F-16 joined up on the wing of a piece of Air Force history. In London the Heritage Flight was led by Greg Anders in the TF-51D “Bum Steer”. Much like the F-16 Demo, the Heritage Flight had a bit of a unique vibe to it with the golden twilight skies behind decades of USAF history.

The Hour of Power was closed out nearly three hours after the gates opened to the public by Porcelain in the CF-18. Taking off just minutes before dusk, the CF-18 lit up the skies trailing twin cones of fire from the F404 engines as Captain Porteous strutted his stuff in the beautifully painted NORAD 60 jet. The aircraft livery features a blue and white ribbon motif on the top surfaces dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the partnership between the United States and Canada providing for the common air defense of North America and of course tracking Santa each and every Christmas Eve! The flying portion of the CF-18’s demo concluded after joining up for a Canadian Heritage Flight, as the CF-18 joined the CT-133 Shooting Star “Red Knight” for a series of formation passes similar to the USAF Heritage Flight and USN Tailhook Legacy Flight programs. Following the pitch up break from both aircraft, and the safe landing of the London-Based red T-33, CAPT Porteous closed out the show in style, with a blue-hour landing on London’s Runway 15 with the tailhook down, creating a trail of sparks until snagging the arresting gear in place on the runway. To say the Hour of Power was an excellent addition to an already solid show is an understatement, and all the aviation photographers can certainly agree that the opportunity to get some quality afterburner shots in low light is always a welcome occurrence.

Copy of ls54

Saturday and Sunday’s shows more or less mirrored what was seen on Friday, but with increasingly stiff winds, thicker cloud cover, and lower temperatures as the weekend went on. The winds were so high that the P-51 was grounded on Sunday and the paratroopers did not leave the jump plane.

The flying portion of the show was kicked off both weekend days by some of the pattern work flying from operational units. Saturday featured the Selfridge A-10s en-route to a flyover at Michigan Stadium, and Sunday featured the departure of the Hornets with a series of impressive afterburner takeoffs.

On the civilian side of the show Mike Tryggvason took the early performance slot in his yellow and purple Giles G202. The Giles differs from many other monowing aerobatic machines in that the leading edge of the wing is swept with a straight trailing edge. The aircraft is constructed of composites and seats two in tandem under a bubble canopy. While it has been eclipsed by the latest offerings from Extra and MX Aircraft, the Giles remains a potent unlimited category aerobatic bird. In the capable hands of Ontario’s own Mike Tryggvason, this particular G202 is put through a sequence of maneuvers similar to what one would expect to see in a high level aerobatic competition. While the maneuver doesn’t look impressive to the uninitiated, Mike’s performance of a flat 360 degree turn while aileron rolling the plane is an incredible display of stick and rudder skills and coordination. When he’s not moonlighting as an aerobatic pilot, Mike flies the Airbus A320 for Air Canada.

Following the Giles, the P-51 departed for a holding pattern while Rain took the Viper up. The F-16 rejoined with the Mustang for the Heritage flight on Saturday as planned and put on a show. The taller tail of the TF-51D was certainly a different look than the original airframe. I can’t say enough about how great it was to see the F-16 and CF-18 Demos at the same show, with two of the finest single ship performances in North America being able to strut their stuff for the London crowd. The noise and looks of the Hornet are a great compliment to the maneuverability and vapor brought to show center by MAJ Waters in the F-16 not to mention both jets flew a Heritage profile with a historical aircraft from a bygone era! The author’s Garmin Virb Ultra 30 took a ride with Rain in the Viper on Saturday to capture a view of the demo that’s a bit more exclusive than most airshow coverage.

A Royal Canadian Air Force CC-130 was next on the performance slate, giving the assembled crowd a chance to catch a glimpse of the backbone of Canada’s airlift fleet. The Herk’s crew flew a series of passes including a high speed, high bank angle, and slow speed with the ramp open. As the venerable airlifter passed show center on the slow speed pass it seemed there were boots hanging out the back, which was confirmed upon zooming in. Three of the aircrew made the most of the opportunity with the best seat in the house with the yawning opening in the back of the aircraft in full flight gear, including HGU-56 helmets!

DSC_3913

The graceful jet aerobatics of Paul Keepler’s F-86 followed the Hercules. Despite the clouds, the F-86 was shining bright in the skies over London as Paul showed the audience just what a 60+ year old jet can do in skilled hands and with proper energy managment. This particular F-86, N50CJ, was built in Canada as a Mk6 Sabre and served in the South African Air Force prior to becoming a target tug and later a privately owned warbird.

Later in the show, hometown Red Bull Air Race star Pete McLeod took to the skies. After years of performing airshows in an Edge 540, Pete now flies the Extra 330LX. His new aircraft, N26AM, was the #2 Red Bull Air Race Challenger Class aircraft the past two seasons and still retains much of that livery. In stark contrast with the grace of the Sabre, Pete’s flights in the Extra were an outstanding display of precise unlimited aerobatic flying as the blue and silver monoplane violently tumbled and rolled through the show box. It’s always a treat for a performer to strut their stuff at their home show, particularly when they’re playing with a brand new toy! Despite stiff, on-crowd crosswinds, both Pete and Mike’s routines stayed right on the prescribed showline with the expert aviators compensating perfectly for the trying conditions on Saturday and Sunday.

More hometown heros took off next, with the Snowbirds heading up for their demonstration. Wowing the crowd with their massive array of signature formations and opposing passes, the Snowbirds fought the gusty conditions to put on an outstanding demo. The Tutors were getting bounced around so bad during Sunday’s demo that a few maneuvers were simplified or removed, and CAPT Greg Hume-Powell, Snowbird 8, expressed after the flight that he wished he had a mouthguard in to minimize the effect of the turbulence on his jaw! It’s not every day you hear a jet team solo longing to wear a piece of hockey equipment in their jet, but then again it’s not every day that airshows are visited by gusts in excess of 30 knots!

Saturday’s Snowbirds demo was followed by a series of jumps by the SOCOM Paracommandos and Canadian Forces Skyhawks. Saturday’s jump represented the first time the Paracommandos jumped with an international team in an airshow. The transition from vintage jet to skydivers and back to a classic jet (a solo demo by the Red Knight) was seamless, owing to the scheduling prowess of the London Airshow team.

CT-133_C-FUPP_CYXU_20180907_KenMiddleton_4x6_web_DSC_8591_PR

The show had been meant to close with Porcelain’s CF-18 demo, and indeed he flew in the final moments of the waivered airspace for the show. It was fitting for one of the biggest airshows in Canada to be finished by one of the most iconic elements of Canadian aviation in the specially painted demo CF-18 along with the heritage flight where the Red Knight joined up with the NORAD 60 Hornet. Saturday’s show was extended for just a few minutes for a few high speed passes, low approaches, and an unrestricted climb from one of the F-22s to close out the day’s flying program.

A little-known highlight of the show was the flight time granted to “Katie’s Bears”, an Airshow London T-Shirt clad teddy bear that took to the skies with the performers both military and civilian. The bear was named in memory of Kaitlin Vanderhoek, the late daughter of the Airshow London Director of Flight Operations Gerry Vanderhoek. Kaitlin was an aviation and airshow fan. In addition to 350 bears being distributed to children attending the airshow in a special VIP area, 30 of the bears took to the skies with performers and will be spending considerable time aloft as they travel from show to show gaining flight time and fame in hopes of inspiring children fighting medical issues that the sky is not the limit! You can follow their journey at https://airshowlondon.com/katiesbear/!

The author would like to thank the entire CivilAviationWorld/ClassicWarbirds/PhotoRecon team for a warm welcome as well as the show organizers for putting on an amazing event. Additional appreciation is owed to the Viper Demo Team for taking a video camera along for a ride and to Nikon Canada for providing top of the line loner gear that helped make some of the attached photographs possible! The Photo Gallery is filled with the Photorecon.net/ClassicWarbirds.net/CivilAviationWorld photo team’s photos… from Shawn Byers,  Ken Middleton, Mark Kolanowski and Ken Kula.

The Centennial of Poland’s Air Force Celebrated

pzl11c 3

The Second Republic of Poland was founded in 1918, after the end of the First World War. Except for the few years’ interruption during the Second World War, the Republic of Poland has since stood sovereign, though with different forms of government over the decades. That makes 2018 the 100th anniversary of this Republic’s founding, and cause for celebrations. As the Republic was formed, so was its Air Force too, and aviation presented a grand birthday party with plenty of hometown flying, plus heavy foreign participation in a salute to a century of service. The military airfield in Radom, Poland – almost 100 kilometers south of Warsaw, was the venue for this two day event. The Radom-Sadkow airport is a training base for the most part, but recently has become the home to a biennial air show that attracts dozens of military aircraft from Europe and beyond. Normally held during odd years, the anniversary celebration warrented the rare even-year’s presentation.

Ten hours of non-stop flying activity was planned for each day, stretching from 9:00AM through 7:00PM. Unfortunately, weather conditions rained on this parade and some scheduled flying was curtailed, but the majority of the planned pageantry alighted. Here are some of the highlights of the event in Poland, plus a bit of history and current affairs of the Polish Air Force… I was able to observe the practice shows on Friday (in fine weather) and during Saturday’s rain shower-effected display.

A Very Brief History When the Republic of Poland gained its independence at the end of World War I, mainly German-designed aircraft were operated after being abandoned in the lands that made up Poland. Conflicts with Ukraine and Russia followed immediately after the end of the Great War; history notes that the first combat sortie of the new Air Force occurred on November 5, 1918 – two days after the Austro-Hungarian Armistice was agreed upon and before the official end of World War I. A bit later, during the early 1920s German, French and British models of fighting and scouting aircraft were employed.

French-built aircraft were the choice during the decade between the mid-1920s through the mid-1930s, after which Poland’s aeronautical design and manufacturing industries began to produce their own Air Force aircraft. Fighters such as the Pulawski PZL P.7 and P.11 were operational by 1935, but they and most of the other aircraft in the Air Force were outmoded when Germany invaded their country in 1939. Still, the Poles shot down an estimated 150 German raiders before being overwhelmed, many pilots and air crew escaped, and arrived in France to fight until that country too was enveloped by the German advances. At least five fully Polish combat squadrons were operational in Britain’s Royal Air Force in World War II, including the heralded 303 Squadron, whose fighters fought during the Battle of Britain.

After the war, Poland became part of the Soviet Union, and operated Russian-designed aircraft, although the design and production capabilities of Poland’s aviation sector produced some home-grown designs like the TS-11 Iskra jet trainer. MiG fighters were produced under license and known with the designation as “Lim” aircraft: a Lim-6 is the Polish equivalent of the MiG-17. The PZL-130 Orlik turboprop trainer is another example of a locally-developed and produced military aircraft.

By 1991, the Third Polish Republic had been born out of the transition to democracy, and soon thereafter Poland would become a NATO member. Today, this transition to “Western” and NATO aircraft sees Lockheed Martin F-16s and C-130s in the Air Force, as well as VIP versions of the Gulfstream V and Boeing BBJ. MiG-29, Su-22 and various helicopters are still in operation from the USSR period of alignment too. Interestingly enough, the newest jet trainer in the Polish forces is the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master, produced in Italy but developed originally as the Russian designed Yak-130.

The Air Show Military and civilian aerobatic teams flocked to the venue… military flight demo teams included the Switzerland’s Patrouille Suisse (F-5 fighters), Italy’s Frecci Tricolori (MB-339 trainers), Finland’s Midnight Hawks (Hawk trainers), Spain’s Patrulla Aguilla (CASA 101 jet trainers), Croatia’s Wings of Storm (PC-9 trainers), plus Poland’s Orlik Aerobatic Team (PZL-130 Orlik turboprop trainers) and Team Iskry (TS-11 jet trainers). A pair of Czech Air Force helicopters – a Mi-35 and a Mi-171 joined to present an interesting Combat Search and Rescue demonstration (the Mi-35 would do double duty with an aerobatic display all of its own too).

Civil teams included Jordan’s Royal Jordanian Falcons (Extra 330 aerobatic planes), the Latvian Baltic Bees civil jet team (L-39 Albatross trainers), the Cellfast Flying Team with a trio of SOCATA Rallye prop planes, plus a trio of locally designed AT-3 sport planes led by an Antonov AN-2 biplane. The Flying Bulls – the Red Bull warbird formation - contained an F-4U-4 Corsair, a pair of Dornier/ Alphajets and a North American B-25 polished bright silver, along with a solo T-28 trainer. A five-ship formation made up of a pair of civilian-operated World War II-era North American Harvards and three Polish Air Force PZL-130s presented a formation routine too.

Solo performers included the Red Bull Bo-105 helicopter, an Austrian Air Force Saab 105 jet trainer, a trio of foreign F-16 fighter solo demo teams (Belgium, Greece and Turkey), a Ukrainian Air Force SU-27 fighter, a Czech Air Force JAS-39 Gripen fighter, two Eurofighter demos (RAF and Germany), a privately operated TS-11 Iskra, Artur Kielak in his XA-41 acrobatic plane, and a Pakistani JF-17 jet fighter.

There were a handful of flypasts, including a quartet of new M-346 jet trainers, a NATO E-3A AWACS, and a special tribute to the 100th anniversary – a new LOT Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX airliner leading the six TS-11 Iskrys; the Boeing returned to make a second pass waving its wings as it passed by.

While not on the flying display, the world’s only surviving PZL P.11c fighter – which was part of Poland’s Air Force before World War II, was displayed… its engine started and a short taxi of the aircraft to reposition it for an official ceremony was a highlight of the day on Saturday. Another rarity for Poland, a Pakistani Air Force Super Mushshak trainer was displayed on the grounds, it is a primary piston-powered trainer indigenously produced in that Asian country.

Lockheed Martin was heavily represented during the show, The Polish Air Force operates the F-16C/D Block 50 series Fighting Falcon as a jet fighter and interceptor; a mockup of the new Block 70 F-16 was displayed. The new version will carry a longer airframe life expectancy when compared to the recent Block 50/52 jets, plus avionics improvement such as an AESA radar and an auto GCAS (Ground Collision Avoidance System) for avoiding flight into terrain accidents. Poland also operates five C-130E Hercules transports which were retired from USAF service and immediately put through a Service Life Extension Program - in essence, an overhaul of the entire aircraft – before delivery to the Polish Air Force. Although not ordered yet, Lockheed Martin hopes that Poland will order C-130J/J-30 Super Hercules too, as their experience with the – E version was described as favorable by a company representative.

The static display held about two dozen aircraft ranging from military trainers to transports to fighters and helicopters too. Three VIP aircraft of the Polish Air Force, a Gulfstream V, a PZL W-3 and Mi-8 were displayed, and indigenously produced aircraft such as the M-28 light transport, W-3 helicopter and TS-11 Iskra were part of the static group too. C-27Js from Lithuania and Romania joined a Hungarian An-26 and an American Wyoming Air National Guard C-130H as transports on display. Fighter-bombers included a Ukrainian Su-25UB trainer and a Polish F-16, plus a brightly colored German Eurofighter too.

The Wyoming ANG C-130 had an interesting tale to tell, being a long way from home. At the U.S.’s only participant in the show, the transport and its crew, along with a Connecticut ANG C-130, were in Europe on temporary duty at Ramstein AFB serving in an aeromedical role. When the crew saw the schedule of duties it would undertake during their month-long European deployment, sure enough, there was an air show weekend on their schedule!

A small collection of civil aircraft were presented, from light aircraft and helicopters to balloons. Manufacturers were present too, showing off aircraft; museums presented information about their collections, and LOT – the Polish national airline, offered a look into flying and ground-based employment opportunities.

There were many military aircraft with special color schemes on their airframes, ranging from the Royal Air Force’s own 100th Anniversary scheme on their Typhoon fighter, to the aforementioned German Eurofighter in “Ghost Tiger” colors. The Czech Air Force’s Gripen had their own colorful 100th anniversary scheme on their tail too, and the Italian Frecce Tricolori jets displayed small decals of the three aircraft types the team has flown since their formation in 1961.

An opening ceremony was held to commemorate the anniversary, complete with band and honor guard. Flypasts took part during this presentation, although low cloud ceilings forced the cancellation of a parachute group. Later, rain and mist stopped the show for about an hour and a half, which allowed spectators to check out the static aircraft and have a meal from the many food stands on the infield.

This was not as much a demonstration of the Polish Air Force’s capabilities or equipment (although it was a good opportunity to see them) as much as it was a birthday celebration… and many of Poland’s neighbors were invited and took part in this important day’s aerial festivities. The Air Force’s century of service is something to be proud of, and was feted accordingly.