Bye bye "Mitch"...Welcome "Grat"...
Text & Pictures : Anthony Graulus  © sbap 2012
 
Malta-Luqa aerial view (Malta Tourism Office)

The Malta-Luqa Airport is located in the heart of the island more precisely eight kilometers from the Maltese capital Valletta. This great airport is the hub for the national airline company "Air Malta" which serves 36 destinations in Europe and North Africa. Each year the last week-end of September the airport authorities organize an International Airshow. I went to Malta for the first time, being a lover of exotic aircraft I was sure that I would be served like a king. Moreover, At the end of September weather conditions in Malta are excellent. I was able to cross the path of two Mirage F1 of the Libyan Air Force who had deserted their country at the beginning of the Libyan conflict in February 2011. The program of the Maltese airshow was really attractive with a great participation of Italian aircraft and the world famous Frecce Tricolori, which was obviously the highlight of the 2011 edition. Other aerobatic display was performed by the PC-7 Team of Swiss Air Force and their nine Pilatus aircraft. The rest of the program included the RAF Role Demo on their Tornado GR4, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Douglas DC-3 Dakota, an Italian Agusta-Bell AB-212AM SAR demo and of course the different planes of the Malta Armed Forces. The static display was very attractive, Americans flocked to present a Lockheed-Martin C-130J "Hercules" from (37th AS/86th AW) Ramstein airbase, a Lockheed P-3C “Orion” of the US Navy VP-5 who was active in Libya at this time, a Gates C-21A “Learjet” also from Ramstein airbase  and a Sikorsky MH-60S “Nighthawk” from the US Navy HSC-23. Otherwise, we  can underline the very first appearance in Malta of an PZL-Myelec M-28B1TD “Bryza” of the Polish Navy, four RAF Hawk T1, RAF Tucano 2, but especially the Libyan delegation came to present an Antonov AN-26 of the Lybian Air Force, an RJ-85 with Air Lybia markings and thanks to the Lybian delegation responsible, the allowance to present one of the Mirage F-1 on static display. What a surprise to see the F-1 on Saturday with the famous green roundel and on Sunday with the new Lybian design roundels...in fact a historic moment.

Friday September 23th, arrival day
English Electric Canberra T.4 remembering the RAF presence in Malta BAe Hawk T.1A from 100 Squadron
Canadair CL-600 from Vistajet Austria Battle of Britain Memorial Flight "Dakota"
Civilian traffic on this mix airport : Airbus A330 from Emirates A local Air Malta Airbus A319
Agusta-Westland AW-109N from Guardia de Finanza Agusta-Westland AW-139 from Guardia de Finanza
Saturday September 24th, Airshow
Aerospatial SA316B Alouette III from Malta Air Force BAe Hawk T.1 from 208 Squadron solo display
One of the defected Lybian Mirage F-1ED Certainly the highlight of Malta static display
Still wearing the Kadafy green roundels Beechcraft B200MPA of Malta Air Force
The Frecce Tricolori Aermacchi MB-339PAN Always a great spectacle, too rare in European airshow
The Swiss Pilatus PC-7 team In a new colour scheme applied on the tariner aircraft
Burst ! And perfect formation
RJ-85 Air Lybia Agusta-Bell AB-212AM SAR demo
Aerospatial SA316B Alouette III from Malta Air Force.... ...during their demonstration
Sunday September 25th, Airshow
Buldog T.1 from Malta Air Force Sikorsky MH-60S “Nighthawk” from the US Navy HSC-23
Aermacchi MB-339PAN Solo display RAF Tornado GR4 from 15 squadron
Monday September 26th, departure day
Suprise on Sunday, the Mirage F-1ED wearing the new Lybian roundels ! Lockheed P-3C “Orion” of the US Navy VP-5
Lockheed-Martin C-130J "Hercules" from 37th AS/86th AW Tucano T.1 from 1st TFS
Antonov AN-26 of the Lybian Air Force RJ-85 with Air Lybia markings
Gates C-21A “Learjet” Lockheed-Martin C-130J "Hercules" at take off back to Ramstein
Lockheed P-3C “Orion” departing Malta Beechcraft 1900D, the support aircraft of the PC-7 team
Another Hawk T.1A from 100 squadron at take off back to UK Frecce n°1 back to Rivolto
Tornado GR4 from 15 squadron Airbus A340-642 from Lufthansa, Malta is effectively an international place
Air Malta at take off from homebase DHC-8-402Q Dash 8. En route to be delivered to his Indian owner
Saab 340A from Bridges (Air Scorpio) Easy Jet, the well known european charter company
A last view on the civilian apron with a great diversity of aircraft...

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