Air Show Report : Bodø Air Show 2012
In 2012 the Royal Norwegian Air Force organized several events for the 1912-2012 centenary of military aviation in Norway, including the Bodø Air Show in mid-June.
Helmut Richter contributed his trip report with photos of the arrival day and airshow.
Bodø Air Show : 100 Years of Norwegian military aviation
The 100 year anniversary of Norwegian military aviation brought forward a range of attractive events. The Bodø Air Show on 16 and 17 June 2012 was supposed to be the biggest ever airshow in the north of Norway. When I decided to go there with the perspective of at least a good coverage of Norwegian military flying equipment, I was aware that this was a bit of a gamble.
The more certain elements included a quite high cost for the trip and that the showground itself would be on the north side of the runway with less than optimum conditions for photography. The additional risks included the unstable weather conditions north of the Arctic Circle in general and for the arrival day in particular, which I had included in my travel plans. Because of the very limited accessibility of Bodø airport for photography from the outside, I had to rely on westerly winds for the arrival day and on some luck to find a good place for approach photography in the difficult terrain south oft the eastern approach.
The arrival day actually started with clear sky and westerly winds. The first disappointment about the territory south of the eastern approach went away when the small group of "early birds" climbed into the hills to find that the hilltop had been cut free from trees and that remnants from German concrete fortifications from the Second World War were available to find suitable positions for a day with perfect photo conditions.
Of the many aircraft coming in that day, quite a few would not be seen anymore during the show as they remained hidden in the southern dispersal area, presumably because the static show area was pretty limited. These included all three Swedish SK 60 trainers and one of the two RAF Typhoons, two of the three Swedish Gripens and both of the Finnish F-18 Hornets of which one was supposed to display during the show. Other specials included two German C-160s, which did not stay for the show. Local traffic was very limited with just the QRA F-16s and one other F-16 flying.
After 17:30, with the sun moving to the north side of the runway, I also moved position and traffic continued until 21:00 with many veteran aircraft still coming in, and also the QRA F-16's flew a second mission.
Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the arrival day, the only disappointment being that the promised RNoAF P-3 did not show up.
The first day of the airshow had the same great weather all day but the wind direction had changed so that an option to move outside the fence again for approach photography had disappeared because this would have required a boat!
The static did not provide many more new highlights, but a Finnish Air Force PC-12 and an immaculate Canberra T.17 (WD955) were nice surprises. The only NH90 of the RNoAF at this point in time also had arrived and would only stay for this day.
The very nice flying display was suffering from the backlight conditions which only improved later in the afternoon. Still, the ability to take shots from the top of some shelters gave some good photo opportunities with the snow covered mountains in the background.
The taxi demo of CF-104D 4537 was a unique item not to be seen anywhere else and brought back memories of the good old days of the F-104 in Europe.
Another major highlight, thoughtfully placed at the end of the day to benefit from improved lighting conditions, was a spirited display of the mighty AJS 37 of the Swedish Air Force Historic Flight. This display left the crowd with their mouths open and in itself was worth the trip. Also the following display of the Swedish J 34 Hunter was no less exciting. The end of the show, with the crows leaving the base, gave another opportunity for some good shots of the static with the NH90 leaving and some aircraft being towed away to the south side of the base.
I left the base with the feeling that I had got everything from the show which I could have reasonably expected and I was looking forward to go back home again on the next day. So, in the evening I treated myself with a few beers and good food, sitting in the mild open air. Close to midnight, watching the specially arranged set of "midnight sun" air displays above the harbour completed another perfect day with real arctic flavour.
You have to be lucky sometimes!
Report and photos by Helmut Richter ( view portfolio )