Air Show Report : ILA 2016 Berlin Air Show
ILA 2016 Berlin Air Show - 60 Jahre Luftwaffe
Photo report by Helmut Richter from the Internationale Luft- und Raumfahrtausstellung 2016 held from June 1 to 4, 2016, at the "Berlin ExpoCenter Airport" on Berlin-Brandenburg Airport near Schönefeld.
In my report of ILA 2014 I had expanded on the competitive situation with other aerospace trade shows as well as on the specific conditions for photography at the Berlin-Schönefeld showground.
In 2016, the ILA organisers have tried to increase the attractiveness to exhibitors and the public by cutting the duration of the show by one day and extend the first of the two public days into the evening. There was no official partner nation announced this year and the show again suffered from the absence of major aerospace industry players, although Boeing returned to ILA to promote the CH-47F for the German Luftwaffe as well as their cooperation with German supply chain partners. Interestingly, Antonov used ILA to present its new An-178 as a candidate for a smaller transport aircraft to complement the A400M in Luftwaffe service, as did Airbus with a Portuguese in-service example of the C-295M.
In terms of the static exhibition and the flying programme, the show was again saved by the presentation of operational equipment by major NATO partner air forces and in particular the German armed forces themselves. Luftwaffe, Heeresflieger and Marineflieger had a comprehensive static display of nearly every type in their inventory, with operational examples of A400M and H145M shown for the first time. On the other hand, this year’s ILA was probably the last one to see the Bo 105 and UH-1D, even though a very limited number of SAR-equipped UH-1Ds will continue to soldier on for a few years.
The Luftwaffe used this ILA edition as the major event for their 60 year anniversary celebrations. A special logo had been created, which was applied to at least one aircraft in each unit. A big surprise was the first appearance of Eurofighter 30+68 in an attractive anniversary colour scheme which was flown each day in a solo tactical demonstration by a Luftwaffe pilot. All solo displays at previous shows had been performed by company test pilots.
In addition to the solo display, a number of other demonstrations were performed by Luftwaffe and Heeresflieger each day, including interception (with an A-4N Skyhawk of Discovery Air as the intruder), SAR, evacuation, combined air operations (COMAO) and fire fighting. A final parade of the participating aircraft was also performed. While participating helicopters again operated from Holzdorf, this time some of the fast jets operated directly from Schönefeld, which certainly added to the attractiveness of the show.
As in previous editions of ILA, Germany’s direct neighbours Poland and the Czech Republic sent equipment both for the static display and the flying programme. US forces were also present again with mainly participation of aircraft deployed overseas. The B-1B and the B-52H, which did two fly-bys, are always crowd pleasers. The United Kingdom for the first time sent their three helicopter display teams for the flying display. The Joint Helicopter Command provided the Attack Helicopter Display Team as well as a Chinook and the Fleet Air Arm presented the Black Cats with their Wildcats. Unfortunately, the Chinook became unserviceable early in the show. Its impressive display was certainly intended as a further boost for the campaign to replace the Luftwaffe’s venerable CH-53s with the CH-47.
The number of aerobatic display teams was reduced to just the Patrouille Suisse which, however, is always an important asset for any show programme.
As a summary, the struggle of ILA to remain an attractive industrial trade show is going on and its future remains more uncertain than ever. This year, it was literally saved by the Luftwaffe’s 60th anniversary, which resulted in the largest participation of German military flying equipment ever and provided a lot of attraction for the enthusiast and the wider public. Some other highlights, like the B-1B and B-52H or the attractive helicopter displays, finally made ILA 2016 a worthwhile event again on the airshow enthusiast’s calendar.
Report and photos by Helmut Richter ( view portfolio )
Last Modified: 19 September 2016