Red Arrows and Russian Knights the pick of the show, a pair of J-20’s stirs the most talk, while the Boeing 787-9 gives an insipid display.
A lowish cloud base and haze greeted the opening day of Air Show China 2016. But it wasn’t enough to stop the flying displays, even if you often lost sight of the aircraft between sweeps over the runway itself.
As is the custom, the PLAAF’s August First team opened the show, but it was the sudden appearance of a pair of China’s J-20 stealth fighters that got people talking. In what was a first public showing, the two aircraft flew over from the nearby Foshan Air Base, made several formation passes, then disappeared back to their Base.
The Red Arrows were up next for their first ever performance in China, their display shaded only by that of the Russian Knights a little later in the day. In fact, it was the Su-27’s of the Russian Knights and Mig-29’s of the Swifts that commenced their display together, performing their “Diamond of Kubinka” stunt. The maneuvers become more spectacular as the number of aircraft in the formation are gradually reduced down to the last two Su-27’s. A sudden burst of sunshine and blue skies mid-performance seemed to release the Russian pilots for increasing playfulness.
As far as the large aircraft are concerned, the Chinese Y-20 and A350 put on worthy shows, while Hainan Airline’s Boeing 787-9 disappointed with nothing more than two slow passes.
In general aviation we saw three aircraft from the AVIC stable: the AG300 single turboprop, the Y-12F twin turboprop, and the Little Eagle 500, the last of which is surely of no commercial interest whatsoever.
Meanwhile, back indoors a slew of deals were being signed, including Bell 407 orders from the Xi’an Helicopter Company and the Xi’an Energy Company totaling 100 units in all.