Last weekend, the yearly Flygdag (Airshow) of the Swedish Armed Forces took place in Uppsala at Ärna. Huge crowds, but it was still easy to get a good view of the aerial displays that took place. In this blog post, I just wanted to share a few photos.
I was fortunate in that the event took place really close to where I live, so we could just bike to the event – avoiding the crazy traffic that clogged up all the big roads & highways around Uppsala. Estimates are that some 140 to 150 thousand people showed up, which is pretty much as many people as live in the city. It ran smoothly anyway, if a bit slowly. The military deployed military police to direct the traffic all way out to the edge of Uppsala. Still, after realizing just how slowly people arrived, the whole day was prolonged by a couple of hours and some of the program delayed.
The event is considered as a marketing and recruitment event for not just the air force, but also the armed forces in general. Mostly it was about various Air Force functions including anti-air systems, radars, airbase protection, etc. The army had an Archer artillery system on display along with some light armored vehicles – Pansarterrängbil 203 – also known as the Patria Sisu – and Pansarterrängbil 360, also known as Patria XA-360 AMV. As well as practical things like lawn movers, fire engines, and other things you need to keep an air base running.
These marketing activities provided good variety and more interactive activities, like running in a fireman’s suit and trying various weapons and infantry equipment. There was a whole area set aside for recruitment, including lawn chairs in military camo…
However, the main event was really all the aircraft and helicopters. The aircraft on the ground including some visitors from abroad like a Danish F-16 trainer (plus an aerial display by the Danish Air Force solo demo F-16) and a C-17 from the NATO Strategic Airlift Capability. The C-17 was an impressively big box, with some truly uncomfortable seats and a single lavatory for everyone onboard.
The best part of the show was really the SAAB jet combat aircraft – Tunnan, Lansen, SK-60, Draken, Viggen, and Gripen all took part of a “grand formation” flyby to cap off the program, as well as demo flights and static exhibitions earlier in the day.
Next time I go to one of these shows I will make sure to first buy a more powerful zoom lens. My 250mm Canon was not quite enough.