Photo: Aron Mifsud Bonnici
When I was a young child, I wanted to be was an airman, like my father. Every year, there seemed to be a reason to hang around on some rooftop, eyes skywards, waiting for a plane to plummet out of the sky and skim a church spire. My father always made more noise than us kids. Years later, he found an ally in my father-in-law, a former RAF and BA pilot – in the rare occasions that they meet, they get all smug and giggle about young airmen’s antics at RAF Luqa in the 1950s.
Malta’s love affair with flying machines did not stop with the closure of the British forces military base in 1979.
The annual Malta International Air Show weekend is 24 & 25 September at the Malta International Airport in Luqa (Hal-Farrug road entrance). For €12 an adult (less if you pre-book and free for kids under 14), you get a great family day out: there’s always a static and flying display (details here). The planes start arriving from Thursday 22nd, so if you’ve keen to spot them flying in, see the arrivals schedule.
All editions of the show see a static display of aircraft and helicopters, from tiny ultra-light aircraft to the giants like the KC-10 from the Royal Netherlands Air Force and a US Air Force KC135 of previous years. This time, sizes range from the Tiger Moth to the Hercules. Air forces taking part include Poland, Ireland, France, the UK, Switzerland, the USA and Italy. Interestingly, Libya is participating in the static display. Those Mirages that arrived unannounced last February are still here, so why not include them?!
Heading up the aerial display is the Italian formation team, the Frecce Tricolori. The aerial displays usually kick off around lunchtime. You can access the full programme and how to get to the venue from the Air show website.
Events like the air show also bring out the picnic crowd. Summer is officially over, the kids are about to go back to school and parents with cameras and videos can get to munch ftiras, meet old friends and scream louder than their kids. So even if you do end up hanging around for the next fly-past, the airshow is a great opportunity to do some serious people watching and catch up on all the gossip against a soundscape of jet engines.
Do note the quite precise and strict entrance details and advice about parking and using public transport. The event draws the crowds, so to ensure you have a smooth ride there and back, do check the Airshow website info.
Main Photo (featured on homepage): courtesy of Susan Attard.