The Swedish Air Force celebrates its 90th anniversary with record attendance

The hubbub from the last air display has just subsided with the Home Guard Band playing while the crowd streams out of the area. The Huvudflygdagarna 2016 air show has been a fantastic occasion, especially Saturday with its brilliant sunshine, albeit a little breezy.

Luftlandsättningsmoment med hkp 16, Blackhawk. Flygdagarna 2016 på Malmen.
Luftlandsättningsmoment med hkp 16, Blackhawk. Flygdagarna 2016 på Malmen.
Soldiers from the fourth base unit and Home Guard were flown in on eight 16 Blackhawk helicopters as part of a combat demonstration. Photo: Jenny Collin/Försvarsmakten
Översikt med åskådare. Flygdagarna 2016 på Malmen.
DC3 Daisy looking out over the crowd. Photo: Jenny Collin/Försvarsmakten
Flygvapenchefen Mats Helgensson invigningstalar. Flygdagarna 2016 på Malmen.
Swedish Air Force Chief Major General Mats Helgesson's welcoming speech began with music from the Swedish Armed Forces Helicopter flotilla’s bagpipe corps. Photo: Jenny Collin/Försvarsmakten
AJS 37 Viggen. Flygdagarna 2016 på Malmen.
Viggen flew both a solo display and in formation with Tunnan, Draken, SK60 and Gripen. Photo: Jenny Collin/Försvarsmakten

Aircraft and helicopters from Sweden, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Switzerland, the UK and Finland have all delivered superb air performances. On the ground, most of the other nations have provided both helicopters and aircraft. Businesses and organisations with links to the Swedish Air Force have also been in attendance.

Appreciation for air displays

Over the weekend one of the lightest aircraft, Ö1 Tummelisa, defied the gusts and treated the crowd to a glorious display. Our former armed force helicopters, Hkp 5 and Hkp 6 were also up in the air, just like the slightly more modern Czech attack helicopter Mi-24 Hind. Many in the crowd marvelled at the precision with which Team 50 with four SK 50s flew in formation, not to mention the daredevil girls in WingWalkers who performed acrobatics on the wings of the Breitling plane.

Those who enjoy noise had a feast watching JAS 39 Gripen, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-18 Hornet along with our Swedish classics AJS 37 Viggen, SK 35 Draken and J29 Tunnan. Some of the older aircraft had problems dealing with the strong winds but the majority still got off the ground in the end. People could then enjoy aircraft like the SK 11 Tiger Moth, J26 Mustang, Saab B-17 and SK 61 Bulldog.

Helicopter display was the climax

However, the highlight for many over the course of the show was the helicopter display. Flying in across the field were two Hkp 15s fitted with machine guns and carrying eight Hkp 16 soldiers who performed an air landing. Once on the ground, the soldiers are caught in a firefight and start shooting both from the ground and from the air. The helicopters complete their mission by picking up the injured and the rest of the detachment. A spectacular show with lots of booming noises, smoke and action. Once this stage was completed, an Hkp 14 flies in and water bombs the field, just as you would when you have to extinguish forest fires. The helicopter display was greeted with cheers and a standing ovation from the crowd.

Huge number of visitors

Around 130,000 people visited the Malmen over the course of the Flygdagarna 2016 air show, which has to be an attendance record. There was a good atmosphere despite the queues, heat and then rain. By and large, the logistics worked well, and most visitors seemed pleased with the overall show. Staff at Malmen will now pack up all the tents, clean up and restore the site as Swedish Air Force exercises await in a week's time. But we are already looking forward to next year's air show!