The NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days have gone through a extensive development before reaching the size, form and international significance of today. Here you can remind the history of this event, past participants, or vehicles and equipment that were on display in previous years. In lines below, we have attempted to pick the highlight events (“milestones”) from each year, which we have paired with other information such as programmes of the event where possible.
We wish you a pleasant reading!
NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days 2012
This year also belonged to the especially good ones. For the first time there were 20 flags waving over the Mošnov Airfielf; the Czech Gripen pilots have presented an air-refueling display with a French C-135FR tanker also for the first time. Also for the first time we had two American B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers, one of which did an flying display (the only such display in the whole Europe that year). After six year the British Red Arrows aerobics team showed their mastery and the French Ramex Delta team with two Mirage 2000N's made their first show outside of France.
The flying display have somewhat shadowed the ground displays; however fans of green camo and police and other units were not deprived at all. The joint display of police rapid intervention unit from Ostrava and Polish SPAP rapid intervention unit from Katowice was indeed a pull for the visitors. The units have freed the building of the organizational staff from the hands of terrorists and they used a Polish police Mi-8 helicopter in doing so.
The underlying theme of this year was rememberance of the 10th anniversary of NATO Summit in Prague, which decided to enlarge the Alliance with seven Central and Eastern European countries.
|No. of visitors: 208,000|
|Premiere participants: Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Switzerland|
NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days 2011
The main pulls in 2011 were definitely the Turkish Stars aerobatics team flying the NF-5 supersonics. Also the British Red Arrows were supposed to perform, but they had to cancel their arrival, so “only” two aerobatics team met at the event – besides the Turkish Stars there were also Baltic Bees from Latvia with their L-39 aircraft.
A highly valued participant was the Israeli Air Force, which presented two of its F-15D Baz fighters and a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft. Incidentally, there were as many as 4 Hercules aircraft from 3 different air forces at the event. There also were Eurofighter Typhoon airplanes from three different air forces – the German and Italian ones at static display and an Austrian one at flying display.
Morevore, the non-military ground units were not lagging behind. The Czech and Polish police intervention units presented a display of freeing the hostages from hijacked aircraft. In a joint display by the Czech special forces unit of customs administration with the German ZUZ customs special intervention unit, the ZUZ presented itself only for the second time in public and for the very first time outside Germany.
Thanks to these and great participants, this year’s number of visitors for both days of the Weekend show surpassed the magical number of 200,000, totalling as many as 225,000 visitors enjoying the show.
|No. of visitors: 225,000|
|Premiere participants: Israel, Latvia, Norway, Sweden, Turkey|
NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days 2010
The tenth year of NATO Days in Ostrava became the first year of Czech Air Force Days thanks to General Jiří Verner and his decision. This connection helped raise the international prestige and significance of the event. This year saw the Central European premiere of the American B-52H Stratofortress strategic bomber.
On the other hand, the event was a last performance venue for two British RAF aircraft. In its last performance the Tornado F.3 fighter presented an attractive display with WW2 veteran Hurricane Mk.I aircraft. An unplanned last performance for the Czech public was carried by the Harrier GR.9, which became victim of budget cuts in the British defence budget.
|No. of visitors: 185,000|
|Premiere participants: Austria, Hungary|
NATO Days in Ostrava 2009
The ninth year was characterized by huge organizational changes. Firstly, the exhibition area was moved to a different part of the airport and secondly, the programme was extended to the whole weekend. This year’s highlights were performances of British Typhoon Display Team, for the first time in Central Europe, or the dynamic display of Polish Rosomak armoured transport vehicle on the ground together with joint simulated intervention of Czech and Slovak customs administrations special forces. .
The 2009 Central European premiere for the public was the largest serially produced aircraft in the world – C-5 Galaxy from the USAF. This year, the event saw the highest number of premiere participating countries, which was matched in 2011, but not yet exceeded.
Thanks to the lengthening of the programme to the whole weekend, the one-hundred-thousand visitors mark was also exceeded for the show with as many as 135,000 visitors present during the weekend.
|No. of visitors: 135,000|
|Premiere participants: Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Romania|
NATO Days in Ostrava 2008
In 2008, we experienced for the first and fortunately for the last time so far, what it meant to cope with bad weather. Especially flying display actors had to face very difficult flying conditions: low temperature, rain and low cloud cover. And in spite the menacing morning forecast that said even helicopters couldn’t fly, around 11 o’clock the clouds miraculously opened and the flying programme could start, including performances of the Spanish Patrulla Águila aerobatics team, the first performance of the Dutch F-16 Demo Team at our event (who would have thought that we will see this team in following years again) and of the RAF Hawk Demo team. At the static display, the visitors could compare two versions of AWACS aircraft – NATO’s E-3A and British E-3D for the first time in the Czech Republic.
But the main pull of the eight year was a renewed public premiere of the An-124 Ruslan heavy transport aircraft, which was presented to the general public at Mošnov airport after 20 long years.
|No. of visitors: 40,000|
|Premiere participants: France, Netherlands, Ukraine|
NATO Day in Ostrava 2007
The seventh year served as a meeting place for the three most modern airplanes in Europe – British Typhoon F2, Czech Jas-39 Gripen and Polish F-16C Block 52+. In case of the British Typhoon F2 it was its first landing in Central and Eastern Europe. General Zdeněk Škarvada, direct participant of aerial combat in the WW2, personally welcomed the Typhoon at Mošnov airfield.
The visitors applauded loudly especially to the US Viper East Demo TeamF-16CJ Fighting Falcon and the Spanish F-18 Hornet presentations. There was also an unforgettable display of great piloting skills of a C-17 Globemaster III, which was presented at a static display, too. It was with the Globemaster III aircraft that the era of “large static displays” started, which has continued until today.
Another worldwide unique display was presented by the Military Historical Institute Prague, which introduced the Israeli Merkava Mk. I main battle tank – the only one outside Israel. The first public premiere of special intervention units from Ostrava and Katowice took place at the event with display of saving hostages from an airplane.
|No. of visitors: 60,000|
|Premiere participants: Germany, Spain|
NATO Day in Ostrava 2006
The sixth year was memorable with the largest participation of the British Royal Air Force in the Czech history. The RAF sent to the Mošnov airfield as many as 21 of their aircraft of many types. There goes a legend of a supposed Whitehall RAF command meeting , London question: : “In which foreign destinations are our aircraft this week?” The answer was: “In Afghanistan, in Iraq and in Ostrava.”
A performance of the world-renowned aerobatics Red Arrows team reaped the largest applause together with a flying display of the British version of E-3D AWACS aircraft.
For the first time, the U. S. Air Force took part in the event, with two F-15C Eagle and two F-15E Strike Eagle supersonic jets, which have never met again at our event since then.
The public showed great appreciation to the hour-long simulation of real fighting situation by the Czech Armed Forces, which presented even some unusual equipment like the Pegas 4M hovercraft.
|No. of visitors: 55,000|
|Premiere participants: USA|
NATO Day in Ostrava 2005
The fifth year saw the first foreign air force participation by the Royal Air Force. Two of its Tornado F3 supersonic jets from the base in Scottish Leuchars were originally planned for a static presentation only; however one of them was eventually instrumental in creating an unplanned final highlight of the programme. The characteristic sound of 111th RAF Squadron’s Tornado F3s was a natural part of our show till 2010.
Among other highlights of the fifth year was a Joint Forces of the Czech Army display of three T-72M4CZ tanks, three BVP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, an engineering tank and Mi-17 and W-3A Sokol helicopters. A legendary Věra passive radar system had its public premiere at the event, before which it was known only from the media.
Special forces of the Customs Administration made a fascinating display of an intervention against a tanker truck carrying refugees across state borders, in which the used vehicle actually originally belonged to real-world smugglers, from whom it was confiscated.
An important part of the 2005 event was the finals of the European Championship in fire sport of firefighters and rescuers.
Also, since 2005 the event has started its own separate website, which have been running with slight updates till 2012.
|No. of visitors: 35,000|
|Premiere participants: ---|
NATO Day in Ostrava 2004
In the framework of the fourth year, it was for the first time that the Czech public were able to board the legendary E-3A Sentry “AWACS” early warning aircraft from NATO base from the German Geilenkirchen base. Another opportunity for the visitors was the presentation of all the equipment of a field hospital or of training of the world-renowned chemical protection unit from Liberec.
|No. of visitors: 40,000|
|Premiere participants: NATO|
NATO Day in Ostrava 2003
Since the third year, the event has been held regularly in mid-September at the Leoš width= widttdh= Janáče k Ostrava Airport, setting of which enables to carry out more attractive dynamic and especially flying displays. This year, the Special forces of the Prison Service and General Customs Directorate of the Customs Administration of the Czech Republic have joined the regular participants of the event, which significantly widened the scale of civil services and integrated rescue system components presenting. The absolute highlight of the programme was a Mi-24 helicopter flying display.
A third foreign participant joined the event – the United Kingdom with presentation of a British training team BMATT from Vyškov. The UK has been taking part every year since NATO Day in Ostrava 2003.
|No. of visitors: 25,000|
|Premiere participants: United Kingdom|
NATO Day in Ostrava 2002
The second year, which took place at the Černá louka again, saw participation of the first NATO non-member country at that time – Slovakia, which supported its pending invitation to join NATO at the Prague Summit by its active participation at the NATO Days. Slovakia sent its most elite fighting force – 7th Special Airborne Regiment from Žilina, which has presented itself only once in the Czech Republic – and for the last time till today.
|No. of visitors: 15,000|
|Premiere participants: Slovakia|
NATO Days in Ostrava 2001
The first year took place on a Friday afternoon - "after work" - at the Černá louka fair ground in the Ostrava centre. The visitors could see special military and rescue equipment, equipment and armament of a special and reconnaissance unit, the training methods and equipment of the police, displays of an anti-terrorist commando, searching for drugs and weapons, displays of firefighters and rescuers and many more interesting presentations.
Also the elite paratroopers from Bialsko-Biala presented themselves and Poland thus became the historically first foreign country, which took part in NATO Days in Ostrava.
|No. of visitors: 10,000|
|Premiere participants: Czech Republic, Poland|