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The last projects of the 2018 anniversary season made another long-time wish becoming a reality. For many years we’ve tried to go all the way to Greece, as it is one of the few Air Forces in Europe that has an incredible inventory flying.

With the superb help and invitation of the Athens Flying Week team, we decided to finally just go! In recent years, Athens Flying Week has grown into one of the most amazing airshows in Europe often presenting highly unusual participants. The scenery around Tanagra airbase – host for the airshow – is unprecedented! So soon after the Belgian Air Force Days we embarked on a new adventure with so many big hopes and big dreams….

Long story short: ALL of our dreams and expectations became a reality, the support we received from the Hellenic Air Force and the entire team behind Athens Flying Week was simply overwhelming! We had made quite a number of requests in advance, in the hope to get aerial encounters with some of that hot stuff they fly in Greece….and some ideas got started as a kinda joke, but ended in an unforgettable overflight of the Acropolis!
The Hellenic Air Force came out in full strength for us, and left many of the photographers drooling…..yes F-4 Phantoms in the air: not once, not twice, but three action packed Phantom chases were part of our Skyvan ‘day out’ trip to Andravida. It remains one of thé most beautiful jets out there, and the F-4 crews spoiled us with numerous flybys in different set ups. We were also welcome by the F-16’s from nearby Araxos airbase.
Another highlight in the Hellenic Air Force are the ‘classic’ Mirage 2000 jets, based at Tanagra airbase so for us the actual ‘home team’. Not too many Air Forces in Europe fly these beautiful machines, and especially the Greek ones are pretty rare at any airshow. It was another dream coming true being able to see the Mirages in their natural habitat around Tanagra, such an amazing backdrop!!! And yet another surprise came to the cameras of all the super happy photographers, as the Mirage also performed some spectacular flare drops.
On the days surrounding the Athens Flying Week airshow, we got the priviledge of welcoming so much of the Hellenic Airpower: the well-known ‘Zeus’ F-16 demo team, the T-6 Texan trainers as a 2-ship, the legendary Huey from the Navy, the new S-70, the Chinook and the power beast Apache! Another challenging but amazing opportunity for us was the 4-ship flyby of 2 Phantoms with an F-16 and Mirage 2000. We can’t thank the Hellenic Air Force enough for such a level of support!
The airshow team behind AFW 2018 made us feel very welcome from minute 1. There were still so many epic moments waiting for us….When preparing our join-up with the Swiss PC-7 Team, months in advance, their manager joked that it would be nice if we could get them a picture with the Acropolis in the background….I took the idea to the airshow team, and instead of turning it down the guys started to work on it! The result are the pictures that you enjoy right here, all of these photos became instant classics. On top of all this Aegean decided to join this party and so we overflew the Acropolis twice with their A321.
The airshow attract a number of international participants, and we could highly recommend any airshow act ( military or civilian ) to go to Athens Flying Week, you will experience an airshow as no other in Europe! One of the cool things we could do is flying at sunset!! Yes, picture that with the sea and the mountains nearby in the golden light!!! Many participants accepted our invitation AND altered their flight schedule so they could join the Skyvan photoship in the sunset hours. It just looks fan-tas-tic….from the civilian side we welcome the airshow-boss Panos himself, the bright red Christen Eagle and the Dutch Rush Su-26. We made a rather memorable flyby along the runway with the Su-26 when the fireworks on the wings caused some extra fire on the ground….great great memories!

From the military side, the golden sunset hours were put to great use for the French Alpha Jet, the Swiss F-18, the Italian M346 and our own Belgian ‘Dark Falcon’ F-16 with Vador at the controls giving us the best flareshow we have seen so far!!!

We had a superb time in Greece, and time was going so fast when you are having all this fun. The last unexpected surprise on this epic adventure was our photomission on departure day, with 2 Ospreys of the Marines in a close formation chasing us over the runway and along the mountains, what a sight.

The Aviation PhotoCrew wishes to thank everyone in the Hellenic Air Force and the entire Athens Flying Week team for the warm support and friendship we received during our journey to Greece. Of course you know that we will be back in September 2019!

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