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The Bulgarian Air Force celebrates 20 years of Bell 206, 30 years of MiG-29 and 40 years of Mi-24.
On June 29, 2019, the Bulgarian Air Force (BuAF) held an air show at Graf Ignatievo Air Base to celebrate the years of service of three aircraft: 20 years Bell 206, 30 years MiG-29 and 40 years Mi-24. For foreign aviation enthusiasts, the event offered a great opportunity to admire many Soviet-era planes and helicopter as well as "smokers".
The flying display started with the traditional fly-by of a Mi-17 with the Bulgarian flag hanging under its belly and the take-offs of a pair of MiG-29s and a L-39. The Albatross performed a great display before leaving the airspace to two Su-25s from Bezmer air base who made several ground attacks.
The dynamic part continued with the performance of a Bell 206 and a SAR demo by a Cougar helicopter. Additional power was offered by two MiG-29s who escorted a C-27J during an air policing simulation. The three aircraft then waited for the end of the excellent aerobatic sequences of a Pilatus PC-9M before returning over the airfield to perform epic demos. The two Fulcrums simulated an amazing dogfight, while the Spartan performed stunning low-level maneuvers.
Subsequently a Mi-17 helicopter conducted a fire demonstration dropping water from a Bamby bucket in front of the crowd. The Mi-17 is the only BuAF aircraft used to fight fires. The action continued with the performance of a Mi-24 and a MiG-29. The Bulgarian MiG-29 performed a rare solo display that included complex low-level maneuvers and the acclamated "Hammer Head". Surely all aviation enthusiasts will miss it when its legacy will be taken over by the modern F-16V. The Air Show ended with the fly-by of the celebrated aircraft: Bell 206, Mi-24 and MiG-29.
Text: Matteo Sanzani and Kiril Todorov
Images: Nikolay Dimov
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