Turkish Airforce 100th

'Air Show Turkiye 2011' - The 100th Anniversary of the Turkish Air Force
Cigli Air Base 3rd-6th June 2011

During 2011 the Turkish Air Force celebrated it's 100th Anniversary, the highlight being a special air show held at the 2nd Main Jet Base at Cigli near Izmir on the scenic Aegean coast. 
It is almost unheard of for an air show to be held in Turkey (and this was the first where enthusiasts from around the World were actively encouraged to attend),
so the interest from locals and visitors alike was therefore immense.
Over the public days of the show (4th and 5th June) an estimated 250,000 spectators enjoyed a professionally organised and fabulously entertaining show in glorious weather conditions. 
Highlights were numerous, including rarities such as JF-17's and F-16's from the Pakistan Air Force in the flying display (plus their supporting IL78 and C-130) .
and Serbian An-26, Algerian C-130, Jordanian F-16's and Bulgarian MiG-29 in the static display.
In addition, the fantastic static line up included almost every current type operating with the Turkish Air Force,
whilst the beginning of the show on Saturday saw further examples take part in a mass fly past,
including the long serving T-37 and T-38 trainers (home based at Cigli), F-4 Phantoms and F-5's.
The sunny conditions and blue skies were also perfect for the many display teams who attended, representing Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Italy, Spain, Poland and Croatia
In additon to the two public days, access to the base was granted to enthusiasts on the arrivals and departures days.
Whilst it was speculated that we might just be allowed into one fenced-off area once on base,
everyone was amazed and delighted to find that they could effectively wander up and down the entire airfield, providing endless photo opportunities.
It was certainly an event to remember, made all the more enjoyable by enthusiastic and welcoming hosts.
The Turkish F-16, 'Solo Turk', was so popular in fact, that I witnessed my first ever 'pitch invasion' at an airshow
as Turkish spectators swarmed onto the taxiway to welcome the jet back in after an impressive and flare-laden display! One of my many lasting memories of this unique show.


A big 'thank you' to all involved in organising such a great spectacle, which allowed thousands to celebrate the Turkish Air Force's special year in style.

Mark Preston