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Last update: 2015-09-10 08:09:14
Our D.H. Vampire’s in FiAF markings in close formation with a Ilmavoimat F-18 Hornet from the Flight Test Center base at Halli
Lappeenranta International Air Show 2013
The Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron took their Vampire eastwards for the first time and participated at Lappeenranta International Air Show 2013 in Finland.

The event organizer wanted our Vampires painted in Finnish Air Force color scheme to celebrate the beginning of the Finnish Air Force jet aircraft era and are the first Vampires in Finnish skies in Finnish Air Force markings since 1965. We decorated the FB.52 to represent the first Finnish Air Force Vampire Fighter jet, registration VA-3, that landed in Finland in January 22, 1953.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRkHX9BvFzw   LIAS promotion
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r290X0Kyd2c    FiAF F-18 & D.H. Vampires
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EABNkPuvtc0    Vamp over the city of Lappeenranta

Lappeenranta (Swedish: Villmanstrand) is a city and municipality that resides on the shore of the lake Saimaa in South-Eastern Finland, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the Russian border. It belongs to the region of South Karelia.  

Our FB.52 decorated to represent the first Finnish Air Force Vampire Fighter jet, registration VA-3, that landed in Finland in January 22, 1953.

Our first international air show participation for the 2013 season was at Lappeenranta International Air Show 2013, Finland’s premiere air show. We departed Rygge AB with our two D.H. Vampires and set course for Lappeenranta in Finland. Per flew  the FB.52 and Per Morten and me in the T.55. each of us took turns in holding the stick and keep accurate altitude and heading. The route took us crossing over Sweden to Stockholm and then crossing the Baltic Sea towards Helsinki and then to Lappeenranta.

Per Morten in T.55

Vampires cruising enroute.

It was made arrangements for us to join up with a Finnish A.F. (Ilmavoimat) McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The F-18 was to hold and circle over Utti AB, only 6-7 minutes flying from Lappeenranta. The F-18 Hornet was from the Finnish Air Force Flight Test Center at Halli, and was scheduled to static display at Lappeeenranta Air Show to display the Finnish Air Force latest air to ground weapons and targeting pod that had newly been acquired for the F-18 Hornet. Major Antti Rautio was pilot of the F-18 Hornet. The plan was for all three of us to arrive over Lappeenranta in close formation just in time for the press conference that took place.

Our D.H. Vampire’s in FiAF markings in close formation with a Ilmavoimat F-18 Hornet from the Flight Test Center base at Halli

Major Antti Rautio was circling over Utti AB, a FiAF helicopter base at 3000’ waiting for us. We decent with our Vampires from high level at high speed inbound to Utti, and the weather was nice with Cumulus at 5000’. Over Utti we started a left 360 turn and soon Antti joined our formation from the inside on the left side as number three. We straightened out with course for Lappeenranta and offset a bit to the south to be able to make the fly-by Rwy.06 in a right bank for photo shots. Antti was staying right where he was supposed to with his F-18 so he looked to be a motivated formation pilot.

Fly-by at the press conference Lappeenranta.

We arrived Lappeenranta a couple of minutes late but it had little practical significance. We had, after all flown a long way with our historic Vampires but it had little practical significance. We had, after all flown a very long way with our veteran Vampires, and the Finns greatly appreciate this. We arrived from the west and made the fly-by along Rwy. 06 in a right turn to show off the upper sides of our aircrafts. We then made a left turn back over Lappeenranta city and came inn Rwy.24 where we performed a 360 turn in front of crowd.

F-18 Hornet & D.H. Vampire T.55. The new weapons for the FiAF F-18 can clearly be seen in the photo.

The formation was tight and nice clearly showing the small size of the Vampire together with the very large F-18 Hornet. The formation represented Finland’s first jet aircraft the de Havilland Vampire together with its current combat aircraft the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. We then flew out to the west and made a 180 turn back for Rwy. 06 again and Antti changed position to right side for a echelon right as we was now coming in for the break off to land. We landed as number one and two Rwy. 06 with our Vampires as fuel was coming low. We had been airborne for 1h 55min since we departed Rygge AB Norway.

Echelon right with the F-18 in number three position.

The Finns made ​​us aware that it was not historical right with the red wing tips on our T.55, since their Vampire’s never had this. Mette's brother Morten is a car spray painter and he arrived Friday afternoon as one of our crew chiefs, so on Saturday morning before our flying display he painted the red tips over in silver. This was to the Finnish organizers joyful surprise as their Air Force commander was due to visit that day. No problem when we have our own spray painter along. 

Majuri Antti Rautio pilot of the F-18 and Kenneth at Lappeenranta.

More information:
 LIAS 2013 Press release

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