Dubai stuntman and space parachuter to wow crowds at Pardubice Aviation Fair

The east Bohemian city of Pardubice is gearing up for its annual aviation fair this weekend. Highlights this year include air shows by Lukasz Czepiela, who successfully landed a plane on top of a skyscraper in Dubai in March, and Felix Baumgartner, the man who parachuted to Earth from the stratosphere.

Held at the airport in Pardubice since 1991, the Pardubice Aviation Fair is, together with the Czech International Air Fest in Hradec Králové, the biggest showcase of aviation and aerobatics in Czechia. And this year, it promises a programme truly packed with stars from the aviation world.

Along with Polish stunt pilot Lukasz Czepiela and Austrian skydiver, daredevil and BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner, who will be demonstrating his skills on a BO-105 helicopter, Czechia’s most famous aerobatic pilot Martin Šonka, who is the European champion and world vice-champion in aerobatic flying, will also be among the star guests at the event:

Martin Šonka | Photo: Petr Bušta,  Czech Radio

“There will be a part which will be very fast and dynamic with fast rotations, then there is another part where I really use the strength of the plane and make a kind of helicopter out of it, so people can really see the range of turns that the plane can do.”

The event showcases Czech aviation technology from the first attempts by aviation pioneer and Pardubice native Jan Kašpar right up to the present day. However, the fun doesn’t only take place up in the air, but also on the ground, with grounded aircraft on display. There will even be a race between a sports car and an EDGE airplane, says the co-organizer of the event, Josef Piňos.

“The car is a Ferrari that’s been modified for racing. It’s valued at around CZK 11 million and is incredibly fast. When I suggested the idea to Petr Kopfstein, he asked me whether I realised that the Ferrari wouldn’t stand a chance. But in fact it does have a chance – the car has really fast acceleration.”

The army will also be heavily represented, with highlights including aeroplanes from the First and Second World Wars on display, Captain Ondřej Španko flying a JAS 39 Gripen, and army helicopters with paratroopers abseiling out of them.

Some 25 000 people are expected to attend the event that runs for two days over the last weekend in May. Therefore, to avoid overburdening the city’s public transport system, the event organisers have arranged free transfers from the train station to the airport, says organiser Marie Schillerová:

“There will be a direct transfer for visitors from Pardubice train station to the airport. Our airport express will transport you quickly and comfortably right to the heart of the action.”

The fair will be open from 8am on both weekend days, with the air shows starting just before noon. There will also be an accompanying children’s program and food festival.

On Friday evening, just before the show begins, there will be a preliminary event in the centre of Pardubice where you can try out flight simulators and get more information about the fair.