It was cold, skies were gray, dark clouds hung low and a crisp wind was felt as it blew through frequent intervals of rain. This was surely not ideal airshow weather, especially if you live near March Air Reserve Base in sunny southern California.
But, if you live in Aalborg, Denmark, itâ€™s not uncommon to have dark clouds, wind, rain and cold in June. Inclement weather was not a show-stopper, as evidenced by the 85,000 people, 5,000 more than expected, who attended the Royal Danish Air Forceâ€™s airshow, celebrating 100 years of Danish military aviation at Aalborg Air Base, Denmark, June 10.
Gates opened at 8 a.m. and by 9 a.m. the tarmac was full of men, women and children dressed in cold-weather rain gear. With umbrellas in hand, spectators made their way around the flightline to visit the numerous aircraft on display for the airshow.
Among those aircraft was the C-17 Globemaster III from March ARB, which was a huge hit, filled to capacity with people throughout the entire event.
â€œIt was a good feeling to know that when we participate in a show like this, weâ€™re a popular attraction,â€ said Lt. Col. Keith Guillotte, pilot, 729th Airlft Squadron. â€œThis was probably the most crowded Iâ€™ve ever seen it during an airshow. â€
Visitors not only saw the inside of the jet, but also viewed the aeromedical evacuation configuration, which isnâ€™t usually a part of whatâ€™s included when a C-17 participates in one of the 15-20 airshows every year, said Guillotte.
After receiving the invitation to attend, it was Guillotte who coordinated efforts to ensure their participation was within mission parameters. Airshow attendance alone will not justify use of an Air Force asset, so the mission was turned into a training flight for the aircrew and the 452d Air Mobility Wing Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, which met mission parameters.
Lt. Col. Tim Harris, pilot, 729AS, explained that aircrew members have flying requirements, which includes overseas flying, so their pilots were staying current on their training by flying the mission.
The AES used the trip as an opportunity to exercise their capabilities and maintain their currencies, as well.
Medical crewmembers conducted several aircraft and patient emergency scenarios during both legs of the flight, said Master Sgt. Casey Balandran, medical tech., 452d AES.
Once at the airshow, AES had the added bonus of meeting with and discussing aeromedical evacuation tactics with their Royal Danish Air Forceâ€™s AE counterparts.
Members from both AE squadrons visited the otherâ€™s set-up and marveled at each operation, which differed, due to both squadronsâ€™ unique mission, said Balandran.
Aircrew members and AES were in agreement that the C-17, along with medical personnel presence, was a great combination and a big success with the Danish public and the sentiment was echoed by the Danish liaison who helped organize Team Marchâ€™s visit.
â€œWe are so glad you came here,â€ said Senior Master Sgt. Henrik Pedersen, military liaison, Royal Danish Air Force. â€œItâ€™s very impressive to have your jet here on display, as you can see by the amount of people whoâ€™ve gone through it.â€
Pedersen stated that it was very important to have big air assets and that they were very happy to have us come all this way.
The Danish Air Force was so pleased to have the C-17 at their air show that they paid for everyoneâ€™s room and fuel for the aircraft, reducing the overall price of the mission and making it cheaper than most training missions conducted in the U. S., said Harris.
â€œPlus, it gives their show a certain stature when people from international countries come to their airshow, so they are very, very appreciative of us being here,â€ said Harris.
The Royal Danish airshow happens every other year and rotates locations between the three Air Bases located in Denmark. The March C-17 crew has been invited back to the next airshow at Aalborg Air Base, which will most likely occur in 2018.