Plane Spotting - The Reykjavik Airshow

Alongside photography, I have another passion: aviation. Aircraft and flight have always fascinated me and it was part of the reason I decided to study Aerospace Engineering at university. It isn't often that I get to combine my two interests but last June, we decided to pop down to Reykjavik Airport and visit the Reykjavik Airshow. I took along my camera of course.

Reykjavik Airport is slightly unusual in that it is just on the edge of the city centre. Therefore in the right weather conditions, when you are in town, you will often see and hear the Air Iceland prop planes roaring very low overhead as they go in to land. For the airshow there is lots of parking around the airport area although there are traffic queues to get in. I'd actually recommend parking in town and taking the nice walk over to the airport which will probably take about 20-30 minutes.

Entry to the show was free and once in the airport grounds there were a number of static aircraft on display. There were aircraft with tundra wheels, presumably for those pilots wishing to explore difficult to reach areas of the country. There were also a number of aerobatic aircraft including some impressive bi-planes. Keilir Aviation Academy sent two of their pilots and one of their Diamond DA20 training aircraft along - I have been lucky enough to go up in one of their bigger DA40 aircraft for a flight around Reykjanes. You can see a cheesy YouTube video of this here: Flying in Iceland. All the aircraft were accessible with some open to allow people to sit in the cockpits. There were also companies showing off their impressive film drone collections. Alongside DJI consumer drones were some incredible eight prop professional filming drones.

In the early afternoon the air display started. It was pretty impressive for such a small show. Small private aircraft did fly pasts, sometimes in formation. There were aerobatics which looked impressive against the backdrop of the city. And then there were the stars of the show, the Icelandair aircraft.

Icelandair had two aircraft there for the show. First was their DC-3 which Icelandair introduced into their fleet in 1946 and flew them right up until 1972! This aircraft is painted in the current Icelandair colours and I particularly like the yellow engines. I was stood behind the aircraft on start up and the engine backwash was fearsome! It was lovely to see this old aircraft flying over the city.

Next up was Icelandair's Boeing 757-200 Freighter. Icelandair has long been using 757 aircraft as their workhorses capable of flying short and long haul. This year they have started to introduce the new Boeing 737-Max but the 757 will always remain my favourite of their aircraft. We were stood right next to the aircraft and watched the pilots prepare for the display. The engine start up was predictably loud, the Rolls Royce engines making an impressive racket. AVGeek fact - the engines are the same as those on the Boeing 747 (which has 4) and as such are very high powered for the size of the aircraft. This can be felt most on take off in certain conditions when the plane literally feels like a rocket!

The aircraft performed some impressive fly pasts, especially when at high speed. It was hard to capture in camera but they put on a great display.

Last up (or was it? See below) was the Canadian Airforce CF-18 Hornet. This was easily the noisiest aircraft of the day and the hardest to photograph as it was going so quickly. In fact, I messed up my camera settings (turned auto focus off by accident) so didn't get many in flight shots. I have instead shared the annoyingly well captured silhouette that my wife took...on her iPhone!

That was supposed to be it for the show and we all started to make our ways to the exits. Suddenly, however, everyone noticed a growing roar and looking out over the city, a purple plane could be seen making its way to steal the show. Yes, young Icelandic airline WowAir was coming along to conduct their own (unplanned) display of their Airbus A321 aircraft. For the next 5 minutes it performed some maneuvers that (cough) wowed the crowd in a blatant but fun attempt to outdo rival Icelandair. I have to say I was impressed with the performance of the Airbus and the purple colour scheme looked great in the light. Well played WowAir, well played.

And that was it for the show. The private owners started moving their aircraft out for their flights home. It was nice to watch them getting ready and saying goodbye to everyone. I particularly liked seeing what I assume was a father and son heading off together. The young lad will one day realise how lucky he is to have had these experiences at such a young age.

It was a great little airshow, more so because it's open to everyone and absolutely free. They have announced the date of Saturday June 2nd 2018 for the show this year so if you find yourself stuck for something to do in Reykjavik and want to have a bit of fun, I highly recommend the heading to the Reykjavik Airshow.