Air Show wows spectators


Finnair’s 94-year heritage is one of the longest and most exciting stories in aviation history, and from the very first commercial flight in 1924, which carried mail from Helsinki to Tallinn, Estonia, cargo has been central to the narrative. 

In fact, Finnair has been flying almost as long as Finland has been an independent country, a status it has proudly claimed since 1917. 
Appropriately, one of the most spectacular events to mark the centenary of Finnish independence was the Kaivopuisto Air Show, named after Helsinki’s seaside park, on June 9. The crowd of 130,000 that turned up was reckoned to be the biggest ever for a public event in Finland, exceeding the targeted total by 30,000. 
Finnair contributed to the show, organized by the Finnish Aviation Museum, with a low fly-past of one of its new state-of-the-art Airbus A350 XWB airliners. The aircraft was one of nine aircraft delivered so far out of 19 commissioned from Airbus to serve Finnair’s flights to Asia. The spectacle of the A350 swooping low across the Helsinki shoreline was one of the most memorable highlights of the show.
“All the other big museums in Finland were making plans to celebrate Finland’s centennial, and we decided we should do the same,” says Markku Kyyrönen, Museum Director of the Finnish Aviation Museum. 

History lives on

On Kyyrönen’s office wall at the Museum, which is located just across the road from Finnair Cargo’s new COOL Cargo Nordic Hub at Helsinki Airport, are artist impressions of a planned new museum, all shining glass and striking modern angles. Publicity for this project, he says, was another driver for the Kaivopuisto show.
A framed poster from the 1950s hangs next to the artist impressions of the new museum, advertising a much earlier air show in Kaivopuisto. The last time an air show was held here was in 1955 and Kyyrönen pulls out a copy of an old sketched map of the district. The areas marked on this reveal that the traffic restrictions were almost identical to those in force for the recent show. 
Finnair was a partner for the centenary show and Kyyrönen is grateful for the dramatic fly-past of the Airbus A350 across the coastal islands and harbors that drew gasps of admiration from the crowd. The Red Arrows of the British RAF were another highlight, displaying their trademark speed, precision and flair, tracing red, white and blue trails across the sky, and leaving a vapor heart and arrow hanging over the crowd. 
Other highlights included appearances of Typhoon, Draken and Hornet jets and historic Super Puma and Dornier 228 aircraft. Perttu Karivalo, probably Finland’s most experienced air show director, directed the show. 
Kyyrönen points out that the Finnish Aviation Museum is only a short detour from Helsinki Airport and that especially Finnair Cargo visitors will be well placed to drop in for a visit when the new terminal opens later this year. Guided tours and visits to four flight simulators are part of the attraction, along with an exhibition of 70 aircraft, including Douglas DC-3 and Convair Metropolitan planes, and a well-stocked souvenir shop. The museum houses Finland’s biggest collection of gliders.
“Our mission is to arouse public interest in aviation and aviation history,” he says. “We also really hope that this event will help to support our new Aviation Museum project.”

Text and photo by Tim Bird 

Published June 26, 2017

Category: Local features, Finnair Cargo