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Most of you cannot have missed that North Korea staged the very first Air Festival at Wonsan open to foreigners in September 2016. Of course, Aviagraphers were on scene.


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Nearly the whole Air Koryo fleet was there.


Unexpected joys as the Democratic People's Republic Air Force participated in numbers as well, kicking off with their MD500E. About eighty of these little birds were acquired using a well-cloaked acquisition route...

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For most, the iconic MiG-21s were the stars of the show. But the heavy metal display started with the MiG-29. Triple 5 seen turning and burning towards and over the public, and deploying its brake chute after landing.

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Sukhoi 25s form the backbone of the fighter-bomber force. Apart from a solo display, bort 49, a three ship was launched as well with borts 28, 45 and 57 performing. The latter is seen using its chute here.

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Huge cheers from the international photographers fraternity when the MiG-21s taxied out! Piloted by female aviators; no brake-chutes necessary on Wonsan's huge but dusty runway.

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The end of day One, what will tomorrow bring?


Hectic take-offs, too many people close by, not used to being air side on an active airfield obviously... But it went up all right.

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Day Two started with a skillful paradrop. No less than 32 jumpers were involved dropped from only two Mi-8 helicopters. Two carrying huge flags for the DPRK and the Worker's Party of North Korea....


...then two lines of ten including a husband & wife jumping-couple. These groups shot off flares on final turn-in, awesome! Lastly, two neat stacks of five completed the parajump perfromance.

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The Sunday was used for numerous pleasure flights, mainly with the Mi-8 borts 303, 312 and 911, and An-2 borts 621, 622 and 952 seen here.


The lovely An-2 kept on going until dusk, providing many photo opportunities.


Aerial shot of the terminal specially made for the Great Leader's Il-62; Kalma airport being used by Kim Jong-Un when he visits his residence at the Wonsan peninsula.

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The cultural programme is not our cup of tea entirely, but a music and dance performance on one night, and a mass group dancing on the second, was something not seen in Western air show weekends.


So for those who missed out this first-ever edition, plans are in the making for a re-run in 2017. Unique in many ways, apart from excellent photographic opportunities, the way we were allowed to mingle with the locals really stood out as special. Anyway, everywhere people seem to share the same enthusiasm for aircraft (and beer!), see you next year.