The first show was the 2019 Aerospace & Defence Exhibition (ADEX) at Seongnam airbase in Seoul. This is a major, week-long trade show held every two years to showcase the latest technology and industry developments with a public show across the weekend. Much like Australia’s own Avalon Airshow.
2019 is the ROKAF’s 70th anniversary so the static this year was filled with examples of many front-line types currently in service with the ROKAF as well as a P-51 Mustang and F-86 Sabre from their earliest days. The ROKAF aerobatic team, the Black Eagles, have also adopted a new tail marking on their KAI T-50Bs to mark the occasion.
The Republic Of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) had one of their brand new F-35s on display and local manufacturer, Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) unveiled a mockup of their planned next generation fighter, the KF-X.
Other types on static display included, from the U.S.Air Force (USAF), an A-10 from the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan, and an E-3 from the 18th Wing at Kadena, Japan, a KC-135 from the Hawaii Air National Guard (ANG), a P-8 Poseidon and an MH-60 from the U.S Navy’s VP-10 and HSM-51, a CH-47 from the U.S.Army’s 3-2 General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB), a P-3 Orion from the ROK Navy and one each of HH-60, KUH-1 (a locally built utility helicopter), Apache and CH-47 from the ROK Army.
In the air there were daily displays by the ROKAF’s Black Eagles (see more about them HERE), KAI KT-1 and T-50 solos, a USAF / USANG C-17 from Hawaii, combined drops by the ROKAF & USAF Parachute Display Teams and, of course, Paul Bennet and Glenn Graham from Paul Bennet Airshows (PBA), Australia; the only civilian performers at the show.
Having flown around 18 displays at two different shows in China during the two weeks prior to Seoul, the PBA team had packed up their aircraft in China (two Pitts S1s and a Pitts S1-11X) immediately after their final show before flying to Korea and test-flying the bright yellow Wolf Pits Pro and radial engined Pitts Model 12 at Seoul the following day. Following a well-earned rest day, Paul flew his solo routine in the Wolf Pitts each day while he and Glenn performed their formation display several times during the week as well.
With private aviation still being very limited in Korea, the high energy and skilful flying by Paul and Glenn is always well received by the crowds when the team has performed there over the years, with lots of audible gasps and loud applause during the show, and there’s always a queue for autographs and photos when the guys meet the audience afterwards.
In addition to these regular displays, there were several other routines on different days. On the Tuesday of the trade show, as part of the ROKAF’s 70th anniversary celebrations, there was a fly-over by a formation of KT-1 trainers in the form of the number “70” followed by several formations of ROKAF types as well as some USAF F-16s from the 51st FW at Osan, in Korea. This was an amazing sight with some of the last formations also trailing purple, yellow and red smoke with a surprise appearance at the end by 3 of the ROKAF’s 4 recently delivered F-35s (the one on show in the static was the 4th). This theme was repeated for the public audience on the Saturday afternoon, but with C-130s and KA-1s rather than the A330-MRTT /F-15K / KF-16 formation, and no F-35s.
The USAF Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) F-16 Viper Demonstration team from the 35thFW, Misawa Japan, was also present during the trade show and put on an incredible display on the Thursday and Friday mornings, highlighting the speed, power and agility of the F-16 to great effect .
On the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the ROKAF performed a Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR) demonstration with a KA-1, a pair of FA-50s and a pair of HH-60s. The scenario being that the KA-1 locates a downed pilot and calls in the FA-50s to “clear the area” of enemy forces before the HH-60s arrive to deposit a rescue team, provide cover and pick up the team and pilot before departing the area. A very busy routine with lots going on.
Next stop, Sacheon…..