US Military, Defense Contractors Present in Force at Colombia’s F-AIR 2019 11th Biennial Aviation & Defense Air Show
Every two years for the past 2 decades, Colombia’s air force along with Corferias, a government events promotion agency organize the F-AIR airshow at the José Maria Córdova international airport in Rionegro, Colombia just outside of Medellín. With the United States once again designated as the “guest country,” highlighting the strong military, commercial and cultural ties between the two countries, a record number of US aviation and defense companies were present exhibiting their aircraft, services and products to Colombia’s civil and military aviation sector.
The first two days of F-AIR were open only to industry professionals, government and military, with the last two days open to record crowds this year, attracted by the first ever presence of the US Air Force Thunderbirds, the elite demonstration team of US F-16 pilots. While the Thunderbirds put on a stunning show both Saturday and Sunday, they were supported by flyovers of Colombian armed forces helicopters, a US B-52 strategic bomber that flew non-stop from the US and back, and a special Colombian Air Force 100th anniversary flyover demonstration.
The B52 made several passes over the show’s crowds accompanied by Colombian KFIR jet fighters. The US also was present with a contingent of South Carolina Air National Guard F-16 fighters and pilots. The US Air Force also sent a Boeing C-17 Globemaster military transport and a Northrup Grumman KC-10 aerial refueling tanker for the show. Many companies displayed commercial, specialty and general aviation aircraft, and the Colombian military also had many aircraft on display.
“The government of the United States has a strong and proven partnership with the Colombian government and has given decisive support to many initiatives in the Colombian aviation sector,” said Kevin Whittaker, the current US Ambassador to Colombia. “The progress in Colombia’s security and the strong commercial ties with the United States will further strengthen our business relationship and allow us to continue providing the most advanced solutions to the Colombian aviation sector.”
Over 20 US manufacturers were present at this year’s show, running July 11-14, with 8 vendors new to the event. Most exhibited in the US “Partnership Pavilion” sponsored by the US Departments of Commerce, State, Defense, and Transportation.
Headline photo credit: Liliana Padierna Body photos credit: Loren Moss