North Korea hosts first air show ever

Sep 26 2016 - 14 Comments

As U.S. B-1Bs fly south of the DMZ, the rather geriatric North Korean aircraft take part in the nation’s first-ever airshow in Wonsan.

Last weekend North Korea hosted its first-ever air show at the Kalma International Airport, in the eastern port city of Wonsan.

The event, attended by both civilian and military aircraft, has represented an unbelievable opportunity for aviation enthusiasts from all around the world to photograph some of the world’s rarest combat planes, including the North Korean Air Force Mig-29 Fulcrum, Su-25 Frogfoot, Mig-21Bis Fishbed, Mi-8T Hip and Y-5s.

Among the aircraft that took part in the air show, there was also a formation of four Hughes 500E helicopters: exposed in 2013 during the traditional flying parade over Pyongyang, the North Korean “Little Birs” have long been surrounded by mystery. There were no images that could prove their presence in DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) in spite the news that they had been illegally supplied to the regime had been unveiled in the ’80s.

Even the state airline Air Koryo took part in the air show with its Tu-134, Tu-154 and Il-62 aircraft.

Pyongyang’s first air show took place amid growing tensions with the U.S. over North Korea’s continued development of missiles and nuclear weapons.

Following the fifth nuclear test this month, U.S. Air Force B-1Bs bombers have conducted extended deterrence missions south of the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone).

Whilst international sanctions restrict the regime’s international trade, air shows like the one held this year are probably one of the ways to attract some tourists in a country almost inaccessible to foreigners (especially those keen on ultra-rare military hardware!) until a few days ago..

Image credit: Ed Jones/AFP




  • weasel

    As a Jewish person, these crowds eerily remind me of people in liberated concentration camp photos.

  • Kurt Eskildsen

    Cracks me up. If these people had any idea of the kind of military hardware was outside the borders of “Dear Leader’s” play pen, they’d likely shit themselves.

  • radiskull

    Wait how do they have Little Birds??? WTF….1st off aren’t we the devil and 2nd who sold it to them???

    • Cody3/75
    • AssKicker74

      Google, the Business of war by vice.

    • jimmy craked corn

      No one is sure. Some say they where purchased by a shell company in Switzerland in the late 80s. Other sources say that a country the is “friends” with the U.S. sold some to them. A few other sources say they bought with a shell company what we would call spare parts and assembled themselves.

  • Pepe Le Cox

    Interesting, the korean MIG-29 has an upgraded engine? almost no smoke behind

    • Uniform223

      “Interesting, the korean MIG-29 has an upgraded engine? almost no smoke behind”

      Most likely no. Weather conditions do effect how much smoke is visible from engines.

    • Cody3/75

      Almost surely not unless it’s happened in the last year or two.

  • Marco

    All useful stuff over Syria or Libya… unluckily I think Syria and Libya are just out of cash as much as DPRK.

  • Warren Lauzon

    This is what the much more common “on the ground” North Korea tech looks like:

    In case you missed it, they are crank starting the engine…

  • Max Grishin

    Maybe Mi-8T “Hip”? Not “Hind”.

  • Roland Lawrence

    Some classic Russian hardware indeed. Have seen other aero enthusiasts make the trip before to get a ride in old planes like the Il-18 and Tu134. These really are the best preserved examples with low hours.

  • Cássio Amaral

    These ultramodern aircrafts are another proof than North Korea is the best Korea.