All The Highlights Of The Portuguese Air Force 70th Anniversary Airshow

Portuguese Air Force
Some of the aircraft taking part in the 70th anniversary airshow in Beja AB. (All images: David Parody)

To commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Portuguese Air Force an Air Show was held at Base Aerea 11 in Beja, Portugal.

About 50,000 people attended the airshow organized by the Portuguese Air Force to celebrate its 70th anniversary on Jul. 3, 2022. The show, the first for the service in a number of years, also coincided with presence at the base of assets taking part in Exercise Real Thaw, adding to the types of aircraft on the static display, which included 18 USAF F-16CM from Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany as well as French Rafale jets.

Our correspondent, David Parody, went to Beja AB, Portugal, to report for The Aviationist about the airshow.

A mix of static aircraft from the Portuguese Air Force’s current inventory was on show including the Koala Helicopter, C-295, P-3 Orion, Epsilon Trainer and F-16s. The aerial display element of the show included a number of visiting teams.

Portuguese P-3

A Portuguese C130 started things off with a parachute display followed by the venerable P3 Orion making a number of passes including with bay doors open and a feathered engine.

A commando attack using the Koala and EH-101 helicopters which were assisted by a couple of F-16s (including pyros) would have gone down well with the crowd would it not have taken place too far away from where the majority of spectators were located.

Koala and EH-101

The Spanish Air force took part in the airshow with a single Eurofighter display with some excellent high speed passes as well as the Patrulla Aspa helicopter display team. The ASPA display team is always interesting to see as there aren’t that many helicopter displays taking part in the air show circuits.

Patrulla Aspa

The Red Bull Flying Bulls took to the air with a single Alpha Jet.

The Portuguese choice for a tanker aircraft was also flying in the form of a Brazilian Air Force Embraer KC-390 with a good number of low level banking passes to please the crowds.


The RAF’s Anarchy1 Typhoon display team, with its unique colour scheme made a very noisy display and its eye catching livery certainly contrasting well with the azure blue skies in a very hot Beja air base.

RAF Typhoon demo.

Although they may seem uninteresting, the Moroccan “la Marche Verte” take to the air and perform a good part of their display whilst tethered to one another. Once you know this, the display takes on a completely different slant!

La Marche Verte.

A Hi Fly Airbus A340-300 would seem an unlikely participant for a military air show but as this aircraft is based at Beja, it took to the sky for a graceful display which ended up being accompanied by a couple of Portuguese F-16s.

Hi Fly Airbus A340-300

The highlight of the show, however, must go to Dark Viper of the Belgian Air Force. Not only was the livery striking and spectacular but the display itself, which included a number of flare releases and smoke was relentless throughout the duration of the display. The crowd loved it.

Belgian Air Force Dark Viper.

“The PAF is to be congratulated for putting on the show and the organisation that catered for the large influx of visitors. Food and drink was available although wait times at peak lunch time were quite long and shaded areas could have been more widespread. All the cars leaving the air base at the same time led to expected delays but were swiftly and efficiently dealt with by Portuguese authorities”, David Parody commented.

“Overall, a good time was had be those that attended and bodes well for the future.”

More hi-rez photos of the show can be viewed at David’s Flickr here.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.