TALLINN - Whether you're an airplane freak who's seen "Top Gun" 60 times or just an average person whose only flying experience has been a cramped seat in economy class, you're sure to be dazzled - or at least made slightly nervous - if you manage to catch the Tallinn Airshow, happening this May 29 - 30.
Will it be worth getting out of bed on a weekend morning to see? If size matters, then definitely. Tonis Lepp, a Copterline pilot and the press representative for the show's organizer, the Estonian Private Pilot's Association, promises that the show will be on a scale that's never been seen in the country, both in the size of the program and the calibre of the acts involved.
Topping the list of main attractions will be the Lithuanian stunt pilot Jurgis Kairys, an award winning daredevil flier who actually built the SU-26 he uses in the show.
"Jurgis Kairys is really a legendary acrobatic flier," said Lepp. "He's not crazy, but I can say he's one of the best acrobatics guys in the world."
Another big draw will be the Air Bandits, an acrobatic team, also from Lithuania, who will be flying YAK-52 aircraft in formation and performing extreme maneuvers.
Naturally, all the classic air show elements will be on offer - more formation flights are on the program, a historic DC3 will be lumbering around with its loud props buzzing, and a military flyover is expected.
And there will be a show with a "wingwalker," which is just what it sounds like - someone who has difficulty understanding the "fasten seatbelt" sign.
For those tired of stretching their necks upward, there will be plenty to see on the ground as well. Over 50 aircraft will be available to tour, bands like Blacky, Blind, The Rockin' Guys and Justament will be playing, and there will be food and drink for the crowd. Organizers are making special efforts to cater to kids, with special activities and tours aimed at the younger visitors.
Thousands of spectators are expected to make the 28-kilometer trip from the capital out to the town of Piibe, where the event actually takes place, but this is the kind of event where capacity is never a problem.
One thing that might be though is the weather, which is why the program for each of the two days is nearly identical. It's hoped that at least one day will have weather decent enough to hold the whole program, which can be seen in
detail in English at
To get there from Tallinn, take the highway toward Narva, and then turn right on the road to Aegviidu, about 20 kilometers out of town.
Tickets are only good for one day, so make sure you pick the one with the right weather. Presale tickets through Piletilevi or Piletipunkt outlets cost 90 kroons (5.75 euros), tickets at the gate are 125 kroons. o
May 29: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
May 30: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.