RISSALA AB, the home of the Finnish Air Force MiGs, held its annual open day in May and for the first time the event was extended to include an evening airshow. The static display featured all the types operated by KarLsto (Karelian Wing) HavLLv 31 (Fighter Squadron 31). The Valmet Vinka, BAe Hawk Mk 51 and MiG-21b/s gave flying displays, and during the afternoon — between the open day and the airshow — all those displaying practised their routines.
The F-15 made its debut in Finland — two F-15Cs, 84-0005 and 80-0004, both coded ‘SP’ from the USAFE’s 52nd FW flew from Spangdahlem, Germany for the static display. Two Saab JA37 Viggens came from Sweden and two F-16s from Norway. The Norwegian support plane, a Twin Otter, was also in the static line-up. All the Finnish Air Force types were included in the static display.
The Eagles and Fishbeds had to communicate with each other via the control tower, because the F-15Cs use UHF frequencies and the MiGs use VHF. This did not present any problems and upon arrival at Rissala an F-15C and MiG-2 lb/s formation flew several passes over the field. Swedish Viggens and the Norwegian F-16s also flew in formation with the MiGs providing a rare chance to see these types flying together.
The Finnish Air Force F/A-18D also made its first public appearance at the show with two Hornets present, one in the static and one flying. The highlight of the show was an excellent MiG-2 Ibis solo display flown by Capt Olli Kauppila.
The type will be withdrawn from service at the end of 1997, so MiG displays will soon become a rarity in Finland. A crowd of 15,000 enjoyed the show and everyone is hoping that the evening displays will be staged again next spring.