East European hardware is always a welcome addition to any UK airshow, and there have been some great examples in 2012 with visits by Polish Air Force MiG-29s to RIAT and the participation of the new Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten also at RIAT and Farnborough.
However, for your author the appearance of a giant Antonov An-124 during the flying display at the RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day was one of the outstanding highlights of the year. An-124s are not uncommon sights at UK military and civilian airfields as they have an almost unique role in transporting outsized cargo. However, the last one that appeared in a flying display did so at the Farnborough in the early 1990’s when the type made it’s western debut.The type has also appeared in RIAT’s static display during a skylift themed show in 1996.
The aircraft that appeared at Yeovilton was on a positioning flight to RAF Brize Norton, but performed a series of flypasts and turns casting its considerable shadow over Yeovilton in complete contrast to the more nimble types in the flying display such as the Lynx Helicopters and various historic types.