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Slovakian jet trainer confirmed for Waddington Air Show

Another country has confirmed its attendance of the annual Waddington International Air Show this year.

Joining nine other confirmed countries will be the returning Slovak Air Force, demonstrating its L-39CM CM Albatross jet trainer.

The aircraft has also been especially painted this year to celebrate the life of Squadron Leader Otto Smík, who fled Slovakia at the onset of the Second World War to became one of the most successful combatants among Czechoslovakian pilots who served in the Royal Air Force.

Not all Slovaks welcomed the news of Czechoslovakia becoming an independent state after Greman occupation in 1939, and this included Smík’s family.

The Slovak Air Force's L-39CM CM Albatross jet trainer. Photo: RAF Waddington
The Slovak Air Force’s L-39CM CM Albatross jet trainer. Photo: RAF Waddington

He fled to England in 1940 and joined 312 Sqn RAF, flying the Hurricane and Spitfire. He claimed 13 confirmed kills of enemy aircraft during his service.

In June 1944, Smík’s squadron was part of the support for the D-Day Landings.

Smík was killed later that year, aged 22, after his damaged aircraft crashed on landing.

The Albatross will be supported at the air show by a Let410, a type not often seen in the UK, which will be on static display.

Mr Paul Sall, the Air Show Director said: “We are thrilled to welcome the Slovak Air Force back to RAF Waddington, particularly with such a poignant tribute that will remind us all of the bravery of all forces personnel involved in the D-Day Landings operation.”

The air show will run on July 5 and 6, and ticket sales are already seeing a 30% increase from last year.

Waddington Air Show aims to raise understanding of the RAF and its role, with proceeds donated to force and local charities.

Since conception in 1995, the show has donated over £3.3 million to the RAF Benevolent Fund, RAF Association and other worthy causes.