Black eagles at Gimhae

Last Sunday I gave up my usual lie-in to see a Korean Air Force show. It happily coincided with a visit from Sunah, GaYoung’s friend from Seoul. It should be known that Sunah and GaYoung are massive aviation fans, so they had no problem getting up early in order to get to the air force base for 9am. For me, it was a tougher sell – but I was far from disappointed.

We were able to take the train all the way to the air force base beside Gimhae International Airport. It was an uncharacteristically cold April day, and very windy. But we couldn’t have hoped for bluer skies.

The event began with a bit of good old fashioned pomp and ceremony, with a marching band and some more marching and guns-in-the-air-throwing:





Then we were all asked to sit down on the ground for the big show. Being asked to sit on the ground is a fairly regular occurrence in Korea, and I was glad it was one of those occasions when I was wearing jeans.

We waved goodbye to the pilots as they boarded their planes, and then waited with anticipation for the engines to rev up. Finally, the planes took off and we were treated to something extremely special. The Black Eagles swooped around in perfect coordination, emitting pink, blue and white jets. They formed love hearts and the yin and yang of the Korean flag. They plummeted nose-first to the ground, swooping upwards only at the very last second. They flew towards one another at incredible speed, passing each other with what looked like only inches to spare. I had never seen anything like it, and sat there with my mouth hanging open for the duration.




The Yin and Yang of the Korean flag, which represents harmony and balance


The black eagles flying in formation. Photo: GaYoung Lee


The Black Eagles emitting coloured jets. Photo: GaYoung Lee


Photo: GaYoung Lee


Waiting for landing

I also had some more photos of the pilots before take-off and after landing but it is prohibited to disseminate photos with the structures that were in the background, for reasons of security (North Korea). Reminders that South Korea is a country at war don’t happen all that often. It’s easy to forget this fact, because people are just too busy getting on with life.

After the show we were allowed to have a look inside some military planes. I never knew that the entrance is through the arse of the plane, but there you go.


There’s something about the sight of a push chair outside an air force plane that tickles me.

Before we left the air base we managed to fit in a bit of messing in front of a Korean flag, not to mention a spot of nonchalant posing in front of planes:





Finally, if you’d like to see some life action footage of the air show you can check out this this link to video clip on the Korean news.


About Clare Hartwieg

My name is Clare Hartwieg. I come from Ireland and I'm a GET (Guest English Teacher) at a middle school in South Korea. So far I love Korea. I love the fast pace of life, the food, the bright lights, the warm and generous people – I even love my job! Please follow my blog and share my posts if you are interested in hearing about my adventures in South Korea!
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