The whirr of helicopter blades over Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia are no cause for alarm – the military has begun rehearsals for flypasts on May 6, the country’s army day.
The Defence Ministry said that one Mi-17 helicopter will carry out low-altitude training flights on May 4 and May 5, between 10am and 11am, as well as in the afternoon, between 2pm and 3pm. The May 6 military parade will be from 10am to 11pm.
The current plans envision the helicopter flying low over the parade with a Bulgarian flag attached to it, a repeat of the flypast for the May 6 2014 parade.
Last year, the now-departed socialist-led administration of Plamen Oresharski decided to showcase the air force’s fighter jets – ageing Soviet-made MiG aircraft – as part of the parade, which led to a week-long barrage of jet engines over Sofia (including at hours outside those stipulated by the defence ministry at the time).
In the end, the parade included only one Soviet-made Mi-17 helicopter, with poor weather blamed for the decision to exclude the fighter jets from the flypasts.
(Mi-17 helicopter used by Bulgarian air forces. Photo: KGG1951/Wikimedia Commons)