European aviators mark annual rally by flying to Georgia

  • The organisational team for the 2016 Memorial Hans Gutmann Rally to Georgia. Photo from, 21 Jul 2016 - 14:43, Tbilisi,Georgia

A group of European aviation enthusiasts will fly more than a dozen private aircraft to Georgia next month to promote the country as a new general flight destination in Europe.

Under the 2016 edition of the Memorial Hans Gutmann Rally, 36 individuals will board 14 small airplanes to cover about 2,500 NM distance from their departure point in Hungary to Georgia.

The pilots from Luxembourg, Turkey, Italy, France, Germany and other European states will fly private aircraft, while their families will arrive in Georgia via regular airline flights.

Flying from the Jakabszallas airfield in Hungary's south, the group of aviators will navigate Serbian and Bulgarian airspace before hugging Turkey's northern Black Sea coast on their way to Georgia's seaside city Batumi.

The pilots will arrive in Georgia on August 7 before visiting regions of the country. Photo from

The annual flight has been held since 2013 to pay homage to the late Austrian aviator Hans Gutmann, organiser of international flights over decades who died in plane crash in 2011. It is organised by the World Air Sports Federation (FAI) General Aviation Commission and Union of Luxembourger Pilots (UPL).

The project has involved shorter European destinations for its initial editions, but will now stage a long-range group flight landing in Batumi on August 7.

The group of aviators will then settle at the Natakhtari airfield 25km north of Tbilisi before staging tours to the capital and various regions of the country.

The pilots and their crews will commence the return trip to Europe by departing Georgia on August 13.

The trip will see 36 individuals from a number of European states gathering in Hungary before their travel to Georgia. Photo from the Memorial Hans Gutmann Tourist Rally/Facebook.

The rally has already received public attention in Luxembourg, where the national television RTL presented a report on the event.

The local newspaper Le Journal also reported about the new destination of the annual event in an article last week.

The Georgian edition of the rally launched last year when Luxembourger motor and glider pilot Peter Sodermans met the State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Georgia David Bakradze in Tbilisi to discuss the idea.

State Minister David Bakradze explained [to] us that he sees the benefits of having the general aviation developed in his country," Sodermans told reporters after the formal meeting.

Organisers of the rally also met with officials and experts of the Georgian Civil Aviation Agency to discuss subjects including availability of rentable aircraft in Georgia and specifics of licensed flight in the country.

A year on from the initial meetings, the 2016 Memorial Hans Gutmann Rally will now chart the long trip to bring the aviators from Eastern Europe to Georgia.