Aerial Firefighting 2021 Estonia

As the global pandemic caused havoc with the European aerospace conference circuit for another year, Tangent Link, the company that hosts  Aerial Firefighting shows in both Europe and the United States were faced with a difficult decision, cancel the show for another year in Europe or find a suitable location that would fit the needs of the convention, and provide the ability for show participants to conduct business without the severe restrictions placed on conventions in other countries during the pandemic.

The show floor that featured around twenty vendors was well received by both attendees and vendors at the event.

That responsibility rested with Tangent Link Managing Director John Longhurst and his professional staff, who relocated the show to the coastal city of Tallinn, Estonia, for the 2021 show, which was hosted at the Kulkutel Conference Center in Tallinn. The venue, centered around a decommissioned steam plant for Tallinn, offered a unique experience for conference attendees used to the endless hallways and beige walls of a standard format convention center. 

The smaller size of this years event gave vendors the ability to have longer and more insightful conversations with potential customers at the rustic Kukutel event venue in Tallinn.

While the show was smaller than previous years due to the pandemic, it was regarded by many that spoke to AerialFire as one of the best they have attended. Quoting reasons including the smaller size and the ability to host meetings on-site and conduct business that is often more complex to achieve in a larger show environment. 

This years show featured a record number of delegations from foreign countries with a need for aerial firefighting such as the Saudi Arabian contingent that stopped by the AerialFire booth to learn more about the publication.

The conference content was also well received as speakers from the global aerial firefighting industry, businesses, and organizations hosted dozens of well-attended sessions well received by the diverse audience. According to Tangent Link, this year’s attendees consisted of the most significant number of delegations from countries around the world in the show’s history. 

Attendees were treated to a packed schedule of sessions throughout the show that included both presentations and round table discussions on all things aerial firefighting related.

Breaks from the conference schedule enabled delegations and other attendees to visit with businesses that exhibited at the show, with many companies commenting on the show’s success in not just hosting a convention during the pandemic but making it a show that provided many opportunities for businesses.

A decommissioned Estonian submarine was the centerpiece of the final night event concluding the conference.

Aerial Firefighting 2021 concluded with an event hosted by Tangent Link at the Tallinn Seaplane Harbor. This unique event venue surprised attendees upon entrance with a full-sized submarine housed within the event venue. The EML Lembit is one of two Kalev Class submarines that served as mine-laying subs in World War II and was the oldest serving submarine in the world until its retirement in 2011, where it was then placed as a museum piece in the seaplane harbor venue where the event was hosted and served as a backdrop to the show’s finale, featuring live music, dinner and the announcement of an additional show being added to the 2022 calendar. Tangent Link will also be hosting an Aerial Firefighting show in Nimes, France, in May of 2022 and the show in San Diego in March. This show will encompass search and rescue and aerial firefighting, hosted May 18-20, 2022.

Tangent Link’s Managing Director John Longhurst addresses the attendees at the conclusion of the final night event in Tallinn.

Although the logistics and obstacles for hosting the 2021 show in Estonia were great, Tangent Link deserves to be commended on their hosting of the show and executing a well-planned event that was viewed as one of the best in recent history by many attendees.


Ryan Mason
Ryan Mason
Ryan is an accomplished writer and aerial photographer that has worked in the aviation industry for over a decade before co-founding AerialFire Magazine. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Ryan is a former police officer that focuses his writing and photography efforts on para-public operations and agricultural aviation.

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