Koksijde 2017

Koksijde : January

On the first flying day of the year, two Kleine Brogel based F-16's came for a formation approach in some nice winter light. On the 4th, the awesome tiger painted F-16 and a double seater F-16 flew over en-route to the UK. They landed at RAF Valley and before returning back to Belgium they passed through the famous "Mach-loop" which resulted in very nice pictures. This was one of the last flights of this nicely painted F-16 before being repainted in SABCA after some modifications. On the 17th during the afternoon and in the evening, two 18 Sqn NH-90MTH came to Koksijde with several crews for cargosling training. On the 24th three RAF Chinooks flew over Koksijde on their way to Groningen. There they made a fuelstop and they continued their journey to Norway for their winter training. On the 30th a Dutch PC-7 based at Woensdrecht made two IFR approaches, unfortunately during very dull weather conditions. Thanks for the friendly wave of the instructor.

Koksijde : February

On the 13th a C-130 made four IFR approaches in perfect weather conditions after a test flight. The next day two A.109 helicopters from Beauvechain did a local night flight and left for their home base again after taking some fuel. A third one made a fuel stop during daylight. The 15th was another day with some action: an A.109 paid a visit to Koksijde, but this time just for a quick stop. Two Kleine Brogel F-16's made a VFR approach on RWY11 in excellent weather conditions which resulted in very nice pictures. Later that day a Marchetti made a full stop and taxied back to the runway via the taxiway close to the aero club. On the 22nd a Woensdrecht based Royal Netherlands Air Force PC-7 made a fuel stop during a training flight.

Koksijde : March

On the first day of the month, four Royal Navy Wildcat HMA.2 made a fuel stop at Koksijde on their way back to their home base in Yeovilton (UK) from winter training in Norway. The Wildcat is the successor of the Lynx which served the Royal Navy and Army for many years. This was the first time these new helicopters visited Koksijde. On the 7th three RAF Chinooks, based at Odiham, passed over Koksijde on their way back from Norway from their winter training. They passed over Koksijde on their way to Norway on the 24th of January. On the 9th and 21st one MD520N from the Federal Police helicopter support unit used BKOKS for some basic training exercises. It was very nice to see another type of helicopter using our base for training. They came back on several other days later this month for fuel stops during surveillance flights over several bicycle races in the neighborhood. The same day the Cessna from the Federal Police came for a visit and one A.109 made a local flight out of Koksijde. On the 20th the fourth and last NH-90NFH was being delivered from the Airbus helicopter factory in Donauworth. On the 22nd and 24th ST46 visited Koksijde and is painted now in the new grey. So another marchetti that lost its yellow jacket. On the 23rd a French Alpha Jet made an IFR approach on its way from Eindhoven back to Cazaux. On Sunday the 26th, the four Piper PA.28 from the formation team "The Victors" arrived at Koksijde. They made some passes over the bicycle race "4-daagse van De Panne-Koksijde" on the 30th. Also Ecureuil OO-HSK fueled several times while filming the bicycle race.

Koksijde : April and May

April was a very calm month with only a handful of visitors. On the 5th, the Citation of the Dutch Aerospace and Aeronautics Centre came in for a night stop to calibrate the PAR the next day. For the rest of the month only some crossers and some marchetti's came to Koksijde for practice approaches. The month of May was luckily a bit busier then April. On the 3rd four B-Hunter UAV aircraft from 80 Sqn UAV based at Florennes, arrived for a two month deployment. On the 9th and 17th a Dutch PC-7 from 131 Sqn EMVO at Woensdrecht came for an IFR practice approach. On the 9th four Royal Danish Air Force Fennics flew along the coastline from Ostend direction France. On the 29th there was a fire in the dunes of De Panne and because the firefighters could not reach the spot with their trucks, the MD902 from the Federal Police support unit was called to stop the fire with their bambi bucket. They filled up their bucket at the "3 vijvers" in Adinkerke, and came in for fuel after the job was finished. On the 30th three French Air Force Alpha jets made an IFR approach on their way to Beauvechain. On the 29th the helicopter exercise THPU (Tactical Helicopter Procedures Unit) started at Beauvechain and lasts until the 9th of June. Participants are two Czech Mi-35 Hinds and one Mi-17 Hip and two French pumas and two gazelles. On the 31st a Mi-35 guided by an A.109 passed over Veurne and De Panne and left via the coastline back to Beauvechain.

Koksijde : June

June was a busy month at Koksijde. The deployed B-Hunter UAV's flew almost daily due to the good weather conditions. Like in May, some helicopters participating the THPU helicopter exercise, flew over Koksijde during navigation flights. On the 2nd a Czech Mi-35 Hind in formation with an A.109 flew over and later on a French Puma in formation with an A.109. On the 8th again a Hind and A.109 came to say hello. On the 9th and 14th the Britten Norman Islander of the Belgian Coastguard made a full stop landing for the annual check of their survival gear. After that the C-130 fleet was grounded for 3 weeks, the C-130's started to take the skies again, and a lot of check flights were made along the coastline on high altitude. Mostly they came to Koksijde afterwards to shoot some approaches. This was the case on the 16th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 26th and 29nd. On the 20th two Kleine Brogel F-16's made a base attack at Koksijde which is always nice to see. On the longest day of the year, two MD902 from the Federal Police made a fuel stop late in the evening after an exercise in the harbor of Zeebrugge. The visitors of the month were two Cazaux based French Alpha jets that made a full stop landing on the 27th! In the afternoon they taxied via taxiway S3 to the holding RWY11 which is very close to the fence. As the build-up of the Belgian Aerobatics Championship event was going on we could even come closer, and they liked it a lot. The second pilot even posed in front of the photographers and said goodbye with the airbrakes and lights. I hope they will visit Koksijde again in the future! On the 30th the Belgian Red Devils arrived for the Belgian Aerobatics Championship event and flew daily several demonstrations. F-16AM FA94 painted in tiger colors made a pass overhead on its way to Geilenkirchen for the opendoor.

Koksijde : July

July was a busy month and we had some fuelstoppers on route to various airshows in the United Kingdom. The 32 Sqn Royal Flight A.109SP of the Royal Air Force passed twice over Koksijde. The first time to Brussels and back on the 3rd, and the second time to Wevelgem on the 30th for the 100th anniversary of the Passendale battle. On the 7th a Netherlands Air Force NH-90NFH made a fuelstop on its way to Yeovilton for the annual Air Day. On the 10th two Royal Navy Merlin HC.3 made a fuelstop on their way back home from training in Norway. During departure one of the helicopters had a malfunction and both taxied back to the apron via the S3 taxiway near the West Aviation Club house. Very impressive to see these large helicopters from so close! On the 12th some F-16's passed over Koksijde during the training flight for the Defile over Brussels on the national holiday. A German Navy Sea King MK.41 made again a fuelstop on route to the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford. It's always nice to see these at Koksijde. On Thursday before and Monday after the Air Tattoo two special painted F-16's from Kleine Brogel and Florennes passed overhead. On the 28th three A.109's from the 1st Wing at Beauvechain arrived and stayed till Monday 31st to fulfill the Quick Reaction Alert helicopter (QRH) for the festivities at Ieper and Passendale to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this important battle during the first World War. During the month we also had several F-16, marchetti's and A.109's for practice approaches.

Koksijde : August

August started a bit slow but got more interesting in the second half of the month with some visitors for the opendoor. F-16's from Kleine Brogel, and even Florennes, found Koksijde again and came some times for training approaches. On the 11th a Dutch PC-7 made some IFR approaches and followed by a lunch stop. After lunch they did some aerobatic maneuvers over the airfield and left with a nice low pass back to Woensdrecht!! On the 15th an Irish Air Corps AW.139 passed overhead on its way to Liege for maintenance at the Agusta Westland facilities. On the 18th a Hip and Hind of the Czech Air Force made a nice low pass over the runway on their way to Biggin Hill in the UK for the airshow over there. They came back on the 22nd, but had to circle navigate the airfield due to paradroppings in the neighborhood. On the 21st a Piper Cup of the Belgian Air Cadets made two touch and goes, which is a very rare visitor at Koksijde. On the 22nd an A.109 made some local pleasure flights with the winners of a game organized by the 4-daagse van de Ijzer. On the 23rd an A.109, two F-16's and the Red Devils came for the opendoor. On the 24th the Red Devils did a display over sea in front of Lombardsijde and came back to Koksijde to take some fuel before leaving back to Beauvechain. The B-Hunter UAV's arrived back at Koksijde for a second deployment this year on the 24th. On the last day of the month two Cazaux based French Air Force alpha jets made an IFR approach on their way back to France after a visit at Beauvechain.

Arrival NH-90NFH RN04

On the 20th of March, the fourth and last NH-90NFH arrived at Koksijde after a 3hr flight from the Airbus Helicopter facilities at Donauworth in Germany. The helicopter was already officially being handed over to the Belgian Air Force in 2016, but an upgrade to the radar system of the helicopter delayed its delivery with 18 months. This is the first of the four helicopters that has a fully capable radar system. The other three helicopters will have to go back to the Airbus Helicopter facilities to undergo a 600hrs inspection and the radar upgrade.

Belgian Open Aerobatics Championship 2017

For the second time the Belgian Open Aerobatics Championship was being held at Koksijde. This year 13 pilots participated with 6 aircraft flying in 3 disciplines. The aircraft arrived on Thursday and made some practice runs on Friday. During the weekend luckily the weather cleared up in the afternoon so they could fly their routines. Winners were Kristof Cloetens in the Unlimited class, Wim Soens in the Advanced class and Benoit Dierickx in the Sportsman class. Congratulations to all!

Open Door West Aviation Club

Parallel with the Belgian Open Aerobatics Championship 2017 the West Aviation Club invited some other guests and organized an open-door. On Friday the Belgian Air Force Red Devils arrived and flew several times during the weekend. On Saturday the Victors formation team flying with 4 PA.28 Pipers arrived and flew on both days. Wingwalker Danielle came all the way from Switzerland with her Boeing Stearman to perform a spectacular display. On Sunday afternoon the Sea King did a SAR demo and the MUG Heli from the hospital in Bruges did a couple of nice fly-by's before departing back to Bruges.