Airshow : Arrivals Monday
On Monday already a lot of aircraft arrived for the airshow being held
on Wednesday and Thursday. Most of the aircraft came from other airshows
in Europe. The Belgian and Netherlands F-16's came from Zeltweg in Austria,
just like Turkish Stars and the Saudi Hawks. The Thunderbirds came from
Waddington airshow. All the display teams had some support aircraft
with them as well. Furthermore a Polish W-3 and an Italian EF2000 arrived
on this very sunny and hot day. In the afternoon there was an air-to-air
photo-shoot out of a C-130 of the Belgian F-16 demo aircraft.
Airshow : Arrivals Tuesday
On Tuesday was the main arrival day with most of the time RWY11 in
use. In the afternoon they switched to RWY29 for some arrivals and the
display rehearsals. This nice Tuesday was a very busy day at Koksijde.
Airshow : Support aircraft
Due to the big amount of display teams at the airshow, a lot of support
aircraft visited Koksijde. The Americans brought 2 C-17's of which one
remained at Koksijde during the airshow. The Saudi hawks had 2 C-130H-30
Hercules with them in a beautiful yellow coat with a blue tail. Turkish
Stars were supported by 3 C-160D transalls of which one was in special
Turkish Stars colours. The Polish Team Iskra got support of a Polish
C-130E. On the show days the commentator of the Red Arrows was brought
to Koksijde in a hawk, as the Red Arrows operated from Manston airport
in the UK. On Monday a RAF Tornado GR.4 came to Koksijde with some spares
for a Tornado that went sick during the airshow.
Airshow : Rehearsals
On every airshow, each display pilot has to show its display to the
display director before the airshow starts. The display director can
then decide whether it’s a safe display for his airshow. For the
display pilots it’s good to perform the display before the show
starts, so that they can get used to the local layout of the airshow.
Display rehearsals were on Monday and Tuesday.
Airshow : Wrecks and Relics
One of the themes at the airshow was the 65th anniversary of the Belgian
Air Force. For this occasion most of the aircraft that were in service
in the Belgian Air Force could be seen on the airshow. An F-104 and
Mirage V were moved from the Evere headquarters in Brussels to Koksijde
after they were restored and being repainted. The beautifully restored
Fouga Magister MT49 was on the airshow as well as one of the travel
exhibit F-16's. Off course the Sikorsky HSS.1 B4/OT-ZKD stored at Koksijde
could not be missed on the show.
Airshow : 6 - 7 July 2011
In the static display some really special aircraft could be found.
The Polish Navy sent a Mi-8MTV based at Gdynia/Babie Doly, which is
very rare to see outside Poland, if not the first time... The Estonian
Air Force came with an AN-2 which is a long way from home for this aircraft.
The Ukraine Air Force came with a AN-30 used for transport and Open
Skies missions. As the 40th anniversary of the Alouette III in the Belgian
Air Force was celebrated, some foreign Alouette III operators supported
the airshow. The Netherlands Air Force participated in the static display
and the Austrian Air Force in the static display as well as the flying
display. To see an aircraft overview, click
Airshow : OPS-zone
We got the chance to make a visit in the operational zone of the airshow.
This is the zone from where the aircraft operate for the flying displays.
Most of this was located south of the runway, some helicopters were
on the aprons north of the runway close to the public area. Nice line-ups
of the display teams could be made during the visit.
Airshow : Flying display part 1
In this first part we cover some of the British participants. The Royal
Air Force had sent over 2 Tornado GR.4's to demonstrate a Role demonstration.
This is a demonstration of the task this aircraft has been built for:
ground attacks. Other RAF displays came from the Tucano and Beech King
Air 200, both used for training. The sole flying Lancaster in this part
of the world was being demonstrated by the Battle of Brittain Memorial
Flight based in Coningsby. And off course the Red Arrows could not be
missed at the airshow. The Middle Eastern counterpart of the Red Arrows,
the Saudi Hawks, displayed for the first time in Belgium. To open the
show, a formation of 6 Belgian Air Force Alpha jets came over the airfield,
making the Belgian flag into the skies. A demonstration of the A.109
agusta was being shown, as well as our Belgian display team, the Red
Devils. The Netherlands Air Force displayed their Orange Lion, the AH-64D
apache had to cancel the display due to a technical issue.
Airshow : Flying display part 2
Turkish stars came to Koksijde for the first time with their very nice
NF-5 Freedom Fighters and their handsome pilots ;-). As one of the themes
was the 65th anniversary of the Belgian Air Force some mixed formations
were shown to the public. There was a formation of a C-130 and DC-3
dakota, as well as the F-16 with a spitfire. A Dutch Hunter, a French
Fouga Magister and a British Meteor displayed were being display, as
these aircraft types were in service in the Belgian Air Force in the
past. The QRA F-16's intercepted the Belgian Air Force A-330 overhead
the airfield to demonstrate a scramble. Off course no Koksijde airshow
without a SAR demo of the famous Sea King. A very nice and special display
came from the Austrian Air Force with their Alouette III. The French
Air Force demonstrated their Alpha Jet in a beautiful special livery
for the very last time.
Airshow : Flying display part 3
This last part shows the display of the USAF Thunderbirds. This was
not the first time they displayed at Koksijde, but the first time they
actually landed at the airfield itself. This very impressive team with
6 F-16C Fighting Falcons really showed the public what precision flying
is all about. On Wednesday the displays started later so the show could
end in a perfect sunset show. Patrouille de France and the Swiss Air
Force F/A-18C Hornet could perform in perfect sunset conditions! The
glider demonstration of GliderFX and the two twisters of the SWIP team
were great to see with their pyrotechnics during the sunset. And our
Belgian F-16 display pilot Michel "Mitch" Beulen closed the
show at 22h00 with his magnificent demonstration.
Airshow : Departures
On Friday most of the participants left Koksijde back home or to another
airshow for the next weekend. To witness the departures, Koksijde airbase
organised a spotters day. The photographers were positioned in the middle
of the action near the tower. On Saturday only 4 F-16C's from the Thunderbirds
returned back to the states as one of the other group of 4 had a technical
issue. The second group then departed on Sunday. On Wednesday the 13th
of July the last participants left Koksijde to Fairford in the UK: the
Koksijde : January
The first month of the year started really calm this time. On the 18th
a Gütersloh based Lynx AH.7 refuelled en-route to Wattisham for
maintenance. The crew returned on the 21th with another Lynx AH.7. On
the 26th we could welcome a C-130 again which did 2 missions out of
Koksijde. On the 28th a Woensdrecht based PC-7 came to Koksijde for
a touch and go on RWY11, but had to watch out for the birds.
Koksijde : February
On the 7th three French Air Force Alpha jets based at Tours made an
instrument approach. Unfortunately none of them came low over the airfield
and the weather that day was perfect IFR weather unfortunately... One
day later a C-130 came to Koksijde for some training. Weather conditions
were perfect and it was nice to see some hercules activity again at
Koksijde : March
On the first day of the month, a Belgian Air Force Alpha Jet performed
one touch and go, which has become rare in Belgium nowadays. On the
15th of March a Yeovilton based Royal Navy Lynx HMA.8 took some gas
to continue to De Kooy in Holland. On the same day, marchetti ST03 in
Hardship Red colour scheme arrived at Koksijde to be repainted in Red
Devils colours. This year the Hardship Red team will be renamed after
the famous Belgian display team, the Red Devils. On the 29th three agusta
helicopters arrived late afternoon and departed after dark for a night
mission back to Beauvechain. The same day 2 Mirage F-1CR based at Reims
came overhead during a recce mission.
Koksijde : April
On the 14th of March, marchetti ST03 was ready after its paintjob into
Red Devils colours and departed back to Beauvechain. On the 8th of April
the Dutch minister of defence announced a big defence cut for the next
years. This resulted in the retirement of the complete Cougar fleet
(except for 3 helicopters that will be kept for fire fighting operations).
As the retirement would already be one month later, the visit of 2 Cougars
on the 26th of April was probably the last time we see these helicopters
at Koksijde. Later they decided the will keep 9 helicopters in service
until the new NH-90's will be delivered.
Koksijde : May
On the 9th the annual crash exercise was being held. The setup for
the exercise was a crash on the airfield during the F-16 display. Therefore
the Belgian display pilot Michel "Mitch" Beulen performed
its display rehearsal over the airfield. A wreck of an F-16 fuselage
was put on the old runway to simulate the wreck after the crash. On
the last day of the month, three Royal Navy Sea King HC.4's based at
Yeovilton refuelled at Koksijde. One of them had a very nice arctic
camouflage scheme. Late afternoon that day the first Netherlands Air
Force NH-90NFH came to Koksijde with the Belgian IP Jo "Bal"
Koksijde : June
Some nice British visitors could be catched this month. On the 9th
2 Royal Navy Lynx HMA.8 refueled at Koksijde, of which one was in the
"Black Cats" display colourscheme. On the 14th the 3 Royal
Navy Sea King HC.4's returned again via Koksijde. Another nice visitor
was a Netherlands Air Force Alouette III from Gilze Rijen. A-292 came
twice this month to get some fuel. Some civil aircraft specialised in
aerial mapping joined at Koksijde for a combined exercise from the 14th
till the 27th of June.
Koksijde : July
The beginning of the month was very busy because of the airshow. To
bring a pilot for the broken F-16AM FA87 in a stunning tiger scheme,
F-16BM FB23 landed at Koksijde on the 12th of July. On the 13th a German
Army CH-53G refuelled en-route to Fairford for the RIAT. On the 25th,
a Czech Air Force MI-171Sh made a night stop on its way back from the
helicopter show in Weston-Super-Mare in the UK. A Czech Mi-35 attack
helicopter made a low pass over the airfield on request of the tower,
which was a very nice sight!
Koksijde : August
In August some Chinooks based at Gilze Rijen in Holland came to Koksijde
for a lunch stop. On the 2nd three British Army Lynx AH.7 refuelled
at Koksijde during their navigation flight to Germany. They came back
on the next day. On the 9th three Karup based Danish Air Force Fennics
refuelled at Koksijde. These helicopters are not seen very often in
Belgium and returned back to Denmark on the 11th again via Koksijde.
Koksijde : September
On the 14th the Royal Navy "Black Cats" helicopter display
team refuelled at Koksijde on their way to the Netherlands Air Force
open-days in Leeuwarden. Two of the helicopters wore the special Black
Cats display scheme. After Leeuwarden they went to Sanicole for the
airshow. They refuelled again at Koksijde on their way back home on
the 19th. On the 15th a Culdrose based Royal Navy Sea King HU.5 refuelled
at Koksijde as well en-route to the Leeuwarden airshow. On the 28th
three Danish Air Force Fennics refuelled after a navigation flight to
Koksijde : October
October was a very calm month. The only noteworthy visitor was a Cobham
Flight Precision Beech King Air 200 that came to Koksijde to calibrate
the TACAN and PAR radar.
Koksijde : November
On the 8th three Beauvechain based A.109 agusta's refuelled at Koksijde
en-route to the UK for a navigation flight. They returned one day later.
The 24th was a busy day with a lunch stop of 4 SF.260D marchetti's.
It was nice weather and one was wearing the special colours to celebrate
the 40th anniversary of the marchetti.
Koksijde : December
December was dominated by the Netherlands Air Force and Navy. On the
6th a SH-14D Lynx of the Netherlands Navy visited Koksijde for the last
time. They came from a ship and departed to De Kooy after taking some
gas. The Lynx had some "Obelix" stickers attached which they
get during a ship deployment. The Lynx will be taken out of service
in September 2012 and only 3 remain active during 2012. On the 12th,
four PC-7's from Woensdrecht came to Koksijde for a lunch stop on a
very sunny day.
Sea King - 2011
This is a selection of pictures taken in 2011 of the Sea King MK.48
of the 40th Sqn based at Koksijde. These pictures were made during normal
training missions at Koksijde and surroundings.