Koksijde Fly-inThe second edition of Koksijde Fly-in was held on the traditional airshow weekend, 4 and 5 July 2015. On Friday the weather was great with sun all day long and high temperatures so all the planned aircraft could come in safe. On Saturday morning it was even hotter, but around noon the weather changed into a mix of clouds and sun. Unfortunately the weather on Sunday was not good with rain from 13h00 till 16h00 which frightened a lot of visitors and pilots to come to the Fly-in. In the evening the sky turned blue again with bright sunshine. A lot of participants arrived on Friday already so the visitors already had some aircraft to look at when arriving on Saturday morning. Highlights were the Royal Netherlands Air Force Historical Flight B-25 Mitchell and Spitfire. The Spitfire was flown by Capt. Ralph "Sheik" Aarts which was the RNLAF F-16 Demo Team pilot from 2007 till 2009, so he knew Koksijde very well. Another great participant was the La Ferté-Alais based Ju-52 which arrived a bit later than planned after a precautionary landing at Lille-Lesquin due to engine troubles. The Duxford based Catalina came back and did some flights, as well as the AN-2. Other interesting aircraft were a T-28 Trojan, a P-51 Mustang, two Yak 52, an O-2A, a T-6 Harvard, a SC-7 skyvan and the OV-10B Bronco.
Open DoorOn Wednesday August 26, Koksijde airbase opened its doors wide open from 13h00 till 17h00. The Opendoor which attracted lots of people was mainly organized around the based helicopters. This little event was not only a static show but there were some things to see in the air as well. One F-16 did a CAS (close air support) demonstration and did some nice passes before heading back to Florennes. As the NH-90 took over the SAR duties from the Sea King on Monday August 24, it was their moment to show off with a SAR demo. Unfortunately no SAR demo anymore with the Sea King, but luckily it did a flight with some youngsters that won a game on the website of Belgian Defence. On the ground two Sea Kings, one NH-90, one Alouette III and one A.109 could be seen from up close. Belgian Air Force public relations brought their F-16 and A.109 travel exhibit so people could have a seat in it. Even though it was not as big and spectacular as with the airshows in the past, it was nice to be on the airbase again.
Koksijde : JanuaryTraditionally in the beginning of the year we have some F-16's for some approaches and this year was no exception. On the 7th one of the two MD520N's from the Federal Police came by for a visit on a very sunny morning. In the afternoon F-16AM FA123 came for an approach in a clean configuration which is rare at Koksijde. The aircraft was flying in this configuration to test the aircraft to be the F-16 solo-display aircraft this year. On the 26th a marchetti and PC-7 came to Koksijde for some training approaches and on the 30th two F-16's came to Koksijde for some visual patterns.
Koksijde : FebruaryOn the 2nd a C-130 made four approaches which is always a very welcome visitor. After Koksijde they continued their training mission to Ostend. On the 6th the sole grey Marchetti in the Belgian Air Force made one touch and go on RWY11 in glorious sunshine. On the 17th two Belgian Alpha Jets made an overshoot over the airfield at 1000ft en-route to the sea for a navigation flight, a very seldom sight here in Belgium as they are based in Cazaux in France. On the 19th one of the two MD520N's of the Federal Police made a quick stop in the morning. On the last flying day of the month a NH-90MTH of Beauvechain made one IFR approach at Koksijde.
Koksijde : MarchThis month we had a C-130 again on the 10th for some training approaches, this time in excellent weather conditions. We all hope to see these mighty transport planes more often again in the future. The next day, the Chief Of Defence (CHOD) visited Koksijde with the grey Marchetti ST44. They made a nice approach on RWY11. On the 23rd MD902 G-12 from the Air Support Unit of the Federal Police arrived at Koksijde to be repainted after its upgrade from MD900. Later that day a C-130 made some training approaches again. On the 27th a NH-90MTH and Marchetti ST48 from the 1W in Beauvechain, visited Koksijde for a lunch stop. This is the second Marchetti painted in grey and left the paint shop only a couple of days before its visit to Koksijde.
Koksijde : AprilTraditionally at the beginning of April the helicopter to film the bicycle race "Driedaagse De Panne - Koksijde" made some fuel stops again. On the first day of the month a very rare visitor came to Koksijde for an approach, this time it was a Nancy based Mirage 2000D! On the second day two marchetti's made a full stop landing while a third one made a touch and go. As this wasn't enough, C-130 CH10 made a low approach during its test flight. On the 8th the special painted Alpha Jet AT29 made a low approach en-route to Beauvechain where it was in static display for the recruitment event "Fly To Your Dream". On the 9th and the 10th some F-16's made it to Koksijde for some approaches. On the 13th again two marchetti's and the very rare Cessna 182 of the Federal Police made a full stop landing! The Cessna came back on the 24th. On the 16th, again a C-130 came to Koksijde for some approaches, this time it was CH13 which came in late afternoon. On the 20th three B-Hunter UAV's arrived for their annual deployment. And on the 28th Cobham Flight Inspection came to Koksijde to calibrate the navigation aids.
Koksijde : MayThe deployed B-Hunter UAV aircraft flew most of the days a local mission of a couple of hours. On the 8th two Dutch Chinooks passed overhead en-route to Carlisle. The 3rd Chinook had technical problems and flew over the airfield on the 12th to join the two other Chinooks during their annual training in the UK. On Monday the 18th, two Royal Air Force Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS) Squirrels made a fuel stop in Koksijde during their navigation training in Europe. On Friday the 22nd they returned back to the UK, again with a stop at Koksijde. On Monday a French Puma helicopter guided by a Belgian A.109 passed near the airfield and continued their navigation trip along the coastline to Zeebrugge. They were based in Beauvechain for the THPU training which was being held from the 18th till the 22nd. On Thursday the 21st the Czech participants of the exercise made a low pass over the runway as well. On Wednesday the 20th the Belgian and Dutch Defence minister came to the naval base in Ostend where they celebrated their 50th anniversary of co-operation of defence assets between both countries. In the afternoon they went to Lombardsijde where they had a demonstration of the Belgian Air, Naval and Land component. The helicopters participating in the demonstration (2 A.109's) made a fuel stop at Koksijde. Both Dutch Royal Flight Alouette III helicopters made a fuel stop in Koksijde as well and went back to Lombardsijde afterwards to pick up the minster after the demonstration. On the 27th a French Navy Dauphin based at Le Touquet for SAR duties visited Koksijde. The crew visited the whole base and left for Le Touquet again late afternoon. We hope to see them more often in Koksijde in the future now they know the base well now!
Koksijde : JuneIn June we had quiet some Marchetti's on visit both for training approaches as well as full stop landings. Due to the presence of an MD902 of the Belgian Federal Police Support Unit in the paint shop at Koksijde, some visits of their other helicopters and Cessna were made throughout the month. Throughout the month some F-16's made some passes over the airfield, and sometimes they even made low approaches again! On the 17th there was a demonstration of the cooperation between the Air and Navy component of Belgian Defence. The demonstration with a C-130, two F-16's, an NH-90NFH and B-Hunter was at sea for the Belgian Defence minister. The B-Hunter was deployed to Koksijde on the 16th and 17th. After the demonstration the F-16's passed over Koksijde back to Florennes. On the 24th and 25th two F-16's made several base attacks at Koksijde to practice for the open-door in Semmerzake on the 26th. On the last day of the month, the newest addition of the Belgian Air Force, NH-90MTH RN08 came to Koksijde for some practice winchings over the airfield.
Koksijde : JulyOn the first day of July MD902 G-12 from the Federal Police Support Unit was finished after it got a new paintjob in Koksijde which was part of its upgrade from MD900 to MD902. Cessna 182 G-01 brought a test pilot for some test flights and at the end of the day G-12 was ready to fly back to Melsbroek. Two other MD902's made a fuel stop during operational missions in the region. Friday the 3rd was the main arrival day for the Fly-in and as a surprise we got a practice diversion of two F-16's. If that's not enough jet noise, two French Mirage 2000D's, based at Nancy, passed over Koksijde village during a navigation training! On the 10th NH-90MTH RN08 was planned to go to the Yeovilton Air Day, but had to land at Koksijde with technical problems. Another NH-90MTH was send from Beauvechain to pick up the original crew so they could continue their journey to the UK. An A.109 came to pick up the rest of the crew to fly them back home. On the 13th a German Navy Do228 made one IFR approach on their way from the Yeovilton Air Day back to Nordholz. From Monday 13 till Friday 17 July, A.109 H-22 was deployed at Koksijde for some exercises at the Lombardsijde range. On Wednesday the 15th a pair of nicely painted German Army Bo105's made a fuel stop on their way to Fairford for the RIAT. 86+49 was painted in a striking scheme for the disbandment of the KHR26 unit which happened in 2014. Two Czech Hinds made a nice low pass over the runway on-route to Fairford. One of the Hinds was painted in a nice World War II color scheme. On Thursday a Dutch CH-47F also made a fuelstop and two Dutch AH-64D apaches passed overhead the airfield on their way to Fairford. On Friday the 17th two Dutch Alouette III's made a fuelstop on their way to the UK to the Rhodesia Native Regiment and African Rifles Memorial on the 19th July at National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire. On Monday the 20th only the Dutch CH-47F and Alouette III's made it to Koksijde due to the bad weather over the UK. All the other participants passed over Koksijde on Tuesday the 21st as the airbase was closed due to the Belgian national holiday.
Koksijde : AugustFrom August 3 till 7, some French Air Force SR22 aircraft based at Salon-de-Provence were deployed at Beauvechain. Seven of these aircraft were bought by the French Air Force for training flights of navigating officers arm systems and are operated by Cassidian Aviation Training Services (CATS), a private company that contracts with the French military and is in charge of maintenance and airworthiness of the aircraft. On the 4th two made an approach, and the next day another one came back. This was the first time these aircraft touched down at Koksijde. On the 6th, two Royal Navy Junglie Sea Kings of 848 Sqn based at Yeovilton, made a fuelstop on their way back home. 848 Sqn is the last unit operating the Sea King HC.4 Junglies and will stop flying these great helicopter on the 31st of March 2016. On the 17th, a Royal Navy Sea King HU.5 of 771 SAR Sqn made a quick fuelstop on their way to Culdrose after participating to the SAR meet in Nordholz, Germany. As the SAR duties will be handed over to a civilian company on the 31st of December of this year and the Sea Kings will stop flying on the 31st of March 2016, this will probably be the last time we will see a Royal Navy SAR Sea King at Koksijde. On Friday August 21st Major General Frederik Vansina certified the 40th Sqn of the 1W/BKoks, officially Initial Operational Capable (IOC) for Search and Rescue operations with the NH-90NFH. For this ceremony some guests came with a Marchetti to Koksijde, which resulted in some extra movements. On the 26th it was time for the Opendoor and Runway Run, and for these events an A.109 and C-130 landed at Koksijde. During the Opendoor in the afternoon, an F-16 did a CAS (Close Air Support) demo and made some nice passes before heading back to Florennes.
Koksijde : September - OctoberIn September three B-Hunter UAV's from 80 Sqn UAV based at Florennes were detached again at Koksijde for a month but because of the very bad weather they were not able to fly a lot in September. Due to the ship disaster with the Flinterstar in the Belgian part of the North Sea, the UAV's performed some extra oil pollution control flights over the wreckage in the first half of October as well. In the beginning of the month there were some marchetti's on visit for some training approaches. On the 8th Cessna 182 from the Federal Police Air Support Unit came to Koksijde and made a local flight. As the unit only has two Cessna 182's and the fact that they don't visit Koksijde a lot, this was a rare visitor, even in Belgium. On the 10th the Netherlands Historical flight Spitfire made a nice low pass over the runway on its way to the UK. The Royal Navy Lynx that passed overhead Koksijde on the 17th was on its way to the NATO days in Ostrava, Czech Republic. They came back on the 23rd. On the 23rd, two RAF Chinook HC.4 had a small technical problem while passing Koksijde on their way to Sweden for an exercise. They both landed at Koksijde to check the problem rotor running and a couple of minutes later they departed again into the direction of The Netherlands. When arriving at the Belgian - Dutch border the problem reoccurred and they returned to Ostend. After checking the problem for the second time, they departed again, but after a couple of minutes in the air the problem reoccurred and they had to stay the night in Ostend waiting for some spare parts.
On the 3rd of October the Red Devils did a practice display at the coast near Koksijde which was special to see. On the same day a German navy Sea King MK.41 made a fuelstop and was still wearing its special coloursheme to celebrate 100 years Marineflieger. On the 13th Cobham Flight Inspection came to Koksijde again to calibrate the TACAN and PAR.
Koksijde : NovemberNovember was not a very busy month, but it sure was interesting. Some F-16's came for some approaches as well as the usual marchetti's. On the 9th two Belgian Alpha Jets based at Cazaux in France made a nightstop. Since 2004, Belgian Alpha Jets became a quiet rare sight in Belgium, and certainly at Koksijde. Tuesday the 24th at 12h13lt, Sea King HAR.3A ZH542 (c/n WA1008) from the A flight 22 Sqn of the Royal Air Force, touched down at Koksijde for the very last time. It took off around 09h00lt at the Royal Marines Base Chivenor in the UK for its final flight to Belgium. Belgian Defence bought this Sea King from the Brits to strip the airframe down and use the spare parts to keep the Belgian Sea King fleet in the air. On the 26th German Navy Sea King 89+55 came back from the UK after some upgrades and a complete repaint. It made a fuelstop at Koksijde on its way to the UK on October the 5th still wearing its special paint scheme.
Koksijde : DecemberThe last month of the year was not the busiest one, but the most interesting of 2015. On the second day of the month a French KC-135RG stratotanker of GRV02.091 came all the way from Istres to Koksijde to for four training approaches. As this isn't special enough, they've send their specially decorated aircraft to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the "Forces Aeriennes Strategiques"! This may well be the first time a French KC-135 visits Koksijde. We all hope they will come back in the future for more training sessions. The same day the Britten Norman Islander of the Belgian Coastguard came in just before sunset in gorgeous light conditions to pick up their survival gear after overhaul. On the 4th there were some "first flights" with an Alouette III and A.109. On the 10th two Royal Navy Sea King HC.4+ Junglies passed overhead en-route to Gilze Rijen. They participate in the parade over Rotterdam to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Dutch Marine Corps. After they passed Ostend, one of the two Junglies had a minor technical problem and both helicopters diverted to Ostend to check the problem. The next day another Sea King HC.4+ flew over Koksijde from Yeovilton to Gilze Rijen with some spare parts to fix the problem. On the 16th NH-90MTH RN07 based at Beauvechain, arrived at Koksijde for its first 300hrs inspection which will be executed by the technicians of the 40th Sqn at Koksijde.
Initial Operational Capable NH-90NFH : trainingOn Friday August 21st Major General Frederik Vansina certified the 40th Sqn of the 1W/BKoks, officially Initial Operational Capable (IOC) for Search and Rescue operations with the NH-90NFH. On Monday the 24th of August the NH-90NFH took over the SAR duties from the venerable Sea Kings. They will not completely take over all the SAR missions, but will be stand-by two weeks on three. The third week, the Sea King will take over again from the NH-90NFH, this to enable technicians to perform maintenance on the helicopters and further training for maritime operations. On Monday August 17th Sea King RS05 and NH-90 RN02 did a practice dual display for the ceremony on Friday. They first did some formation passes with the Sea King on the lead, then the Sea King winched down the diver, which the NH-90 winched up again and then some formation passes with the NH-90 in the lead followed to end with a nice break. After that the NH-90 demonstrated the Hi-Line procedure.
Runway RunAfter the Opendoor it was time for the fourth Runway Run which started at 19h00. As the run is becoming more and more popular, the participant's numbers are growing each year. This year more than 800 people participated in this run for charity where the runway of the airbase is central. To make the trail more attractive, a C-130, an A.109 and an Alouette III was put on the runway. One of the three remaining Sea Kings could be found along the trail as well. The start of the run had to be delayed with 10 minutes as a heavy rain storm passed over the airbase, but after that a NH-90 winched down the CO to give the signal to start the run. Luckily the sun appeared again and some very special pictures could be taken due to the reflections of the standing water on the surface. The winners of the run had been very lucky as they got a ride in a Sea King at the end of the day.
ZwaantjesdagOn Friday 11 and Saturday 12 September the Federal Road Police, which is located next to the E-40 highway in Jabbeke, opened its doors to the public. On Friday it was nice weather and mainly schools visited the complex, so it was a nice and calm event. We were treated with a SAR-demonstration of both the NH-90NFH in the morning and the Sea King in the afternoon. In 2012 a new meteorological radar tower of 46m high was build next to the highway. As the SAR-demonstrations were to be held just next to the tower, we braved the 230 stairs to have an exceptional view of the demonstrations. We went back on Saturday for the demonstration of the Sea King, but the weather was overcast, and off course a lot more people visited the tower which made it a lot more difficult to make good pictures.
Arrival Sea King HAR.3A ZH542Tuesday November 24th at 12h13lt, Sea King HAR.3A ZH542 (c/n WA1008) from the A flight 22 Sqn of the Royal Air Force, touched down at Koksijde for the very last time. It took off around 09h00lt at the Royal Marines Base Chivenor in the UK for its final flight to Belgium. Belgian Defence bought this Sea King from the Brits to strip the airframe down and use the spare parts to keep the Belgian Sea King fleet in the air. It was cheaper to buy a complete helicopter instead of buying separate spare parts or doing expensive repairs. The Sea Kings will continue to perform the SAR missions together with the new NH-90NFH until the end of 2018. This will give the NH-90NFH fleet the time to undergo further modifications and installation of systems to fulfill SAR and navy missions.
Photoshoot NH-industriesOn Wednesday November 25 a 3-ship formation was set up consisting of all the different helicopter types based at Koksijde: the Alouette III, Sea King and Caiman. The reason for this formation was a photoshoot with NH-industries photographer Anthony Pecchi. First some pictures were taken on the runway with the diver and medic posing in front of the three helicopters hovering above the runway. After that the trio took off and the photographer jumped in a second Caiman for an air-to-air sortie over the sea.
Sea King - 2015This is a selection of pictures taken in 2015 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.
Alouette III - 2015This is a selection of pictures taken in 2015 of the Belgian Navy Alouette III helicopters based at Koksijde. All these pictures were taken during normal training missions at Koksijde.