Koksijde : JanuaryThe start of a new year, and hopefully a very interesting and busy year for Koksijde. Unlike the traditional many F-16 visits in the beginning of the year, this year we had no F-16's coming to Koksijde before the 22nd of January. Also the bad weather was one of the reasons January was a quiet month. Nevertheless we still had some interesting visitors to start the year. On the 12th C-130 CH03 made one approach after its functional check flight. On the 16th a Cazaux based French Alpha jet made two IFR approaches, which was the first foreign visitor of the year. On the 19th the seventh of fourteen NH-90s ordered by the Norwegian Air Force, made a nightstop on its way to its homebase Haakonsvern HEL where it will serve with the 334 Skv. It landed in late afternoon and departed the next morning in bad weather conditions. It is the first of six NH-90s being delivered in the ASW variant. Norway expects three more NH-90s to be delivered in 2018 and we hope they will all transit through Koksijde during their delivery flight. On the 22nd three F-16 from Florennes made a base attack and woke-up Koksijde airbase with some jetnoise.
Koksijde : FebruaryFebruary brought us much better weather and some visitors as well. On the 8th two French Alpha jets each made one IFR approach before leaving to Beauvechain. On the 16th two Kleine Brogel F-16's made a base attack on the base. On the 21st a French Navy Dauphin first flew over to NHV in Ostend to drop a person and came to Koksijde to take some fuel. Afterwards they made an LZ landing on the helipad of the hospital of Veurne, Ieper, Gent and Brugge and made an intermediate landing at NHV again to pick-up the person before leaving back to Le Touquet. This exercise was to become familiar to the Belgian helipads at the hospitals in case they should take over the SAR duties of the Belgian Air Force in case no helicopter is available. On the 28th an NH-90MTH from Beauvechain made some low passes and made a fuelstop afterwards before leaving back to Beauvechain again.
Koksijde : March and AprilJust like in February, French Navy Dauphin no.17 based at Le Touquet came to Koksijde to take some gas before visiting the West Flemish hospitals for a training LZ. This time Niels was able to take some pictures of this nice visitor at the hospital of Veurne. On the 9th, C-130 CH-04 made some approaches and not less than six F-16's from Florennes also made an overshoot that day. On the 14th five Marchetti's made a full stop landing, as well as an A.109 agusta, all based at Beauvechain. Two French Air Force Alpha jets each made one IFR approach, and again four F-16's from Florennes made an overshoot. On the 19th two Kleine Brogel F-16's made two simulated base attacks. On the 21st and 22nd a twin squirrel with a camera mounted, made some refueling during filming the bicycle race "Driedaagse van De Panne". On the 28th again two French Air Force Alpha Jets made an IFR approach.
It's become a tradition that the 80 Sqn UAV come to the Belgian coast when spring arrives to make some pollution control flights over the North Sea. This time they arrived in the beginning of April and brought five B-Hunters to Koksijde. On the 3rd four F-16's from Kleine Brogel made a low approach which is pretty exceptional. The French Alpha Jet's tend to like Koksijde as they came back on the 4th, this time with three different Alpha Jets. On the 6th four F-16's made an overshoot, this time not from Florennes but from Kleine Brogel. On the 11th four Army Air Corps Wildcat helicopters passed over Koksijde on their way to Gilze Rijen where they did a nightstop. On the 24th a Royal Navy Wildcat made a fuel stop on its way to ILA Berlin. It flew with a Westland callsign which indicates it was being sent from the factory. Also a Royal Air Force Chinook passed overhead on its way to Berlin, wearing stickers marking the centenary of the RAF. On the 25th the Citation of the NLR (Netherlands Aerospace Centre) calibrated the IFR installations again. On the 26th four 350 Sqn F-16's made an overshoot to the North Sea in the morning and in the afternoon. Very nice to see those flying over full speed at low level.
Koksijde : MayUnlike March and April, May was a lot busier. The B-Hunter UAV's were still deployed and flew daily missions when weather permitted. On the first of May the Royal Navy Wildcat, that made a fuelstop on April 24th on its way to ILA in Berlin, flew over again back home. In May we had a lot of French Alpha Jets which made an IFR approach. Unfortunately they mostly came in bad weather conditions. On the 2nd two, and on the 16th three Alpha Jets made an approach. On their way back to Cazaux the next day, they made an approach again! On the 2nd two 4-ship formations of F-16's based at Florennes made a low pass on their way to the sea. On the 4th again a 2-ship and 4-ship formation passed over the base which was great to see. On the 8th a Beauvechain based NH-90TTH came in to drop something and continued its way to the Netherlands for IFR training. Later that day a Danish Merlin made a fuelstop on its way back home from the factory in Yeovil. The Merlin crashed on October 11th 2014 in an area southeast of Masar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan. In a landing outside the base the helicopter turned over on the side. The crew survived with only minor injuries, but the helicopter was heavily damaged. The crew was on a training mission, when the helicopter during landing turned over and lost the tail section and rotorblades. The helicopter was rebuilt and looks brand new. The next day a Dutch Chinook from Gilze Rijen made a low approach. On the 10th, RAF Puma XW224, wearing a very nice tigerscheme, passed overhead to Ostend for a fuelstop on its way to Poland for the tigermeet. On the 26th they passed again on the way back to RAF Benson. On the last day of the month an Irish Air Corps AW.139 tried to fly home after after a major overhaul in the agusta factory in Luik. Very bad weather over the channel prevented them to reach the UK, so they decided to land at Koksijde. It would take them till June 6th to continue their journey to Baldonnel in Ireland.
Koksijde : JuneJune was a busy month which brought some very special visitors to Koksijde. The evening before the commemoration of D-day on the 6th of June, some VVIPs flew with five A.109s over the biggest war monuments in West Vlaanderen. Four of these helicopters landed at Koksijde to take fuel after they brought back these people to Ostend harbour. On the same day two French Alpha Jets made an instrument approach. The next day something happened what nobody thought would ever happen again at Koksijde. The Belgian Air Force Demo F-16 and spare aircraft landed at Koksijde after a practice demo in front of the beach of Lombardsijde. These were the first F-16s to land at Koksijde after the last airshow being held in 2011! The next day there was a press day at sea to present all the events that would be held by Belgian defence during the summer, off course with F-16 demoteam, and both landed at Koksijde again! The pilot Stefan -Vador- Darte pleased the many photographers at the fence with some spectacular low approaches before he touched down. On May the 30th an Irish Air Corps AW139, which flew from Luik to Ireland, diverted to Koksijde due to bad weather over the channel. On the 6th a Casa 235 brought a new crew to fly the helicopter back to Ireland. On the 12th a French Alpha Jet made an IFR approach again. On the 21st a Danish Air Force Fennic made a nightstop and continued the day after further north. On the same day a Royal Air Force Chinook made a fuelstop during a navigation flight in Europe. They visted Spangdahlem, Brussels and Amsterdam the days before. On the 28th the same chinook did the same tour including a visit to Koksijde. On the 22nd two Royal Netherlands Air Force NH-90NFH passed Koksijde along the coastline on their way back to De Kooy after their FOST training at Culdrose.
Belgian Open Aerobatics Championship 2018For the third time in a row, the Belgian Open Aerobatics Championship was organised at Koksijde in cooperation with the West Aviation Club. All pilots and their planes arrived on Thursday and later that day and Friday they started to qualify themselves for the championship. Weather was perfect each day with clear blue skies all day long. The first three days the temperature was very nice due to a moderate northerly wind, but on Sunday it was really hot with temperatures rising above 30 degrees C. The overall winner of the Championship was Kristof Cloetens. Congratulations Kristof!
Open Door West Aviation ClubAs the BOACK is open to the public, the West Aviation Club invited some other guests to entertain the people. On the ground there were some aviation shops, bars, food stands (even with a special Red Devils burger) and even Flying Circus from the Netherlands came to entertain young and old. In the air the Victors, Agusta demo team and the Sea King came from Ursel to perform a demonstration. Our Belgian national team The Red Devils stole the show, both on the ground and in the air. On Saturday first flights were given with a Jetranger, and on both days the MUG helicopter from Bruges came for the static display. Some impressive low passes were done before leaving back to Bruges on Sunday evening.