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.