Koksijde 2019

Koksijde : January

January started again traditional with the many F-16 low approaches. The pilots haven't flown for at least two weeks and they need their qualifications again, so we got quiet some practice approaches at Koksijde. On the 9th the Sea King spottersday was being held, so we got some nice visitors that day. The next day one A.109 came in for a fuelstop. On the 14th C-130 CH-11 made four approaches after its testflight, and the next day CH-12 made two IFR approaches. On the 16th two French Air Force Alpha Jets based at Tours made an instrument approach before they continued to Melsbroek to stay the night. On the 18th a 21 Sqn ERJ-145 made two approaches which is quiet a rare sight at Koksijde.

Koksijde : February

On the 5th, 12th and 19th a Federal Police MD520N helicopter came to Koksijde for pilot training. They did a lot of autorotation exercises on the runway. On the 15th one NH-90MTH protected by two Agustas made a landing at the beach of Oostduinkerke to pick up some persons. That must have been an awesome sight! On the 19th and 27th some French Air Force Alpha jets from Tours made some IFR approaches again before they continued to Melsbroek for a nightstop. Apparently they must like Brussels a lot. On the 20th there was again an exercise with 1W helicopters, but this time the formation consisted out of two NH-90MTH and one Agusta. They came in to take some gas. On the 21st three Dutch Chinooks, three Dutch Apaches and one Dutch Cougar passed overhead on their way to Carlisle for their annually Tactical Blaze exercise. The next day another Cougar passed on its way to Scotland. On the 12th a Royal Netherlands Air Force PC-12 made two touch and go's.

Sea King Spottersday

On Wednesday afternoon January 9th a photocall was being organized by Koksijde airbase for 250 lucky people. After a quick ID check and pickup of the specially made badge for the event, everyone could enter the dedicated area at the beginning of RWY02. Sea King RS04 and RS05 were put in static display, as well as a marchetti ST41 which arrived just before the event started. Soon after we arrived, RS02 -the star of the day- was being towed to the helipad for the flights later that afternoon and evening. To support the photocall some visitors of the Belgian Air Force came to our coastal airbase. A marchetti made some touch and go's, a C-130 and ERJ-135 made some practice approaches and two F-16's made a base attack. Big surprise was a NATO E-3A Awacs which made an approach at the start of the event. There were some small demonstrations of an A.109, NH-90MTH and NH-90NFH, Alouette III and offcourse the star of the day: the Sea King. The weather was the weather we can expect early January: ice cold northerly wind, rain, hail and sun. When the sun was set it was time for a nightshoot. Four light units were installed which lighted the helipad very good and all three based helicopter types were presented very nice. The strong wind made good night photography very difficult, but we are still very happy about the results. We would like to thank all the crews and support personnel to make this great day happen. We hope more small events like this will be possible in the future.

Last flight RS02

Sunday January 13th was again a sad day as the third Sea King was being retired. They took off at 14:09 and flew till 15:56. After take-off they first made a low pass before continuing with seawork. After their seawork they went to AZ St Jan hospital in Brugge for two LZ landings. They returned back to Koksijde via the coastline, the scenery where this lady was being flown for over 42 years. Again a low pass was made and after her final landing, a water salute of the fire department was given before her last shutdown. The first flight of RS02 was on April 8th 1976, had 12.502 hrs on the clock and 738 scrambles till its final retirement. Thank you for serving us so well!

Last flight RS04

On Friday February 15th 2019, Sea King RS04 made its last flight out of Koksijde airbase. It was the last airworthy Sea King in its original color scheme. After take-off, they did an ILS approach at Ostend and then went over the sea for a training flight. Before touching down for the final time they showed that the old lady is still alive and did some spectacular low passes and tight turns. After landing the fire department gave her a last shower before shutting down the engines for the last time. During the same flight, flight engineer Tommy Lanoye, logged its 3000th hour flown on Sea King. RS04 made its first flight on May 7th 1976 and made its final flight, 703 scrambles later, with 12.219 hrs on the clock.

Goodbye Sea King - Landing Nieuwpoort beach

Thursday March 21st was the official goodbye from the Sea King community to the Belgian people with a number of events throughout the day. In the morning the last remaining airworthy Sea King made a beach landing at each of the 10 Belgian coastal villages to hand over a beach flag to the mayor marking "1757 Lives Saved - 3309 Interventions - 60000 Flight Hours - 43 Years Loyal Service". As this was announced in the media well before, this event attracted a lot of people to the beaches, that came to say goodbye to this mighty legend. This is a pictorial report of the landing at Newport beach at 10h50.

Goodbye Sea King - Landing De Panne beach

Next landing after Nieuwpoort was De Panne near the French border at 11h05. The mayor of Koksijde was picked up at De Panne to fly in the Sea King to his own village, Koksijde.

Goodbye Sea King - Landing Koksijde beach

The last landing was at Koksijde beach at 11h15, near the homebase where this legendary helicopter was based for almost 43 years. They first did a flypast before winching the mayor with the beach flag in front of the massive public on the beach. The beach flag was mounted on the pole together with the former BaseCO "Rudy Theys" and former SAR diver "Walter - Seabeast - Vanweymeersch". Then the Sea King landed and remained on the beach for a couple of minutes so the public could have a good look for the very last time. After take-off they performed another impressive low pass at high speed and returned back to base.