Trips 2010

Gilze Rijen : July - December

On 29th of October I was lucky at the southern slopes area. 2 Apaches and a chinook played on the slopes and this with nicely coloured trees as backdrop. On 25 November an AN124 brought back some apache helicopters from Afghanistan. The apaches were based in Afghanistan from April 2004 till November 2010. As the road is very close to the end of the runway, it was very impressive to see such big aircraft arriving in Gilze Rijen.

Davis-Monthan : 24/11/2010

Davis-Monthan AFB is the busiest A-10 base in the world. D-M is the home base of 355th FW which consists out of 355 Training Sqn, 354, 357 and 358 Fighter Sqn. Also 563rd Rescue Group is based at D-M which contains out of 55th and 66th Rescue Sqn (flying with HH-60G Pavehawk) and 79th Rescue Sqn (flying with HC-130P/E). Another unit which is based at D-M is 55th electronic combat group flying with EC-130H Hercules. Off course all the aircraft coming in or leaving AMARG also uses D-M. Off course we saw a lot of home based A-10's taking off, recovering and making practice approaches. Also one based EC-130H could be seen recovering, as well as a deployed HC-130H from 39 RQS based at Patrick AFB. Other visitors were a USMC Sea Stallion and a Citation.

Volkel : 25/10/2010

Nice weather leads us to the Dutch base Volkel for an afternoon of jet noise. RWY06L was in use for take offs and landings. After the take offs, I moved to the RWY24 side in hope some F-16's would make some approaches with close patterns. Only one did so, but this resulted in nice banking shots.

Volkel - Nato Tigermeet 2010 : Spottersday 07/10/2010

Two spottersdays (750 people each day) were organised by Volkel AB to give the chance to aircraft photographers to take pictures of the Tigermeet on base. The spotters were positioned at about 150m south of the parallel runway. Take offs were on both runways, with mostly F-16's on the nearest runway. All recoveries were on the main runway and aircraft taxied back via the parallel runway to their parking. Unfortunately the weather was again very foggy in the morning and grey in the afternoon, but this didn't spoil a nice day at this great exercise.

Volkel - Nato Tigermeet 2010 : 06/10/2010

On the second mission day the sun didn't came out to play unfortunately. A Norwegian F-16BM and Austrian Saab 105 arrived, a Mirage 2000C was changed and there was a visit from an Italian P180, French Alpha jet from Dijon and French TBM700. Also a Czech L159 came to Volkel to have a look at the on-going exercise.

Volkel - Nato Tigermeet 2010 : 05/10/2010

This was the first day with an operational mission. 2 missions are flown each day with 40+ aircraft per mission. There was participation of 2 Hungarian JAS39 Gripen, 4 Czech JAS39 Gripen and 2 Mi24 Hind helicopters, 4 German Tornados, 4 French Mirage 2000C's and 2 Mirage 2000D's, 2 Turkish F-16's, 6 Norwegian F-16's, 6 Belgian F-16's, 2 Austrian Saab 105's and 2 Italian AB212 helicopters. And off course the local Volkel F-16's participated in large numbers to the exercise. For the recovery of the morning mission the sun appeared on the right moment.

Volkel - Nato Tigermeet 2010 : Arrivals

Every year all Tiger sqn's that joined the tiger association come together for a big exercise, the so called Tigermeet. This year it was held at Volkel AFB in the Netherlands, home base of 313 Tiger Sqn. The exercise is being held over 2 weeks, and on the Monday of the first week most of the participants arrive with their support aircraft. The Czech AF sent a nicely decorated AN26 as support to their JAS39 Gripen. The Hungarian AF sent 2 AN26 to bring in all the support of their JAS39 Gripens. Austria brought a C-130 with their Saab 105's to Volkel. Other support aircraft were a Norwegian Super hercules and 2 Italian C-27J Spartans. A lot of C-160 Transalls could be welcomed at Volkel: 1 French, 2 German and 2 Turkish!

Sanicole - Airshow

On Sunday 19th of September the 34th Sanicole airshow was being held again and 35.000 spectators came to Sanicole airfield to witness that. For the first time Team Viper flying with 4 Hawker Hunters came to Sanicole. What a sound and sight!! Like every year 31 Sqn made a 4-ship F-16 tactical presentation. Special formations this year was a formation of the current and past F-16 demo paints, as well as a formation of the Dutch Apache and Belgian F-16. Another mixed formation was the Tiger painted F-16 and a P-51 Mustang. Other highlights of the show was the Red Bull Cobra, the Canadian parachute team "The Skyhawks", the always impressive Dutch Apache and the B17 Flying Fortress. Display teams cannot be missed at an airshow. Turkish Stars participated for the first time at Sanicole flying their great F-5 Freedom fighter jets. Other teams like the Belgian Red Devils and Aerostars, Breitling wingwalkers and the French Cartouche Dorée were there to complete a nice show.

Sanicole - Airshow : Sunset show

For the first time in Belgium, a sunset airshow was being held. On Friday the 17th of September 3000 people visited the show and it was a real sunset show due to the sunny weather. The Canadian parachute team “The Skyhawks” opened the show and were followed by the Breitling Jet Team. The British Swift glider team did a great show, as well as the Breitling wingwalkers. The Dutch Apache was amazing again, and the flares came really to their element during sunset. It was already getting pretty dark when the Twister duo performed, with nice fireworks attached on their airplanes. The highlight of the show was off course the Belgian F-16 display. It was very impressive to see the afterburner in the dark, as well as the flares!!

Aviano : 10/09/2010

On Friday we went back to Aviano and in the morning the local F-16’s did again a local mission with 10 aircraft. On Friday there is only flying activity in the morning, so in the afternoon we went to Rivolto to see the arrivals for the big airshow that was held over the weekend.

Aviano : 09/09/2010

The 50th anniversary of Frecce Tricolori was the perfect excuse for our first visit to Italy. We arrived on Thursday the 9th of September in the morning in Venice. We first stopped in Istrana town to catch a preserved F-104S. From there we drove to the USAFE fighterbase Aviano. In Aviano, the 31st Fighter Wing is based, and exists out of 510th Fighter Squadron “Buzzards” and 555th Fighter Squadron “Triple Nickel” all flying with the F-16C. In the afternoon we saw 7 local F-16 doing a local mission, as well as the departure of a World Airways DC-10. On the way to our hotel we passed by a preserved AB206 of the Italian Army in Casarsa della Delizia.

Zeebrugge - Navydays

Over the weekend of 3 and 4 July, traditionally the Belgian Navy days were being held. This year a US Navy Seahawk was boarded on the deck of USS Mount Withney. The Belgian Sea King did a great SAR demo between the ships and was the main attraction of the day.

Beauvechain - Airshow : Flying display

For the flying display, the organization managed to get some nice fighter solo displays like the Swiss F/A-18 hornet, the RAF Tornado role demo, the French Rafale, the Hungarian JAS39 Gripen, and the Dutch, Danish and off course Belgian F-16 demo. As Beauvechain is a trainer base, a big part of the displays were trainers like the Austrian Saab 105, the RAF Tucano and a formation of 4 French EMB121 Xingu’s which got the name “Camo Milles”. Also the vintage aircraft lovers could enjoy the show, as there were the beautiful Flying bulls DC-6 and Corsair, the Dutch Hunter and Fouga magister. No jet teams were in Beauvechain, but the Morocco Marche Verte and the based Hardship Red made up for that.

Beauvechain - Airshow : Static display

Over the weekend of 3 and 4 July the main Belgian Air Force airshow was held at the trainer base of Beauvechain. On Friday the 2nd of July a spottersday was held so that aircraft photographers could catch the arriving aircraft for the airshow. The weather was very sunny but hot on Friday. On Saturday it was cloudy and rainy, but on Sunday we had great weather again during the day. Some real gems came in came for the static display like a German Navy P3 Orion and a Ukrainian AN-26. For this occasion, they had taken some old aircraft out of the Brussels Air Museum storage and put them into the static display. So we could enjoy a Swedish Saab J35 Draken, a German Fiat G91, a Czech Mig 15 and a Swiss Hunter again on the airshow.

Gilze Rijen : January - June

On the 6th of January, the base was covered with a nice layer of snow. Luckily that day a Chinook and the Police EC-135 came out to play on the southern slopes, which gave great pictures! A second visit was done on the 24th of February. Again a lot of action on the base, with even a Geilenkirchen E-3A making some circuits, as well as one of the 2 RNLAF Fokker 50's. On the 26th of April I was again lucky with an Alouette III, Cougar and apache at the slopes. The 3rd of June was a nice summer day with quiet some action at the base of the Apaches. Our last visit was on the 29th of June, where we got again 2 apaches on the slopes, and some nice approaches of the QRA F-16's of Volkel.

Cambrai - Airshow : Spottersday

The last ever airshow at BA103 Cambrai-Epinoy was held over the weekend of 26 and 27 June. Prior to the airshow, a perfectly organised spottersday was being held on Friday so aircraft photographers could witness the incoming aircraft and practice displays. The weather was very nice with a mix of sun and clouds. Off course a lot of French hardware could be seen, but also a great collection of foreign aircraft came to Cambrai for the very last time. 2 Lakenheath F-15E's that came in for the static display made some very dynamic approaches prior to land at BA103. The highlight of the airshow was the Slovakian Mig 29 Fulcrum painted in a nice tiger scheme. Other interesting demo's came from the Hungarian JAS39 Gripen, Swiss F/A-18 hornet, Belgian, Danish and Dutch F-16's and the French Rafale.

Reims - Dissolution ER01.033 : 24/06/2010

On the 24th of June, one of the two squadrons based at Reims flying the Mirage F-1CR, ER 1/33 Belfort, was disbanded. To mark this, one of their Mirage F-1's got a great paint scheme. Cartouche Dorée and a Mont-de-Marsan Mirage F-1 came to Reims to say goodbye to this famous sqn. During the disbandment ceremony a 4-ship formation of Mirage F-1's was flown, with the decorated Mirage in the lead.

Gilze Rijen - Opendagen : part 2

The most impressive display of the airshow was probably the demonstration of a USAF C-17 Globe Master. It was very impressive to see such large aircraft manoeuvring through the skies. A lot of fighters came to Gilze Rijen to demonstrate their power. We got to see a Spanish F/A-18 hornet, a Czech and Hungarian JAS39 Gripen and the RAF EF2000 Typhoon. There were 3 F-16 displays coming from the Belgian, Danish and Dutch Air Force.

Gilze Rijen - Opendagen : part 1

One of the highlights of the Dutch open days is always the Airpower Demo. This is a demonstration of all the assets of the Dutch Air Force in a realistic crisis situation. As the open days were being held on the main helicopter base, the biggest part of the display was helicopter action. As Gilze Rijen is the home base of the Apache helicopter, the Apache demoteam was reformed again. For this occasion they beautifully decorated one of the Apaches to display the whole season on various airshows in Europe. Another highlight was the demonstration of a Finnish Air Force NH-90, the future helicopter of the Dutch Air Force. Patrulla Aspa flying with 5 EC-120 Colibri's came all the way from Spain to give a great display. A joint SAR demo was shown by the Belgian Sea King, the Dutch Navy lynx and the Dutch Air Force AB.412SP. Displayteams cannot be missed at airshows, and here in Gilze Rijen, we got Turkish Stars, Patrouille de France and the British Red Arrows.

Gilze Rijen - Opendagen : Arrivals

On Friday 18 and Saturday 19 June, the Dutch Air Force open days were being held again at Gilze Rijen, 5 years after the previous edition. The local spotting group, GRAS spotters, organised a perfect spottersday on Thursday the 17th of June for the arrivals and rehearsals of the airshow. Highlights for the static display were a RAF VC-10, a Polish SU-22 Fitter and Mig 29 and a pair of Slovakian L-39's.

Hyeres - 100 ans Aeronavale

Around 40.000 people visited this great meeting de l'air. There were a lot of tactical displays as well as formation flights of the French Naval aviation. One Super Etendard was decorated in a great livery to mark the anniversary. Various other aircraft were decorated with smaller marking.

Hyeres - 100 ans Aeronavale : Spottersday

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Aeronavale in France, a big meeting was organised on the 13th of June at the Base Aeronautique Navale (BAN) in Hyeres near Toulon. On Saturday the 12th of June most of the aircraft for the airshow arrived, so they organised a spottersday so the aircraft enthusiasts could get close to the action. For this occasion the US Navy had send an aircraft carrier to Toulon, the USS Harry Truman. The US Navy participated with 4 Super Hornets in a tactical display, a C-2A Greyhound, E-2C Hawkeye and a SH-60 Sea Hawk in static display. The Spanish Navy participated with a flying display of a AV-8 Harrier, which came from the aircraft carrier the Principe de Asturias. Other foreign participants came from the Italian, German and British Navy.

Wittmund : 26/05/2010

On our second day, the weather was less good with much more clouds and flying activity was medium. First RWY26 was in use, afterwards they switched to RWY08, which gave some variation for the pictures.

Wittmund : 25/05/2010

As the end of the phantoms is approaching fast, we made the 1200km trip and headed to Wittmund to enjoy the sound of the J79 engines. On our first day, flying with the local F-4F's was very good, and even the weather was nice. One of the Manching test F-4F's came to Wittmund for a visit as well as 3 C-160D Transalls. During the recovery of the evening mission we tried to make some banking shots.

Reims : 21/05/2010

As the Mirage F-1's are going to be out of service in 2014, and Reims-Champagne airbase will be closed in 2011, a visit to this nice base was high on our wish list. The weather was very nice, and there was a lot of flying activity of the local Mirage F-1's. We saw 8 different aircraft on a Friday so not bad at all. Reims offers good photo opportunities both in take-off, landing and taxi.

Florennes : 20/05/2010

Exactly one year after the last TLP spottersday, I went again to Florennes to see some fighter action. I only went there for 3 hours, but saw 12 F-16's, 2 A-10's and 1 C-130, so not bad at all...

Woensdrecht : 20/04/2010

Due to an earthquake in the Icelandic glacier Eyjafjallajökull, a huge ashcloud disrupted the air traffic over Europe. We planned to go to Leeuwarden to visit Frisian flag, but this was cancelled. As there was nice weather, and we got the news that the PC-7's DID fly at Woensdrecht, we went for some hours of PC-7 spotting.

Midland : Air Museum

The museum, which is located near Coventry, has a very nice collection of aircraft. Most of the aircraft are jet engine powered aircraft as the museum is dedicated to the local engineer Sir Frank Whittle who designed the first jet engine. For more information, please visit their website.

Hendon : RAF museum

The museum is situated on the historic site of Hendon's London Aerodrome in Colindale. The North London Museum, is one of two sites belonging to the U.K's only national museum that tells the story of the Royal Air Force through its people and collections. The collections in London include some very early aircraft designs through to the latest modern day jets and military aircraft. For more information, please visit their website.

Volkel : March 2010

Good weather and the new RNLAF F-16 display pilot that trained its demo led us to Volkel AB in The Netherlands. On the second of March we went for the first time, and we saw 7 different F-16's. We returned on the 4th of March, where we saw 13 different F-16's. On both visits, a L-39 Albatros was based at Volkel for some local missions, and J-193 did the demo rehearsals.

Ramstein : 03/03/2010

We went to have a look at the main USAF transport base in Germany, Ramstein. It was nice weather, but bloody cold. Runway 08 was in use for landings and we saw 3 Local C-130J-30's, a local C-37 Gulfstream, and 2 local C-21 Learjets. 2 RAF BAe125's came in in the afternoon as well as some heavy cargo aircraft.

Kleine Brogel : 26/01/2010

I read on the internet that 4 Cambrai Mirage 2000's would come to KB for a small sqn exchange with the Belgian F-16's. As Cambrai airbase will close in 2012, it was more than worth to go to Kleine Brogel for a day of aircraft spotting.