Trips 2014

Lombardsijde - Rainbow Warrior

The exercise "Rainbow Warrior" aiming at improving the knowledge of our pilots within the "Electronic Warfare" scene was held from the 24th till the 27th of November mainly at the firing range abeam the military quarters of Lombardsijde. During tactical flights in hostile territory, various signals were simulated to warn the crews through the Radar Warning they were locked-on or had their communication systems "jammed" by the enemy. A swift and adequate reaction to the threat is mandatory, which can be done by f.e. releasing flares. To enhance the realism of this exercise, participant's beneficiated from the collaboration of JAMCAR from the Koninklijke Luchtmacht allowing, through various on-board electronic systems, to generate and simulate any kind of radar- and communication jamming.

Wevelgem - Storm Tide 2

On Thursday the exercise moved on to the region of Kortrijk and the airport of Wevelgem was used to fly in all the equipment. In the morning it was very foggy which delayed the first flights with more than an hour. When the visibility was sufficient the first three C-130's made a storm landing to drop soldiers and vehicles. It was very impressive to see how fast the airport was taken over by the army. In the morning the exercise was followed by the Belgian Defence minister and the Belgian King which got the necessary media attention. During the rest of the day the landings of the C-130's continued, even well after dark.

Oostende - Storm Tide 2

From Monday the 17th till Friday the 21st of November exercise "Storm Tide 2" was being held in the Ostend region again, 6 years after the previous edition. Storm Tide 2 is a big evacuation exercise with participation of 2000 military personnel and about 300 civilians. For the exercise, four C-130's were based at Ostend which flew numerous sorties. Two, and from Wednesday on, three A.109's were based in Koksijde and flew some isolated missions in our province. On Wednesday we went to have a look in Ostend city for some A.109 action. In the morning and afternoon they evacuated some people out of the city park towards the airport. Around noon they landed in the middle of one of the busiest intersections of the city to evacuate some persons out of the town hall. Late afternoon they picked up a wounded person out of a printing office near the city. All this was impressive to see and was done very professional. We went back to Ostend airport on Friday afternoon to see the remaining C-130's departing back to Melsbroek.

Madrid/Torrejon - AIRE 75

On Saturday the 11th of October it was time for the actual airshow. During the night and early morning a lot of rain felt down in the Madrid region, but luckily the tarmac of Torrejon is big enough to house the parking for the cars, a large static display and crowd area and all the aircraft for the flying display! So no Fairford scenario's with cars stuck in the mud on the parking... As we arrived on base the sun broke through the clouds and it remained dry for most of the day. The static display was filled with only Spanish aircraft (besides two Portuguese F-16's). For the 75th anniversary of the Air Force, a historic corner was made with aircraft from the museum in Getafe. In the flying display program most of the European display teams were present as well as the British Tucano and Dutch F-16 Demo Team. The Spanish Air Force showed what the Air Force does in a small version of an Airpower Demo. Other interesting demonstrations were one of the based CL415 Canadairs and a P-3 Orion. The Spanish Army showed a Cougar with a bambi bucket demo and Tigre attack helicopter and the Spanish Navy displayed the AV-8 harrier.

Madrid/Torrejon - AIRE 75 : Spottersday

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Spanish Air Force a big airshow was organised at Torrejon AB, near the capital Madrid. Torrejon is home of Ala 12 which has two squadrons flying the EF-18M hornet. Torrejon also houses Gruppo 45 and 47 which fly all the VIP Falcon 900 and A310, the B707's, the Falcon 20's and the casa 212's. A third unit is the Gruppo 43 which gathers the CL215 and CL415 water bombers. On Friday the 10th of October a spotters day was organised so the aviation enthusiasts could enter the base and see the participating aircraft arriving at Torrejon AB. In the morning there were some showers, but around noon it became dry and in the afternoon we even saw the sun.

Albacete - TLP 2014-5 : 09/10/2014

Our last day in Albacete was again a great day. In the morning five local EF2000's flew a mission and made some practice approaches upon arrival. In the afternoon another two Moron based EF2000's came in. Early morning the Swiss Citation arrived and departed about one hour later. Also a Beech 90 of the 409 Esc based at Madrid/Getafe landed in the morning. Turkish Air Force transports in the shape of two C-160 Transalls and one KC-135 tanker already arrived in the morning to bring back both F-16's to Turkey the next day. Around midday another E-3A AWACS arrived, which made the total of three B-707 variants on the base. For the TLP recoveries we went to the spot further away from the runway again for some banking shots.

Albacete - TLP 2014-5 : 08/10/2014

On our second day in Albacete the weather was perfect again with high temperatures and clear blue sky. Early morning a CL-215T came in for a quick gas and go. As the session was nearing its end some transport planes already arrived. In the morning a Hellenic C-130 with a special painted tail arrived, and in the evening a German C-160 Transall. An F/A-18C hornet based at Gando AB joined the party as well. Two Casa 101 from Murcia/San Javier AB came for some practice approaches and two local EF2000 did a mission in the morning. For the recoveries of the TLP mission we tried out a different spot further in the landing to make some banking shots, which worked out quite well.

Albacete - TLP 2014-5 : 07/10/2014

Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP) is a multinational headquarters based in Albacete Air Base (Spain), with more than 50 military and civilian personnel from the 10 NATO nations participating in the Programme. The main objective of the programme is to increase the effectiveness of their air forces in the field of tactical leadership and conceptual and doctrinal initiatives in support of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) and national missions. The TLP2014-5 session was being held from the 15th of September till the 10th of October. Prior the airshow in Madrid-Torrejon on the 11th of October we went three days to Albacete to have a look at the exercise. We arrived in Albacete on Tuesday the 7th just in time to see the take offs in the afternoon. Participating units were two German EF2000's from TLG31 in Nörvenich and two Tornado ECR from TLG51 in Schleswig, two French Mirage 2000N from EC02.004 in Istres, two Czech L-159A Alca's from in Cáslav, four Hellenic Mirage 2000EG from 331 Mira in Tanagra, two Turkish F-16C's from 151 Filo in Merzifon and four Swiss F/A-18C hornets from FlSt11 in Meiringen. The Italian Air Force participated with a large number of aircraft: two AMX from 51 Stormo in Istrana, two EF2000 from 4 Stormo in Grosseto, two EF2000 from 36 Stormo in Gioia del Colle and two EF2000 from 37 Stormo in Trapani. And of course Spain was the main participant with two F/A-18C from 462 Esc based in Gando, two EF-18M from Ala 12 in Torrejon, two EF2000's from Ala 14 in Albacete, a CSAR Puma from 803 Esc in Cuatro Vientos and two navy SH-3H's from 5 Esc in Rota. The eyes in the sky were an E-3A AWACS from the NATO based in Geilenkirchen.

Kleine Brogel - Operation Guardian Falcon "The End"

On Friday the 3rd of October, five F-16's (the 6th one remained at Aviano with technical problems) returned back to Kleine Brogel from Afghanistan. From the 1st of September 2008, six F-16's were detached at Kandahar airfield for Operation Guardian Falcon to support the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The pilots flew 16.575hrs over Afghanistan in 5.466 sorties. They executed 2.840 missions and they actually had to intervene 407 times. The Belgian pilots had to guide ground convoys, execute recce missions, guard communication lines, support ISAF ground troops during their fights with the Taliban and try to stop Afghan rebels. After arrival the pilots were awaited by their families, base commander Colonel Frederik Vansina and by the Commander of the Belgian Air Component Lieutenant-General Claude Van de Voorde. Special thanks goes to Adjutant-Chef Philippe Van Huyck and the rest of the IPR team during the press day.

Florennes - CJPRSC 2014

The Combined Joint Personnel Recovery Standardisation Course (CJPRSC) is a European Air Group (EAG) project organised every year since eight years. This year's edition took place at the Florennes Air Base in Belgium between the 24th of September and the 12th of October. This year the exercise was organized for the last time by the EAG, because the European Personnel Recovery Centre (EPRC) will as from now manage it. It is the only course of its kind in Europe in which eleven countries are taking part: Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Sweden and the United States. Four hundred personnel and twenty-three aircraft were engaged in the course. The exercise is divided in seven flying missions, in which two of them are flown by night. After three days of training, representing a total of 108 hours, the exercise is successfully achieved in 92% of the cases. The CJPRSC 2015 is will take place in Papa Air Base in Hungary from the 9th till the 24th of September 2015. Special thanks goes to Adjutant-Chef Philippe Van Huyck and the rest of the IPR team, our guide during the press day on the 2nd of October.

Kleine Brogel - BAF days : part 2

One of the two main themes of the airshow was "more than 100 years of military aviation". For this occasion a Blériot XI was transported by road all the way from Sweden to fly together with a Belgian F-16! It was very impressive to see two aircraft with a very different range of speed doing a display together. Other mixed formation around this theme was a formation of an SV-4 and two Marchetti's and a formation of an Alpha Jet and a Fouga Magister. The second main theme was "40 years F-16" which brought most of the European F-16 users to Kleine Brogel. One of the Belgian F-16's got the paint scheme of a pre-series aircraft to mark this anniversary. In the air we got the four European F-16 demos: The Hellenic Air Force with "Zeus", the Turkish Air Force with "Solo Turk", the Netherlands Air Force with "Slick" and off course the Belgian Air Force with "Grat".

Kleine Brogel - BAF days : part 1

The weather during the weekend of the 13th and 14th of September started foggy, but later-on the sun broke through and each day ended with a great sunset show! The main goal of the Belgian Air Force days was recruitment and showing the people what the Belgian Air Force is doing in the "Power demo". The organisation did a great job in collecting the best aerobatic teams. The French national aerobatic team "Patrouille de France", the Swiss "PC-7 team", the British "Red Arrows", the Jordanian Falcons and the famous Italian "Frecce Tricolori" all came to Kleine Brogel for this aviation party. For the very first time, the United Arab Emirates came to Belgium with their aerobatic team: "Al Fursan". Also civil teams like "Breitling Jet Team" and "The Victors" as well as our Belgian national aerobatic team "The Red Devils" could not be missed on this airshow. As the Belgian Air Force is looking for a replacement for the F-16, the companies which are in the game to deliver the next generation fighter jets could be found on the event as well. Boeing showed off with a Swiss F/A-18D, Saab through a Hungarian JAS 39C "Gripen", Dassault Aviation with a Rafale C from Saint-Dizier both on the ground as in the air and the Eurofighter consortium with an EF2000 in Luftwaffe colours. Lockheed-Martin was also present, not with the F-35 as the European tour was cancelled due to technical problems inherent in new technologies, but with an F-35 simulator located in the VIP area.

Kleine Brogel - BAF days : Spottersday

16 years after the last airshow being held in Kleine Brogel, it was time for the Belgian Air Force days. The organisation team of Sanicole airshow and the Belgian Air Force joined forces and the result was a superb show with a great mix of vintage aircraft, fighter jets and nine aerobatic teams! On Friday the 12th of September the base opened its doors for the aviation enthusiasts and the schools so they could see the arrivals and rehearsals of the aircraft from close by. The weather on Friday was perfect with sun all day long.

Saint Dizier : 03/09/2014

On our way to Switzerland for Air14 in Payerne we made a stop at BA113 in Saint Dizier. Saint Dizier is home of three squadrons of Rafales, EC 01.007 "Provence", EC 01.091 "Gascogne" and the training squadron ETR 02.092 "Acquitaine". A lot of Rafales are based here, so mostly there is good flying activity. Unfortunately one of the squadrons were deployed elsewhere so there was less flying activity than normal, but we still had an enjoyable day.

Schaffen - Open door

On the 29th of August, the military part of the airfield of Schaffen opened its doors. Schaffen is mainly being used by Belgian Defence for paradroppings and special helicopter training with the "MAOT", Mobile Air Operations Team. Several demonstrations were given throughout the day which made it a day full of action. A C-130 did some paradroppings and cargodroppings, which was ended with a nice low pass. The MD902 of the Federal Police Air Support Unit could be seen in action as well. They did several demonstrations: cargo sling, rappel, dropping the special intervention team on a building (simulated by a truck) and even a demonstration to catch someone with support of a dog! The open door was also the first time the new NH-90MTH from the 18th Sqn MRH could be seen in action. They did some cargo sling exercises and a CSAR demonstration to rescue a downed pilot. For this demonstration an A.109 was acting as a gunship to protect the NH-90 from the air. In the afternoon a base attack of two Kleine Brogel F-16's brought some jet noise during this open door.

Yeovilton - Air Day 2014 : part 2

The main reason we went to the Air Day was to see the grand finale of the Air Day, which is the famous Commando Assault demo. This is a demonstration of the rescue of a downed airman in enemy territory. Two hawks were simulating ground attacks while a Lynx AH.7, two Lynx HMA.8 and a Wildcat were protecting four Seaking HC.4 "Junglies" while putting up a rescue action. As the "Junglies" will be replaced by the Merlin in 2016, this was one of the last few times to see this famous helicopter in action.

Yeovilton - Air Day 2014 : part 1

The 2014 edition of the annual Air Day was held on Saturday 26th of July. Weather was a mix of sun and clouds, but very high temperatures. As Yeovilton is a Royal Navy base, the focus of the event was Naval Aviation with participants coming from nine nations and eleven air arms. Foreign military flying display participation came from the Swiss Air Force with their F/A-18 Hornet display, the Belgian Air Force showing the F-16 and Red Devils demonstration team and the Danish Air Force Baby Blue Team. Off course the home team did their utmost best to show the public what they actually train for every day. In the afternoon a Maritime Lynx Demo was shown, with examples of the Lynx HMA8 and AW159 Wildcat HM2, involved in an anti-pirating set-piece. Photography of the Lynx helicopters was really nice as they departed from behind the public, this with the sun at the right spot, in contrast to the rest of the displays. Another great display was the demonstration of Hawker Hunter "Miss Demeanour". Static display aircraft were hard to photograph as the barriers were very close to the aircraft, but some real gems could be found. Some ex Royal Navy aircraft and helicopters which are being kept in the hangars were on display and they looked really good. The Agusta Westland factory of the nearby Yeovil debuted an Italian Air Force HH-101A Caesar, an absolute beast of an aircraft with its matte black paintjob and mounted mini-guns.

Valenciennes - Meeting Aérien

This year's edition of the Valenciennes airshow was again being held on the French National day, the 14th of July. They were blessed with nice weather and they managed to assemble a nice collection of displays again. In the morning a Nancy based Mirage 2000D made some nice flybys upon arrival for the static display. Also the Rafale, Cartouche Dore and Patrouille de France arrived in the morning, before the flying display program started. A French Air Force C-135FR tanker made a pass after it came from Paris for the annual Defile and the Extra 300 did two breath-taking displays as well. A SR-22 from the Air Force pilot training school came all the way to northern France to fill up the static show. International participation came from the Belgian Air Force with a great display flown by Filip "Shaggy" Peremans and Kevin "Que20" Beckers in their attractive painted A.109.

Waddington - Airshow 2014 : Departures

The Whirlwind already departed on Sunday evening after the show but the main departures day was on Monday when most of the military participants left Waddington for their home base again. The weather was really nice with high temperatures. One tornado had to return to the apron again after taxiing to the holding point.

Waddington - Airshow 2014 : Flying Display 2

The Royal Navy's newest helicopter, the Wildcat, was presented for the first year in the helicopter team 'The Black Cats' together with a Lynx HMA.8SRU. As the Red Arrows celebrated their 50th display season, their nine red Hawks all got a special tail. A special formation with 3 Gnats, the aircraft the Red Arrows were flying before the Hawk, was flown on Saturday. On Sunday the Gnats did a display with the Hunter Flight Academy Hunter G-FFOX. The Belgian Bronco Demo Team came back to Waddington with their newly restored OV-10B 99+18. Tony De Bruyn did a great job again to show this special aircraft to the public. For the first time the Spanish helicopter team 'Team Aspa' came to Waddington and gave a very dynamic display with their five EC-120 Colibri's. To commemorate the 70th Anniversary of World War II's D-Day landings, the Royal Air Force painted the Solo Display Typhoon jet with D-Day invasion stripes. As the British Search and Rescue will be taken over by a private company from 2015 on, this was the last time to see a RAF Seaking display. On Sunday evening the display was done in perfect light conditions, meaning a bright sunshine and dark clouds as background.

Waddington - Airshow 2014 : Flying Display 1

The flying display program during the weekend of 5 and 6 July was a great mix of British and foreign displays. Both days started with low clouds and on Sunday even rain, but during the morning the weather luckily became better so the show could go ahead. As this is the main Royal Air Force airshow, all RAF displays were on the show. Waddington Air Show is the only show where you can see the Waddington based special OPS aircraft in the air. The E-3D AWACS and Sentinel took off in the morning and performed a flyby after take-off before continuing their daily mission. Also the newest addition to the fleet, the first RC-135W Rivet Joint delivered to the RAF took off and made a pass! A new addition to the airshow circuit this year was the Midair Squadron Canberra which even did a dual display with the Hunter. Foreign fast jet participation was the Turkish F-16 solo display 'Solo Turk' and the Swiss Air Force F/A-18C Hornet. Also the Swedish Air Force historical flight came back to Waddington with their mighty Saab Viggen and Saab Draken. Patrick Tuit of The Dutch Hawker Hunter Foundation won the price of the best display of Waddington Air Show 2014.

Waddington - Airshow 2014 : Static Display

The highlight of the static display was a Turkish Navy Casa 235MPA from 301 Filo based at Topel airbase east of Istanbul. This was one of the very few times this aircraft could be seen on an airshow outside Turkey. Another highlight was a US Navy Boeing P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol aircraft, which was on a British show for the first time. A Boeing 727 operated by 2Excel as an Oil Spill Response aircraft was a great participant of the show as well. On Saturday morning the recently restored Whirlwind arrived which was put into the static after the Vulcan left for its display. Unfortunately a descent picture of this nice helicopter was impossible as the barriers were too close to the helicopter.

Waddington - Airshow 2014 : Arrivals

The main arrivals day for the airshow was on Friday but on Thursday some early participants arrived already at Waddington Airbase. Between the arrivals all the participating aircraft of the flying display programme rehearsed their display. The Turkish F-16 display 'Solo Turk' arrived on Thursday with the first Turkish A-400M as support aircraft. This was the first operational mission of this new type. On Thursday evening the first of three RC-135W's of the Royal Air Force came back from a mission and made some training approaches in superb light before making a full stop landing. On Friday the rest of the participants landed at Waddington, which made this day a very busy day.

Wittering / Cranwell : 03 & 07/07/2014

RAF Cranwellis a Royal Air Force station in Lincolnshire close to the village of Cranwell, near Sleaford. Among other functions, it is home to the Royal Air Force College (RAFC), which trains the RAFs new officers. The base is home to three RAF flying squadrons. 16 (R) Sqn conduct Elementary Flying Training on the Tutor, 45(R) Sqn conduct multi-engined pilot training with the King Air and 55(R) Sqn conducts Airmen Aircrew Initial Training and General Service Training. No. 3 Flying Training School (3 FTS), training navigators and non-commissioned aircrew is based at Cranwell as well. En route to the Waddington airshow we made a quick stop at RAF Wittering to photograph the Harrier at the gate and we continued to Cranwell to have a look. Two Royal Navy Merlin's were about to depart after taking some gas. On Monday after the airshow we stopped at Cranwell again and saw some Tutors in the circuit and a King Air which departed.

Beauvechain : 25/06 & 18/07/2014

On Wednesday the 25th of June we went to Beauvechain to see some aircraft arriving for the wings parade of the graduates 2014. 21 young men and women graduated through the CC Air (Competence Center Air of the Belgian Air Component) at Beauvechain airbase. 12 pilots (7 'Jet', 2 'Transport' and 3 'Helicopter'), 2 Mission Commanders from the 80 Sqn UAV at Florennes, 4 Intercept Controllers and 2 Air Surveillance Operators from the CRC (Control and Reporting Center) at Glons and 1 Meteorologist from the Meteo Wing at Beauvechain. In the morning an F-16 made some approaches before making a full stop landing and a French TBM700 and a Xingu arrived. On the 18th of July we went back to Beauvechain to see the rehearsal of the air defile to be held on the National holiday. We saw three alpha jet's and some formation of the 15W passing over the airfield.

Schleswig / Hohn / Bückeburg : 24/06/2014

On Tuesday the 24th of June we drove back home from the Tigermeet in Schleswig. We first made a stop at the entrance of Schleswig AB to photograph the RF-84F, F-104G and Tornado which are guarding the gate. We continued to the nearby transport base in Hohn, home of LTG-63 flying with the C-160D. Three C-160's were busy bashing the circuit, while a fourth took off during our stay. Photographic conditions are great at Hohn, low fence, very close to the runway and flight line and various spot along the fence. One BAe Systems A-4N Skyhawk came in after playing with the Tigermeet aircraft during a mission. On the visitors platform a Marineflieger P-3C Orion was parked supporting a special scheme to celebrate 50 years of MFG-3 (1964-2014). After staying for two hours in Hohn we continued to Bückeburg with a quick stop at Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport where we saw one Beluga being loaded. Bückeburg is home to the CH-53's, EC135's and NH-90TTH of the Heeresfliegerwaffenschule (HFWS), a training unit for the German Army. One EC-135T1 was making circuits on the runway and later on one BO-105 arrived. Apparently there were three Swiss Air Force EC-635's deployed for a couple of days and after some time we saw those returning back to the airfield. After meeting the security of the airfield we continued our trip to Belgium.

Schleswig - Tigermeet 2014 : 23/06/2014

This year's Nato Tigermeet was organised at the German Airbase Schleswig-Jagel, home of TaktLwG 51 which operates the Panavia Tornado ECR. This large exercise was being held from Monday the 16th of June till Friday the 27th of June. Over 70 aircraft out of 11 different nations were involved in the two-week large scale air exercise flying two waves per day. 16 tiger squadrons participated in this edition as well as some external participants to support the exercise. The winner of the Silver Tiger Trophy was Staffel 11 of the Swiss Air Force based at Meiringen AB. Spottersdays were organised on Thursday the 19th and Monday the 23rd. It was organised very well with a spot in the middle of the runway and all the aircraft taxied in front of the photographers so detailed shots could be taken.

Gilze Rijen - Opendagen : part 2

The Royal Netherlands Air Force opendays are famous for the impressive "Airpower Demo". This is a demonstration of all the assets of the Air Force showing what they are training for every day. As the opendays were on the main helicopter base, the focus was on the helicopter operations of the local Chinooks, Apaches and Cougar helicopters. At the end of the demonstration all the participating helicopters and aircraft fly over the airfield in large formations, which is very impressive to see. Foreign fast jet displays came from the Belgian and Hellenic Air Force showing off their F-16's. The Slovakian Air Force did a nice demonstration with a Mig 29 from the 1. Bojova letka Tigers based at Sliac AB. There are not many helicopter display teams in the world, but the Spanish Patrulla Aspa is the best known here in Europe. They fly a very impressive and attractive display with their five EC-120 Colibri's.

Gilze Rijen - Opendagen : part 1

This year's Royal Netherlands Air Force open days were being held at the airbase of Gilze Rijen on Friday the 20th and Saturday the 21st of June. As Gilze Rijen is a helicopter base, a lot of the participants were helicopters. In the static display two nicely painted German Army BO-105's could be found and a third one was performing a stunning display. The Belgian Air Force presented their first NH-90NFH of the 40th Sqn based at Koksijde, which arrived only 6 weeks earlier. One of the main themes of the airshow was "50 years Alouette III". For this occasion some remaining Alouette III's on various locations in the Netherlands were brought to Gilze Rijen for static display. All four active Alouette III's got some extra paintings and a flying display was given with three helicopters! Also the Austrian Air Force joined the party with one of their Alouette III's in the flying display. The highlight of the static display was a pair of Turkish F-4E phantoms of 111 Filo based at Eskisehir AB. As 2014 was the year that the main Dutch airline KLM retired their MD-11's, one MD-11 did a flypast with a KDC-10 of the RNLAF and landed at Gilze Rijen afterwards. Highlights of the flying display were the Swiss Air Force F/A-18C hornet and the Dutch Hawker Hunter of the Hawker Hunter Foundation based at Leeuwarden. One of the display teams this year were the British Red Arrows which celebrated their 50th anniversary and were flying with a special tailfin this year.

Lens - Meeting Aérien

On Sunday May the 18th, the - free of admission - airshow was visited by 64.000 people in hot summer conditions. All the aircraft that participated in the flying display that operated from Lens-Benifontaine airfield, were parked on the secondary runway so the people could have a close look. The flying display was a great mix of light aircraft, vintage aircraft and warbirds, helicopters, display teams and fast jets. Display teams were the French Air Force Cartouche Doree, the British Twister team and Breitling Jet team. Among the vintage aircraft displays were some real gems like the OV-10B Bronco of the Belgian Bronco Demo Team, a Yak 3U from "Amicale des Avions de Collection et de Sport Rouen", and T-28A Fennec from "Amicale des Ailes Tremontaises". Fast jet displays were the French Air Force Rafale solo display, the Belgian Air Force F-16 solo display and a French Navy Rafale M, which is very rare at the airshow scene. To end the show a duo display was performed by the French Rafale and Belgian F-16 to mark the special Franco-Belge theme of the airshow!

Lens - Meeting Aérien : Sunset show

The fourth edition of Lens airshow attracted a great line-up again. For the first time a sunset show was being organised on Saturday evening and a real sunset we got. Participants were aerobatic teams like Cartouche Doree and Breitling Jet Team and the French Air Force had sent the Extra 300 for a breath taking aerobatics demo. Off course the highlights were the Belgian Air Force F-16 demo and the French Air Force Rafale. When the sun was set the Twister duo with their fireworks closed this little but nice sunset show. Afterwards some hot air balloons were set up on the runway for a nightglow which was really nice to see.

Emmen : 16/05/2014

On our way back to Belgium we made a quick stop in Emmen just before lunch and we saw one single F-5E Tiger re-joining after its mission. On the apron an EC-635 was parked in front of the tower.

Meiringen : 16/05/2014

On our last day in Switzerland we finally had a sunny day. In the morning we went to have a look to the first wave of the day. Four F-5E Tigers and five F/A-18 Hornets took the air and came back 50 minutes later. Afterwards we left inbound Belgium again via Alpnach, Buochs and Emmen airbase.

Meiringen : 15/05/2014

On Thursday the 15th we stayed at Meiringen again to see their annual repetition course of FlSt 8 and FlSt11. Early morning the jets that were still in Buochs for exercise Revita returned back to Meiringen. During the night it rained a lot, so there was a lot of water on the runway. The first take-offs of the hornets were very impressive to see. We tried again as much as possible different spots to photograph the flying activity.

Buochs - exercise Revita

An essential part of the repetition course in Meiringen was the relocation exercise "REVITA 2014" from the 13th till the 15th of May. Four Hornets and four Tigers were moved from Meiringen Air Base to the "sleeping" airbase of Buochs, a "standby non-permanent airbase". The exercise was to see if during crisis the Air Force is able to move quickly all the support required for this non-permanent and only minimally equipped airfield, in order that the flight operations can be performed without restrictions. On Tuesday the 13th the eight jets arrived, missions were flown on the 14th and the day after the jets returned back to Meiringen. Due to the bad weather in the morning, only 56 movements were carried out from the 82 planned. We went to Buochs on Wednesday the 14th to enjoy the fighter activity.

Meiringen : 13/05/2014

On Tuesday we stayed in Meiringen to enjoy the flying activities of FlSt8, flying with the F-5E Tiger, and FlSt11, flying with F/A-18 Hornet, during their annual repetition course. They flew four waves each with four hornets and six tigers. The last wave landed at Buochs for exercise Revita which started the next day. A PC-6 and PC-7 made some pilot transfers in the evening between Buochs and Meiringen, and a PC-9 came in for a quick lunch stop. The weather was cloudy with periods of rain all day long, but even bad weather conditions can result in interesting pictures.

Meiringen : 12/05/2014

After leaving Buochs in the afternoon we went to Unterbach to check in at our apartment for the rest of the week. Our apartment is located just next to the airfield, and in the garden we even have a military shelter!! Before we checked in, some hornets took off which landed about one hour later. After diner night flying started and this is very impressive to see in the mountains. We went to the road crossing when they taxied back to their caverns and tried some night photography which wasn't easy with moving aircraft.

Buochs : 12/05/2014

On Monday the 12th of May we arrived at Buochs airfield in the morning and soon after our arrival two PC-21's for the Royal Saudi Air Force departed for a flight. Around noon we "discovered" some Saudi PC-21's without engines in front of a cavern, and more were being held out. Apparently they needed one of the PC-21's in the back of the cavern and in total 14 PC-21's were being towed out of the cavern! In the afternoon the two Pilatus PC-21's made a flight as well as a PC-7 mk.2 for the Indian Air Force.

Ramstein : 11/05/2014

On Sunday the 11th of May we started our Switzerland tour. In the morning we departed and around 13h00 we arrived at Ramstein AB. We stayed near the fence for about 4 hours and saw quiet some movements. Four C-17's from various units departed and two others came in. A Texas ANG C-130E departed while a California ANG C-130J arrived. A KC-135 stratotanker from the 72nd Air Refueling Squadron (72 ARS) stationed at Grissom Joint Air Reserve Base, Indiana, and a KC-135 from the 22d Air Refueling Wing (22 ARW) stationed at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas both left in the afternoon. Even the based C-130J's were active with two departures and one arrival.

Abingdon - Air & Country Show

On Sunday the 4th of May the 15th edition of the Abingdon Air and Country show took place in great weather circumstances. The first British show of the year got some nice participants and attracted a lot of people. The Royal Air Force supported the event with a solo display of the Tucano T.1 which was painted in a special scheme to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. A Hercules from the nearby Brize Norton made a fly through and a Merlin from Benson was here for the static display which made a dynamic departure at the end of the day. The highlight of the flying display was the first public display of the Midair Squadron Canberra. In the static display there was a Royal Netherlands Air Force PC-7 and the first public show of the newly restored OV-10B Bronco 99+18 of Bronco Demo Team. A new player in the airshow circuit is the Gazelle Squadron which came with two gazelles for the static display. One was in the colour scheme of a Royal Marines gazelle, while the other one was in the odd Royal Navy colour scheme.

Salisbury Plain Training Area : 02/05/2014

The Salisbury Plain is a chalk plateau in central southern England covering 780 km². It is part of a system of chalk downlands throughout eastern and southern England formed by the rocks of the Chalk Group and largely lies within the county of Wiltshire, with a little in Hampshire. The plain is famous for its rich archaeology, including Stonehenge, one of England's best known landmarks. Largely as a result of the establishment of the Defence Training Estate Salisbury Plain (DTE SP), the plain is sparsely populated and is the largest remaining area of calcareous grassland in north-west Europe. The Salisbury Plain Training Area is mainly used by as a helicopter low flying area. On Friday the 2nd of May we went to one of the areas and saw a RAF Chinook making some landings in the grass. Later a Squirrel of the DHFS and an Army Air Corps Lynx played in the area. Afterwards we went to an area with some landing spots between the threes where an Apache was flying, but no landings were made on those spots unfortunately.

Büchel - basevisit

By invitation of the Dutch spotters group "Panoravia" we participated to a base visit at the German airbase in Büchel on the 29th of April. Büchel is located near the city of Cochem and is home to the Tactical Air Force Wing 33 (TaktLwG 33) flying with the Panavia Tornado since 1985. The role of the unit is Air Interdiction, Offensive Counter Air and Close Air Support, and the unit is the only remaining unit in the German Air Force capable of delivering the B61 nuclear bombs. Our visit started with a briefing and the history of the base. After that we could witness the departure of 5 Tornado's from close-by near the taxiway in front of the tower. Next was a hanger with two Tornado's, one F-104G and a BO-105 where they teach student aircraft technicians. Before having lunch in the officer's mess we had a look in the maintenance hangar of the Tornado's. After lunch we went to a shelter where we got an explanation of all the weapons a Tornado operates. The last stop was the casern located 12km's away from the base where some aircraft were on display. We would like to thank Panoravia, GRAS-spotters and the personnel of Büchel airbase for this excellent visit.

Saint Dizier : 17/04/2014

On our way back home from Base Aérienne 133 Nancy-Ochey, we stopped at Base Aérienne 113 Saint Dizier to see some rafales in the afternoon. Unfortunately nine of the based rafales were gone to Norway for an exercise, so activity was less than normal. We still saw four Armée de l'air and one Aeronavale rafale making a local mission. On the visitors platform there were four Italian EF2000's, but unfortunately those didn't move.

Nancy-Ochey - Green Shield

On 3 April 2014, six F-15C/D Eagles of the Royal Saudi Air Force's 2 Squadron / 7 Wing at King Faisal Air Base, Tabuk, supported by two A330 MRTT tankers and four C-130's, deployed to Base Aérienne 133 Nancy-Ochey in France for the Green Shield 2014 exercise which lasted until the 16th of April. On each flying day two missions were flown, usually consisting of four F-15, four Mirage 2000-5F, four Mirage 2000D and at least two Rafale B/C fighters. We went to have a look on the 16th and the 17th and the weather was great with clear blue skies all day long.

Cazaux : 11/04/2014

Base Aérienne 120 at Cazaux is the main training base in France. It is home of the Advanced Jet Training School (AJeTS) equipped with Alpha Jets from France (ETO01.008 and ETO02.008) and Belgium (11 Sqn) and of 150 Sqn of the Singaporean Air Force flying with M-346. EH01.067 flying with Puma's and Caracal's is equipped with CSAR operations and is based here as well. Another interesting unit is CEV (Centre d'essais en vol) which is the test squadron of the French Air Force flying with a large range of types. The day after the spottersday at Mont-de-Marsan for the Recce Meet, we went to Cazaux for about two hours before catching our flight back to Lille. Unfortunately Cazaux isn't the best airfield to take pictures from outside as the airbase is very large, but with a lot of effort we could still do something.

Mont-de-Marsan - Recce Meet

Mirage F-1CR Squadron ER 2/33 "Savoie" based at BA118 Mont-de-Marsan organised the Recce Meet for the second time in a row on the 10th of April. Recce Meet was conceived to provide a forum for the exchange of reconnaissance skills and experiences, as well as putting lessons learnt into practice in an environment relevant to real world operations, with multinational co-operation in mixed fighter packages. Participants to the exercise were the based Mirage F-1's of ER 2/33 and Rafales of EC 2/30 "Normandie-Niemen". The multinational part of the exercise were a pair of RF-4E Phantom IIs from the Hellenic 348 Squadron based at Larissa and two Spanish EF-18M Hornets from Ala 12 based at Torrejon AB near Madrid. As the Mirage F-1 will be retired from operational service by the end of June, this was one of the last opportunities to get up close and personal with the type in an operational environment.

Wevelgem/Zaventem - Barack Obama visits Belgium

In 2014 the President of the United States (POTUS), Barack Obama, visited Belgium two times. The first visit was on the 26th of March with a visit to the American Cemetery in Waregem and the Belgian government in Brussels. For its visit to Waregem two Marine SH-3D's supported with 5 Wiesbaden based UH-60's flew over POTUS from Brussels to Wevelgem airport. Of course strong security measures were taken and you could not come too close to the helicopters, but on the training day on the 21st it was much more relax and the helicopters could be seen from very close by. It was a very impressive sight to see 7 helicopters arriving at the same time! Its second visit was on the 4th and 5th of June for the G7 meeting in Brussels. On the 5th we went to Zaventem airport to see the VC-25 and C-32 departing after the meeting, and afterwards in the evening the first three C-17's already arrived to pick up the vehicles.

San Javier : 14/03/2014

On the 14th of March we went to have a look at the airfield of Murcia/San Javier before taking the flight back to Belgium in the afternoon. Flying activity was good with six Casa 101 and five T-35C flying several missions in the morning. Two nice visitors came in during our visit: a dauphin helicopter of the general secretariat of the sea, and a SA.332 puma based at Madrid/Cuatro Vientos bringing some VIP's. Unfortunately the weather was not good with clouds all morning. When we had to leave, the sun broke through the clouds though...

Albacete - TLP 2014-2

The second session of the TLP was held from the 10th of March till the 4th of April in Albacete, Spain. We went to have a look on 12 and 13 March in the first week but we were not lucky with the weather as it was mostly overcast with high winds and spells of sunshine when no aircraft moved... The Hellenic Air Force participated with four F-16's from 337 Sqn based at Larisa and the Spanish Air Force sent two F/A-18M hornets from Zaragoza. All the other participants came from France. There were mirages from Nancy, Istres and Orange as well as Rafales from Saint Dizier. Two alpha jets from Dijon acted as aggressors. The French navy also participated with two Super Etendards, two Rafales and the E-2C Hawkeye!

Oostende - Luchtvaartdag

To show the Flemish people which jobs can be found on the four Flemish airports, the Flemish government organised "Luchtvaartdag" on the 8th of March for the first time. To make this event more attractive to the visitors, Ostend airport invited some aircraft which are related to the airport. The Dutch and Belgian coastguard plane could be visited. Belgian defence supported the event with a Navy Alouette III and an Air Force Seaking, two helicopters which comes regularly to Ostend. Other highlights were the based Stearman and a Gazelle helicopter.

Albacete - TLP 2014-1

The first session of the TLP in 2014 was held from the 13th of January till the 7th of February. On Friday the 17th we went to Albacete to see some fighter action. We arrived late morning and around noon an Italian C-27J Spartan, a Spanish Air Force citation and a Spanish F-5M came in. In the afternoon clouds were coming up, but for the departure of the mission around 16h00 the sun appeared. For the recoveries we were very lucky as well as the sun appeared between two large clouds and the whole TLP mission recovered in a stunning sunset! Highlights were Lakenheath based USAFE F-15C and off course the last TLP participation of the French Mirage F-1CR.

San Javier : 13/01/2014

On the military airbase of San Javier near Murcia, the military academy for officers in the Spanish Air Force is located. Two squadrons with training aircraft are based on this airfield so flying activity is good. 791th sqn is the elementary training squadron which operates the T-35C and 793th sqn is the basic training squadron flying with the casa C.101. This airfield also houses the Spanish national aerobatic team: Patrulla Aguila.