Koksijde : January and FebruaryAs of the beginning of the year, the Danish Air Force CL-604 based at Lille-Lesquin airport in Northern France, was swapped with a French Customs Beech 350 to fly the Frontex surveillance missions along the French-Belgian shoreline. On the 5th an Irish Air Corps AW139 277 flew over to Liege to undergo deep maintenance at the Leonardo facilities. Along the usual Marchetti and F-16 training approaches some A.109's came in for fuel stops during the month. The first international visitor of the new year was a Royal Netherlands Air Force Cougar helicopter based at Gilze Rijen.
On the 5th of February the French Customs Beech 350 was swapped with a brand new Italian Customs P-72B to fly the Frontex surveillance missions. On the 10th two Royal Netherlands Air Force PC-7's came to Koksijde for some training IFR approaches. On the 23rd six British Helicopters crossed overhead to Eindhoven to take some fuel on their way to the east. Both formations consisted out of one Royal Air Force Chinook and two Army Air Corps Apache helicopters. The first formation even made a low pass along the tower which was very impressive to see.
Koksijde : MarchBesides the usual Marchetti and F-16 training approaches, some foreign helicopters passed overhead Koksijde this month. On the 10th a formation of four Army Air Corps Wildcat helicopters passed along the coastline to Gilze Rijen for a fuel stop on their way further eastbound. The next day all but one British helicopters that passed over Koksijde on the 23rd of February, crossed again on their way to the United Kingdom. The tower requested all the helicopters to make a low pass and but only two apaches made a detour to make a low pass overhead RWY11. The second formation only crossed overhead at 1000 feet. The second Chinook went straight over sea from the Netherlands to the UK without following the coastline. On the 16th A-400M CT-03 made three low approaches on RWY11 which was an impressive sight. On the 17th two NH-90TTH from the 18th Sqn MRH in Beauvechain made a low approach on their way to Le Touquet in France, and did the same on their way back. On the 22nd NH-90TTH RN-08 made a low approach on its way to Lombardsijde for some firing exercises. From Monday 28th of March till Friday 8th April some panther crashtenders were transferred to Koksijde to allow A-400M training and on the second day CT-04 came to make two touch and go's. On the 30th the 350 Sqn special tail F-16 made one low approach on RWY11.
Koksijde : April and MayOn the 5th of April, a Royal Netherlands Air Force PC-7 based at Woensdrecht made two IFR approaches. The Dutch PC-7's cross the border more and more to use Koksijde for their training approaches, which is something we like very much. On the 12th three F-16 from Kleine Brogel AFB came to make a base attack which is always spectacular to see and hear. On the 20th Police helicopter G-17 landed to pick up someone and refueled after its mission before returning back to Melsbroek. On the 27th the beautifully painted X-tiger F-16 made one low approach. The same day AW139 277 from the Irish Air Corps passed overhead on its way back home after maintenance in Liege.
On the 10th citation PH-LAB came to calibrate the navigation aids of the base again. On the 12th a Dutch PC-7 visited our base again for two training approaches. On the 16th Dauphin OO-NHV from Noordzee Helikopters Vlaanderen made a fuelstop during a joint SAR exercise together with the Belgian NH-90's. On the 30th F-16AM FA-116 passed overhead on its way to Ostend to make a precautionary landing after a bird strike near Le Touquet. One week later a team from Kleine Brogel went to Ostend to make a temporary repair to ferry back the F-16 to Kleine Brogel.
Koksijde : JuneOn the 2nd the X-tiger F-16 visited Koksijde again. This time in clean configuration and on RWY11. Earlier that day FB-17 also made two approaches on RWY11. On the 8th two RAF Puma's based at RAF Benson passed overhead on their way to the east for a deployment. On the 10th a third Puma flew overhead following the same route. On the 14th A-400M CT-05 visited our base for the first time with two low approaches. On the 17th she came back, this time to make eight stop and goes. On the 20th one RAF Chinook based at RAF Odiham passed overhead on its way to Berlin for the ILA airshow. On the 27th a French customs H135 helicopter arrived for a deployment till the 30th. The helicopter did some flights along the Belgian coastline and exercises at the port of Zeebrugge.
Koksijde : JulyJuly started with two local events which were blessed with nice weather and brought some nice extra visitors. On 2nd and 3rd July the annual Belgian Open Aerobatics Championship (BOACK) was held again by the West Aviation Club and our Belgian national display team arrived on Friday to perform during the public days in the weekend. On the 6th the opendoor of the airbase was held and this brought back the icon of Koksijde, nothing less than a Sea King! The plan was to bring back one of the two former 40th Sqn Sea Kings back to its home base, but the paperwork of both airframes was not ready yet, so Historic Helicopters send an Royal Air Force Mark 3 example. They arrived on Tuesday and departed on Thursday to Ursel to perform on Ursel Avia on 10 July. On their way back to the United Kingdom they made another fuelstop at our base. We hope to see them back in the near future! During the opendoor two Royal Air Force Puma helicopters made a surprise low pass on their way back home from deployment in Eastern Europe. On the 12th a Czech Air Force W-3A Sokol helicopter made a nightstop on their way to the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford. They made a fuelstop on Monday too on their way back home. A Royal Netherlands Air Force NH-90NFH also made a fuelstop on its way to RIAT, as well as Royal Danish Air Force baby blue team with their 7 Saab T-17's! All returned on Monday on their way back home. A German Air Force CH-53, a Czech Mi-35 and Mi-171Sh as well as the Royal Jordanian Falcons made a low pass on their way to and from the Air Tattoo. On the 25th Belgian Air Force C-130H CH-12, sold to Pakistan Air Force and now flying with registration 4483, made some low approaches during a its acceptance flight. Very nice to see our beloved Hercules gets a second life! On the 28th two Royal Netherlands Air Force Cougars based at Gilze Rijen made a lunch stop.
Koksijde : AugustOn the first day, Belgian Air Force C-130H CH-09, now flying as Pakistan Air Force 4479, made some low approaches during its acceptance flight from the Pakistan Air Force. This one was the second Belgian Air Force C-130H delivered to the Pakistan Air Force. On the same day two Royal Air Force Chinooks passed overhead on their way to Melsbroek where they did a nightstop. Both helicopters returned on the 3rd and made a nice low pass over the runway. On the 18th both Dream Viper and X-tiger special painted F-16's made some approaches on their way to Albert Picardy airport for the airshow. On the 19th a Royal Netherlands Air Force NH-90NFH made a lunch stop. On the 22nd the annual "4-daagse van de Ijzer" marches started again and to entertain the participants, para drops along the track were demonstrated. One A.109 from 17th Sqn MRH was based at Koksijde for the whole week and the Belgian Black Devils para drop team invited the Royal Air Force Falcons to make some jumps during the week as well. This brought a Canadian Do-228 to Koksijde which is being used by the RAF Falcons. On the 22nd A-400M CT-01 made some training approaches at Koksijde to work up the crews for the big exercise "Stormtide" which will be held in September. On the 24th CT-05 and CT-07 came for training approaches and on the 25th CT-04 and CT-06. It was a nice busy week with plenty of A-400M movements. On the 26th MD902 G-12 made a fuelstop before demonstrating at the K-9 day in Koksijde on the beach.
Koksijde : SeptemberSeptember was dominated by the two-week non-combatant evacuation exercise "Stormtide". In the first week the A-400M's flew in a lot of military equipment and personnel, during the second week it was time for the retraction of the civilians and the redeployment of the military equipment and personnel. So from the 7th till 16th gave us a lot of A-400M movements, as well as some A.109 and NH-90MTH visits at well. On the 6th Falcon 7X OO-FAE from the 21st Sqn made its maiden visit to Koksijde to bring some military VIP's to Koksijde to visit the exercise "Stormtide". On the 7th a Czech Air Force Mi-35 and Mi-171Sh made a nightstop at Koksijde on their way to the Duxford Battle of Britain air show. The hind had a very nice special livery to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the only Czechoslovak bomber squadron within the RAF which was formed on 29 July 1940, 311th Sqn. On the 8th P-51D Mustang N351MX made a pass along the tower on its way to the Sanicole airshow. On the 16th Britten Norman OO-MMM which flies for the Belgian Coastguard arrived at Koksijde to be based for the next 6 weeks. Runway works at Antwerp airport prevents the aircraft to operate from its homebase and forced them to divert to Koksijde. On the same day Police helicopter G-17 did some local training at the airfield. Casa 212 N620AR was deployed at Koksijde from the 20th till 23rd to perform Para drops for the Belgian Army. On the 28th Danish Air Force MH-60R N-977 made a nightstop at Koksijde to leave the next day to a ship which was in the North sea channel. This was a first type visit which made this visitor even more special. During the evening very nice pictures could be made when a rainbow appeared just behind the helicopter. During their departure they made a low pass at the tower to say goodbye.
Open DoorAfter two cancelled editions due to the corona pandemic, another opendoor was held on Wednesday the 6th of July. The weather was perfect: sunshine and not too hot, which resulted in a massive crowd on the airbase that brought back (a little bit of) the feeling of the airshows in the past. The static display was filled with a marchetti, NH-90TTH and A400M, as well as the locally NH-90NFH and Sea King RS03. But there was more than one Sea King on the airbase for the opendoor. The British company Historic Helicopters, which bought Belgian Sea King RS02 and RS04, came to the opendoor with one of their Sea Kings for a flying display. The plan was to come with one of the Belgian examples, but the paperwork was not ready in time to let the helicopters fly again back to Koksijde. Therefore they send a yellow Royal Air Force Sea King Mk3 with registration XZ597. It was so nice to see this beautiful helicopter back in the sky at Koksijde. Furthermore there was a base attack of two Florennes based F-16's, a SAR demo of the NH-90NFH and Para dropping out of an A.109. No Belgian opendoor without our national ambassadors: the Red Devils, the A.109 display team with their fantastic Razzle Blade and Vrieske with its Dream Viper. As the condition of the runway at Koksijde is not good enough anymore to let an F-16 land, the Dream Viper and spare aircraft were based at the nearby Ostend airport to fly demonstrations during the opendoor.