Koksijde 2011

Airshow : Arrivals Monday

On Monday already a lot of aircraft arrived for the airshow being held on Wednesday and Thursday. Most of the aircraft came from other airshows in Europe. The Belgian and Netherlands F-16's came from Zeltweg in Austria, just like Turkish Stars and the Saudi Hawks. The Thunderbirds came from Waddington airshow. All the display teams had some support aircraft with them as well. Furthermore a Polish W-3 and an Italian EF2000 arrived on this very sunny and hot day. In the afternoon there was an air-to-air photo-shoot out of a C-130 of the Belgian F-16 demo aircraft.

Airshow : Arrivals Tuesday

On Tuesday was the main arrival day with most of the time RWY11 in use. In the afternoon they switched to RWY29 for some arrivals and the display rehearsals. This nice Tuesday was a very busy day at Koksijde.

Airshow : Support aircraft

Due to the big amount of display teams at the airshow, a lot of support aircraft visited Koksijde. The Americans brought 2 C-17's of which one remained at Koksijde during the airshow. The Saudi hawks had 2 C-130H-30 Hercules with them in a beautiful yellow coat with a blue tail. Turkish Stars were supported by 3 C-160D transalls of which one was in special Turkish Stars colours. The Polish Team Iskra got support of a Polish C-130E. On the show days the commentator of the Red Arrows was brought to Koksijde in a hawk, as the Red Arrows operated from Manston airport in the UK. On Monday a RAF Tornado GR.4 came to Koksijde with some spares for a Tornado that went sick during the airshow.

Airshow : Rehearsals

On every airshow, each display pilot has to show its display to the display director before the airshow starts. The display director can then decide whether it’s a safe display for his airshow. For the display pilots it’s good to perform the display before the show starts, so that they can get used to the local layout of the airshow. Display rehearsals were on Monday and Tuesday.

Airshow : Wrecks and Relics

One of the themes at the airshow was the 65th anniversary of the Belgian Air Force. For this occasion most of the aircraft that were in service in the Belgian Air Force could be seen on the airshow. An F-104 and Mirage V were moved from the Evere headquarters in Brussels to Koksijde after they were restored and being repainted. The beautifully restored Fouga Magister MT49 was on the airshow as well as one of the travel exhibit F-16's. Off course the Sikorsky HSS.1 B4/OT-ZKD stored at Koksijde could not be missed on the show.

Airshow : 6 - 7 July 2011

In the static display some really special aircraft could be found. The Polish Navy sent a Mi-8MTV based at Gdynia/Babie Doly, which is very rare to see outside Poland, if not the first time... The Estonian Air Force came with an AN-2 which is a long way from home for this aircraft. The Ukraine Air Force came with a AN-30 used for transport and Open Skies missions. As the 40th anniversary of the Alouette III in the Belgian Air Force was celebrated, some foreign Alouette III operators supported the airshow. The Netherlands Air Force participated in the static display and the Austrian Air Force in the static display as well as the flying display. To see an aircraft overview, click here.

Airshow : OPS-zone

We got the chance to make a visit in the operational zone of the airshow. This is the zone from where the aircraft operate for the flying displays. Most of this was located south of the runway, some helicopters were on the aprons north of the runway close to the public area. Nice line-ups of the display teams could be made during the visit.

Airshow : Flying display part 1

In this first part we cover some of the British participants. The Royal Air Force had sent over 2 Tornado GR.4's to demonstrate a Role demonstration. This is a demonstration of the task this aircraft has been built for: ground attacks. Other RAF displays came from the Tucano and Beech King Air 200, both used for training. The sole flying Lancaster in this part of the world was being demonstrated by the Battle of Brittain Memorial Flight based in Coningsby. And off course the Red Arrows could not be missed at the airshow. The Middle Eastern counterpart of the Red Arrows, the Saudi Hawks, displayed for the first time in Belgium. To open the show, a formation of 6 Belgian Air Force Alpha jets came over the airfield, making the Belgian flag into the skies. A demonstration of the A.109 agusta was being shown, as well as our Belgian display team, the Red Devils. The Netherlands Air Force displayed their Orange Lion, the AH-64D apache had to cancel the display due to a technical issue.

Airshow : Flying display part 2

Turkish stars came to Koksijde for the first time with their very nice NF-5 Freedom Fighters and their handsome pilots ;-). As one of the themes was the 65th anniversary of the Belgian Air Force some mixed formations were shown to the public. There was a formation of a C-130 and DC-3 dakota, as well as the F-16 with a spitfire. A Dutch Hunter, a French Fouga Magister and a British Meteor displayed were being display, as these aircraft types were in service in the Belgian Air Force in the past. The QRA F-16's intercepted the Belgian Air Force A-330 overhead the airfield to demonstrate a scramble. Off course no Koksijde airshow without a SAR demo of the famous Sea King. A very nice and special display came from the Austrian Air Force with their Alouette III. The French Air Force demonstrated their Alpha Jet in a beautiful special livery for the very last time.

Airshow : Flying display part 3

This last part shows the display of the USAF Thunderbirds. This was not the first time they displayed at Koksijde, but the first time they actually landed at the airfield itself. This very impressive team with 6 F-16C Fighting Falcons really showed the public what precision flying is all about. On Wednesday the displays started later so the show could end in a perfect sunset show. Patrouille de France and the Swiss Air Force F/A-18C Hornet could perform in perfect sunset conditions! The glider demonstration of GliderFX and the two twisters of the SWIP team were great to see with their pyrotechnics during the sunset. And our Belgian F-16 display pilot Michel "Mitch" Beulen closed the show at 22h00 with his magnificent demonstration.

Airshow : Departures

On Friday most of the participants left Koksijde back home or to another airshow for the next weekend. To witness the departures, Koksijde airbase organised a spotters day. The photographers were positioned in the middle of the action near the tower. On Saturday only 4 F-16C's from the Thunderbirds returned back to the states as one of the other group of 4 had a technical issue. The second group then departed on Sunday. On Wednesday the 13th of July the last participants left Koksijde to Fairford in the UK: the Saudi Hawks.

Koksijde : January

The first month of the year started really calm this time. On the 18th a Gütersloh based Lynx AH.7 refuelled en-route to Wattisham for maintenance. The crew returned on the 21th with another Lynx AH.7. On the 26th we could welcome a C-130 again which did 2 missions out of Koksijde. On the 28th a Woensdrecht based PC-7 came to Koksijde for a touch and go on RWY11, but had to watch out for the birds.

Koksijde : February

On the 7th three French Air Force Alpha jets based at Tours made an instrument approach. Unfortunately none of them came low over the airfield and the weather that day was perfect IFR weather unfortunately... One day later a C-130 came to Koksijde for some training. Weather conditions were perfect and it was nice to see some hercules activity again at Koksijde.

Koksijde : March

On the first day of the month, a Belgian Air Force Alpha Jet performed one touch and go, which has become rare in Belgium nowadays. On the 15th of March a Yeovilton based Royal Navy Lynx HMA.8 took some gas to continue to De Kooy in Holland. On the same day, marchetti ST03 in Hardship Red colour scheme arrived at Koksijde to be repainted in Red Devils colours. This year the Hardship Red team will be renamed after the famous Belgian display team, the Red Devils. On the 29th three agusta helicopters arrived late afternoon and departed after dark for a night mission back to Beauvechain. The same day 2 Mirage F-1CR based at Reims came overhead during a recce mission.

Koksijde : April

On the 14th of March, marchetti ST03 was ready after its paintjob into Red Devils colours and departed back to Beauvechain. On the 8th of April the Dutch minister of defence announced a big defence cut for the next years. This resulted in the retirement of the complete Cougar fleet (except for 3 helicopters that will be kept for fire fighting operations). As the retirement would already be one month later, the visit of 2 Cougars on the 26th of April was probably the last time we see these helicopters at Koksijde. Later they decided the will keep 9 helicopters in service until the new NH-90's will be delivered.

Koksijde : May

On the 9th the annual crash exercise was being held. The setup for the exercise was a crash on the airfield during the F-16 display. Therefore the Belgian display pilot Michel "Mitch" Beulen performed its display rehearsal over the airfield. A wreck of an F-16 fuselage was put on the old runway to simulate the wreck after the crash. On the last day of the month, three Royal Navy Sea King HC.4's based at Yeovilton refuelled at Koksijde. One of them had a very nice arctic camouflage scheme. Late afternoon that day the first Netherlands Air Force NH-90NFH came to Koksijde with the Belgian IP Jo "Bal" Balcaen.

Koksijde : June

Some nice British visitors could be catched this month. On the 9th 2 Royal Navy Lynx HMA.8 refueled at Koksijde, of which one was in the "Black Cats" display colourscheme. On the 14th the 3 Royal Navy Sea King HC.4's returned again via Koksijde. Another nice visitor was a Netherlands Air Force Alouette III from Gilze Rijen. A-292 came twice this month to get some fuel. Some civil aircraft specialised in aerial mapping joined at Koksijde for a combined exercise from the 14th till the 27th of June.

Koksijde : July

The beginning of the month was very busy because of the airshow. To bring a pilot for the broken F-16AM FA87 in a stunning tiger scheme, F-16BM FB23 landed at Koksijde on the 12th of July. On the 13th a German Army CH-53G refuelled en-route to Fairford for the RIAT. On the 25th, a Czech Air Force MI-171Sh made a night stop on its way back from the helicopter show in Weston-Super-Mare in the UK. A Czech Mi-35 attack helicopter made a low pass over the airfield on request of the tower, which was a very nice sight!

Koksijde : August

In August some Chinooks based at Gilze Rijen in Holland came to Koksijde for a lunch stop. On the 2nd three British Army Lynx AH.7 refuelled at Koksijde during their navigation flight to Germany. They came back on the next day. On the 9th three Karup based Danish Air Force Fennics refuelled at Koksijde. These helicopters are not seen very often in Belgium and returned back to Denmark on the 11th again via Koksijde.

Koksijde : September

On the 14th the Royal Navy "Black Cats" helicopter display team refuelled at Koksijde on their way to the Netherlands Air Force open-days in Leeuwarden. Two of the helicopters wore the special Black Cats display scheme. After Leeuwarden they went to Sanicole for the airshow. They refuelled again at Koksijde on their way back home on the 19th. On the 15th a Culdrose based Royal Navy Sea King HU.5 refuelled at Koksijde as well en-route to the Leeuwarden airshow. On the 28th three Danish Air Force Fennics refuelled after a navigation flight to the UK.

Koksijde : October

October was a very calm month. The only noteworthy visitor was a Cobham Flight Precision Beech King Air 200 that came to Koksijde to calibrate the TACAN and PAR radar.

Koksijde : November

On the 8th three Beauvechain based A.109 agusta's refuelled at Koksijde en-route to the UK for a navigation flight. They returned one day later. The 24th was a busy day with a lunch stop of 4 SF.260D marchetti's. It was nice weather and one was wearing the special colours to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the marchetti.

Koksijde : December

December was dominated by the Netherlands Air Force and Navy. On the 6th a SH-14D Lynx of the Netherlands Navy visited Koksijde for the last time. They came from a ship and departed to De Kooy after taking some gas. The Lynx had some "Obelix" stickers attached which they get during a ship deployment. The Lynx will be taken out of service in September 2012 and only 3 remain active during 2012. On the 12th, four PC-7's from Woensdrecht came to Koksijde for a lunch stop on a very sunny day.

Sea King - 2011

This is a selection of pictures taken in 2011 of the Sea King MK.48 of the 40th Sqn based at Koksijde. These pictures were made during normal training missions at Koksijde and surroundings.