Koksijde 2016

Koksijde : January

Traditionally on the first flying days of the New Year, some F-16's come by to say hello in shape of training approaches. High bird intensity over the airfield forced ATC to only allow high approaches. On the 11th a C-130 made one approach. On the 13th a German Navy Sea King MK.41 made a quick fuelstop en-route to Yeovilton to be repainted. It was still supporting its special color scheme to celebrate 35 years of SAR with Sea King in the German Navy, which they celebrated in June 2010. That same day it was busy with Marchetti training as well as several yellow birds came to Koksijde for some approaches. On the 14th, the sole remaining Falcon 20 still in service in the Belgian Air Force flew in formation with an NH-90NFH along the coastline, probably to take some air-to-air pictures. On the 21st and 22nd, NH-90MTH RN06 made an IFR approach and continued to Lille-Lesquin for some further IFR training. On the 28th, NH-90MTH RN07 made a successful test flight late afternoon and departed the next day, after having a 300hrs inspection. This was the first NH-90MTH that had its 300hrs inspection at Koksijde and the maintenance crew did the job in exactly 6 weeks time!

Koksijde : February

The 5th brought a special visitor to Koksijde. NH-90NFH 1216 is the sixth NH-90NFH of fourteen ordered by the Royal Norwegian Air Force and it is the first sonar equipped NH-90NFH. They took off in Tessera, Italy and made a night stop at Koksijde en-route to Bardufoss in Norway during its delivery flight. On the 11th, 12th, 16th and 19th some marchetti's made a full stop landing at Koksijde during their training flights. On the 23rd a Sikorsky 76 of the British Royal Flight made a fuel stop at Koksijde after flying Princes Anne to Ieper. The daughter of Queen Elizabeth II went to Ieper to attend the presentation of the banners of The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals. The British Household Cavalry is a separate corps within the army and consists of two regiments: the Life Guards and the Blues and Royals. These are some of the oldest regiments in the British Army and their history goes back to 1660. From February 24 till March 10, an MD902 from the Federal Police was based at Koksijde to support the Police in guarding the border with France to stop the flow of refugees from France to Belgium. They mostly flew during the dark hours with their special cameras. On the 25th, Sea King MK.41 89+58 made a fuel stop on its way back to Nordholz after being repainted in Yeovilton. They already passed through Koksijde on January 13, but then it was still wearing its special colors scheme for 35 years of SAR with Sea King in the German Navy. On the 26th, NH-90MTH RN07 landed twice that day to drop off and pick up some people.

Koksijde : March

Due to bad weather in the first week of March, not a lot happened at Koksijde unfortunately. Because of a deployment of a Police MD902 to guard the French-Belgian border, both Cessna 182's did some crew transfers between Melsbroek and Koksijde. On the 8th four French Air Force Alpha Jets made an IFR approach and continued to Gilze Rijen for a night stop. On the 11th a Dutch NH-90NFH based at De Kooy did some exercises over the North Sea and came in twice that day to take some fuel. On the 14th there was an Air-To-Air photo-shoot of the Belgian Air Force out of the C-130 Hercules. First the Solo Display F-16 and Tiger tail F-16 joined up with the Hercules in front of Lombardsijde for a photo-shoot with flares, and afterwards it was time for the 21st Sqn to join up. First was the Airbus 321 to join up with the C-130 to make a pass over the runway, after that they did the same with the ERJ-135. The pictures will be used in the book "70 Years Belgian Air Force" which will be presented to the public during the Belgian Air Force Days in Florennes on 25 and 26 June 2016. On the 24th C-130 CH-13 made some nice low passes in front of the 40th Sqn hangar, to celebrate the last flight of one of the pilots. And at the end of the month there was some helicopter activity again for the annual bi-cycle race "3-daagse van De Panne - Koksijde".

Koksijde : April

In the beginning of the month some F-16's flew over the base on their way to and from the sea. On the 12th a C-130 made 5 approaches after a check flight. Later during the month it was mainly marchetti action. On the 13th, 18th and 20th; marchetti ST02 and ST12 made a lunch stop with students during one of their navigation flights. ST02 was still wearing its "Hardship Red" color scheme. In 2008, this team was initially unofficially formed flying with four marchetti's. The following year, this team received "official" status as an aerobatic team along with the formal name of "Hardship Red". As of April 2011, the team has been re-branded as the "Red Devils" and all of the team's aircraft have been repainted in an overall "red" livery. The 20th brought us two of the few remaining A.109's which made a fuel stop in Koksijde. On the 22nd a French Air Force Alpha Jet made one approach on its way from Beauvechain to its home base in Cazaux, France. On the 25th a new Chinook HC.6 of the Royal Air Force made a low approach on RWY11 on its way from its home base to its unknown destination. The helicopter was delivered in June 2014! On the 28th a Cessna Citation 550 from the NLR (Nederlands Lucht- en Ruimtevaartcentrum) came to Koksijde to calibrate the PAR equipment. In the past this was done by the British company Cobham Aviation. It was nice to see a Citation Jet doing the job now instead of a Diamond 42.

Koksijde : May

In the beginning of the month some marchetti's of CC Air based in Beauvechain came to Koksijde for practice approaches or full stop landings. On the 12th C-130 CH09 made four IFR approaches after a testflight along the coastline. On the 13th, four RNLAF Apaches and one Chinook made a fuelstop en-route to Carlisle for their annual exercise TAC Blaze 2016. On the 17th another Chinook made it to Koksijde and the next day two more Cougars took some fuel on their way to Carlisle. On the 13th two A.109's made a pre-visit for exercise Storm Tide 3 which was held at the end of the month. On the 17th EC-135P2+ D-HDDL operated by the German Navy made a fuelstop and departed further northwest. The helicopter is new and used for crew training for the German Navy. For the moment this is the sole example in their fleet. On the 18th and 19th the Jordanian King visited Belgium and was transported to various places by two NH-90MTH. On the 19th both helicopters came to Koksijde for fuel after bringing the Royal visit to Zeebrugge. On the 30th two British Apache AH.1's made a fuelstop on their way to ILA in Berlin. They will be showing their skills under the name of Attach Helicopter Display Team. Bad weather forced them to make a nightstop. The next day they tried again, but had to return immediately as the ceiling was way too low. They eventually departed on the first of June. On the last day of the month, five A.109's and one NH-90MTH arrived at Koksijde for exercise Storm Tide 3. As the weather was really bad the NH-90MTH and one A.109 departed again to Beauvechain with the crews. On the second of June a NH-90MTH returned with the crews to pick up all the helicopters to fly them back to Beauvechain without having flown a single mission

Koksijde : July

As June was so quiet, so busy it was in July. A lot of F-16's came to Koksijde to make practice approaches, including the beautifully painted tiger F-16 on the 8th. On the 6th two special painted German Army BO-105's made a fuelstop on their way to Fairford for the Royal International Air Tattoo. It was so nice to see them taxiing by up close near the aeroclub!! On the 11th they made another fuelstop back home. This will probably be the last visit of German Army BO-105's as the type will be retired in the German Army later this year. Furthermore a Dutch Chinook and Apache passed overhead on their way to RIAT, and on Monday a Croatian Air Force Mi-171 passed over Koksijde on its way to Florennes to make a fuelstop over there. On the 13th, the first rehearsal day for the Defile over Brussels, the leaders of each F-16 formation passed overhead at 1000ft after some holdings over Koksy VOR. The 19th was a busy day with a touch and go of an Alpha Jet on its way to Beauvechain. Then an NH-90MTH came in for a quick stop and go and a Marchetti and the demo agusta made a low approach over the runway. If this wasn't enough, two C-130's came to Koksijde for some approaches! One E-3A AWACS participated in the defile over Brussels on our National Holiday on the 21st of July. As the holding of the E-3A was over Koksy VOR they first made one low approach before to climb in a holding over Koksy VOR to join up with the two QRA F-16's for the flypass. Before setting course to Brussels, the formation made another pass at 2000ft over the base, which had a lot of attention by the many tourists at the coast!! On the 29th the new special painted demo A.109 made some first flights out of Koksijde. A Dutch NH-90NFH came in for a lunch stop on its way back from the Air Day at Culdrose in the UK.

Koksijde : August

August was again a busy month. Most of the month, we were blessed with good weather which brought some nice visitors to the Belgian coast. The Britten Norman Islander of the Belgian North Sea Aerial Survey came to Koksijde twice in the beginning of the month. On the 5th, the special decorated F-16BM FB24 made a nice low pass over the runway on their way to the North Sea for some low level flying. IFR training on the NH-90MTH continued and on the 8th, 12th, 18th 23th and 29th they came to Koksijde for an IFR approach. Two more times they came for cargosling training and winching exercises. A lot of F-16's made overshoots, practice approaches or base attacks so we could enjoy some jet noise as well. Also the Marchetti's of Beauvechain were busy with making approaches or full stop landings. On Sunday the 14th the Red Devils made some passes over the airfield and the coast on their way from "Wings And Wheels" in Ursel to the "Oldtimer Fly-in" in Schaffen. On the 16th and 18th, a German Air Force CH-53GA made a fuelstop at Koksijde on its way to and from Scotland for an exercise. It was already a long time ago we had a visit of this nice helicopter and as this wasn't enough, they taxied to the platform near the aeroclub, so we could enjoy it from very close by!! On the 23rd an ERJ-145 and A.109 came to Koksijde for some first flights. On the 29th an Irish Air Corps AW-139 passed overhead to Liege for some maintenance. On the 30th a Tiger painted Royal Navy Merlin passed overhead on its way to Airpower 16 in Zeltweg in Austria. At the end of the month, the UAV boys arrived back at Koksijde for their second deployment this year. The 19th we had our traditional Runway Run and Opendoor which brought some extra movements of the Red Devils, A.109, C-130 and F-16's.

Koksijde : September

During the whole month of September, 80 Sqn UAV used Koksijde to execute flights over the North Sea. On the first day, a 17 Sqn MRH NH-90MTH came to Koksijde again for cargosling training with the MAOT team. On the 5th the special painted tiger Merlin HM.2 flew over on its way back to Culdrose from Airpower 16 in Zeltweg, Austria. On the 8th, three brand new US Army CH-47F Chinooks made a very nice low pass over the runway on their way back to their homebase Ansbach in Germany. They went to the United Kingdom were they supported the visit of US Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Quiet some RAF Chinooks passed overhead Koksijde on their way to replace the Chinooks in operations for an exercise somewhere in Europe. On the 16th the Belgian Air Force Red Devils arrived at Koksijde to open the Belgian Open Aerobatic Championship 2016 the next day. Unfortunately most of the flying activities were cancelled due to the poor weather conditions that weekend. On the 22nd a C-130 made some approaches to train special procedures like high altitude approaches.

Koksijde : October

October was all about quality rather than quantity. From 10 till 14 October we had the International SAR-meet which brought some extra flight activity and two nice helicopters to Koksijde. On the 14th, a Portuguese Air Force Casa 295 made a great low pass at Koksijde on its way back to Montijio. They landed at Ostend Airport to pick up the Portuguese crew from the SAR-meet. On the 3rd "Blizzard" made a visit with 4 visual patterns. This is the specially decorated F-16 of the F-16 Demo Team for the seasons 2015 - 2017. Many marchetti's made approaches or full stop landings throughout the month. On the 7th, four F-16's flew over Koksijde towards the sea, and passed overhead again back to Kleine Brogel. On the 14th, one of the Royal Air Force Chinooks which passed over Koksijde in September, made a fuel stop on its way back to Odiham in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately it was just before sunset on a dull day, so light was very poor. On the 17th, two Royal Navy Merlin HC.3's based at Yeovilton made a fuel stop and after Koksijde they landed in Ramstein, Germany. On the 28th they only passed overhead because they made a night stop at Melsbroek on their way back home.

Koksijde : November

November was a very calm month. There were a lot of non-flying days due to bank holidays and the bad weather conditions didn't help a lot neither. A lot of marchetti's came for training approaches or full stop landings. One of the marchetti's was ST04 which was recently repainted in the standard yellow scheme after major maintenance. ST04 had flown a couple of years with a Red Devils color scheme. The visitor of the month was undoubtedly the Slovenian Air Force Cougar. The exotic helicopter was based in Florennes for exercise "Black Blade 2016". The primary mission of this exercise is to train helicopter crews and Special Forces in Special Operations missions. On the 23rd they made a nice low pass over runway 11 during a mission in West-Vlaanderen. And as this wasn't enough, they made a return visit the next day, doing another great low pass over the runway!

Koksijde : December

December was a very calm month with only a few flying days remaining. The 5th was undoubtly the best day of the month with nice weather and some nice visitors. Two marchetti's came for a practice approach and one made a full stop landing. One RAF Chinook HC.6 flew over the base en-route to the Middle East for operations. A second RAF Chinook made a fuel stop during a navigation training flight. They came from their home base Odiham and departed back to Northolt near London. As the main visitor's platform was occupied with the marchetti, the X-servicing parked the Chinook on the second platform close to the fence, which resulted in great pictures. As this wasn't enough, the crew decided to taxi to the runway via the S3 taxiway near the Aero club which attracted many people to have a look. Because they had to go to the UK, they made a 180 turn after take-off!! The rest of the month brought us some more marchetti's, an A.109 that flew a local mission out of Koksijde and an F-16 that made a practice diversion exercise. On the last flying day of the year, the last visiting marchetti could be photographed in front of a great sunset.

Storm Tide 3

From Monday May 29 to Friday June 3, the Light Brigade of the Land Component organized exercise Storm Tide 3 in the provinces of West and East Flanders. During this exercise, the soldiers trained procedures and techniques for security operations and the repatriation of compatriots abroad (NEO). 350 civilians participated in the exercise along with soldiers of Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and the UK. They were evacuated by road, by air and by water. Four C-130 Hercules were based at Ostend airport for the exercise and flew several missions to support the exercise. Due to the very bad weather all week long, all the helicopter flights were cancelled and a most of the C-130 flights into Koksijde as well. On Thursday evening eight C-130 missions were flown between Wevelgem and Koksijde to bring back the soldiers, civilians and vehicles. For a small movie, please click here.


Prior to the 5th Runway Run, Belgian Defence organized an open-door again to show the public what the 40th Sqn does every day. In the static display there was an Alouette III, NH-90NFH and Sea King of the 40th Sqn. The newly decorated demo Agusta, a C-130 and a Marchetti were present as well and were towed onto the runway later in the afternoon for the Runway Run. Also the aircraft from the West Aviation Club were present in the static display and acted as decor for the Runway Run in the evening. In the afternoon there were some flying displays. The Red Devils opened the program, but flew with only 3 Marchetti's as one of the pilots' mother passed away some days before. This was followed by a base attack of two F-16's from Kleine Brogel. No open-door without a SAR demo of the Sea King off course, which was again the main crowd pleaser.

SAR-meet : spottersday

From Monday 10 till Friday 14 October the yearly Search and Rescue meeting was held again. This time it was organized by the 40th Sqn at our home base Koksijde. During this multinational exercise the skills of the crews are being tested in numerous games. Ten international units were confirmed to participate in the exercise together with our three home teams. Unfortunately due to technical and operational reasons eight units had to cancel their participation and only a German Sea King from MFG5 based at Nordholz and an Austrian Alouette III of the "Verbindungshubschrauberstaffel" based at Aigen im Ennstal made it to Koksijde on Monday. The crew of the Portuguese Esq751 based at Montijo still made it to Koksijde, but came with a Casa 295 instead of their Merlin helicopter. On Tuesday morning the highland games were organized so crews had to work together to succeed the tests. In the afternoon the navigation skills of the crews were tested during the navigation flight. The crews had to search and overfly some specific landmarks. They also had to make a landing at the airfield of Moorsele during their flight, and all this had to be done in the shortest time possible. On this day 360 aviation photographers were invited onto the base to witness the take-offs and landings of the helicopters. We were blessed with excellent autumn weather and were put on an excellent spot south of the runway where all the helicopters posed right in front of us. One of the MD902's of the Federal Police Support Unit came to Koksijde and performed two nice demonstrations along the Sea King and NH-90 SAR-demo.

SAR-meet : winching

On Wednesday morning the crews had to execute some exercises at the open air swimming pool of Oostduinkerke. In the afternoon they had to show their winching skills during the winching test. The crews had to search and pick-up some small sand bags at one of the bunkers at the airfield. Then they had to fly to the SAR-platform where they had to winch down one of the crew members to guide the winch operator during the precise winching tests. First they had to slalom a weight between three obstacles, then they had winch down the weight on a spot with the same seize of the weight! Afterwards they had to pick up a water can and move it between some obstacles without losing the water. To finish they had to pull a handle with the winch to release a flare which marked the end of the test. Afterwards they had to drop the earlier found sand bags at some specific positions on another bunker at the airfield. To finish the pilot had to make a precision landing on the runway.

SAR-meet : formation flight 40 years Sea King/45 years Alouette III

To finish the exercise a formation flight of all five participating crews were made over the base on Wednesday late afternoon. In the evening there was a big party to celebrate 40 years Sea King and 45 years Alouette III. Like many times before, the crew of the 40th Sqn Sea King were the overall winners of the exercise and can keep the trophee for one year. Congratulations to the whole crew!!! Next year, the SAR-meet will be hosted by MFG5 in Nordholz Germany.

Sea King - 2016

This is a selection of pictures taken in 2016 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.

NH-90 - 2016

This is a selection of pictures taken in 2016 of the NH-90NFH of the 40th Sqn based at Koksijde. These pictures were made during normal training missions at Koksijde and surroundings.