Trips 2008

Melsbroek - Opendoor

On Sunday the 14th of September, Melsbroek airbase opened its doors to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Belgian military transport wing, 15th Wing. Excellent weather and a nice static display made a lot of people coming to Melsbroek. Off course all the based aircraft were presented, as well as the other aircraft of the Belgian Air Force, but there were also some nice foreign visitors as well as some vintage aircraft. As the Federal Police Support Unit is also located in Melsbroek, they also invited some helicopters from the neighbour countries and did some operational demonstrations with their MD900 helicopters.

Kleine Brogel - Photocall Jordanian F-16's

At the end of August 2007 the Belgian authorities had finalised the sale of 14 F-16 (12 F-16AM and 2 F-16BM) fighters to Jordan for the total price of 70 million Euros. After the necessary modifications, Jordan pilots are in progress of receiving their training in Belgium (OCU Squadron at KB) before returning with their mounts to their country. In July 2008 the Belgian Government agreed on the sale to the Royal Jordanian Air Force of two additional F-16BM twin-seaters: FB-04 and FB-02. On 10 September KB airbase invited some spotters to see the first 4 aircraft (FB-04, FB-08, FA-58 and FA-61) leaving for Jordan.

Calais - Meeting Aérien : arrivals

On Sunday 31th of August a nice airshow was being organised by the city of Calais at the local airfield of Calais-Marck. On Saturday 30th of August we already went to have a look to see most of the aircraft coming in for the airshow. Highlights were a Skyraider, the B-17 Flying Fortress, 2 Vampires, a Yak 11 and a T-6 Zero.

Keckskemét - Airshow : arrivals

As it is becoming a really big airshow in Europe, we went to Hungary to see the 2008 edition of Keckskemét airshow. The excellent airshow was organised over the weekend of 16 and 17 August. On Friday the 15th of August most of the participants arrived and we positioned ourselves in the approach of the airfield. Weather was very hot with temperatures up to 43°C! As Hungary is in the middle of the Eastern Europe, some aircraft and types that never come to Western Europe could be seen. Serbia sent an Orao in a great special scheme and a Super Galeb. It was nice to see 2 Romanian Mig 21's and an AN-26 support aircraft as well as a Polish Su-22 Fitter. The USAF had sent a C-17 Globemaster to perform awesome displays.

Farnborough - Airshow

Every 2 years the airshow in Farnborough alternates with the airshow in Le Bourget. This year it was held on 19 and 20 July. The week prior to the public days, the airshow is only for professionals. On Monday the 14th of July we already went to have a look, mainly for the display of the F-22 that we didn't saw on the cancelled RIAT in Fairford the weekend before. Other highlights of the show were the Boeing Super Hornet and the Airbus A380 Super Jumbo. On Sunday the 20th of July we came back to see the other participants during the public days.

Kleine Brogel - Photocall Sanicole airshow

On Friday 18 July Kleine Brogel organised a Photocall for the Sanicole airshow arrivals and the last rehearsals for the National defilé over Brussels on 21 July. Unfortunately the weather was not that good, but this didn't spoil a nice day at KB. Some nice formations passed over KB, and the local F-16's were flying very well with nice passes in front of the spotters and all taxied by in front of the crowd. Some nice participants for the Sanicole airshow were present, but the highlights were 2 Spanish Mirage F-1's and some French Mirage 2000's.

Florennes - TLP 2008-3

From Monday the 19th of May till Friday the 13th of June, the 3rd course of the Tactical leadership programme was held at Florennes. As the First course was relocated to Kinloss, and the second course was being cancelled, this was actually the first course being held in Florennes this year. Participants this session were Czech JAS39 Gripens and L-159 Alcas, French Mirage 2000N's and Rafales, Italian F-16's and AMX, Spanish F-18 hornets and EF2000's but the highlights were Turkish F-4E phantoms and F-16C's.

Biggin Hill - Air Fair

The Biggin Hill International Air Fair is one of the longest running air displays in the world and is undoubtedly one of the most famous. Biggin Hill itself is a very famous airfield thanks to the part it played in the Battle of Britain and the history of the Royal Air Force. Today, despite not being a base for the RAF, Biggin Hill still plays host to the RAF each summer for the Air Fair and is one of the main shows for RAF involvement in the UK. This year’s edition which was held over the weekend of 7 and 8 June attracted 120.000 people. Besides many British displays and aircraft, some foreign air displays came to Biggin Hill. The Indian Sarang Team was for sure the team that travelled the longest way to get to Biggin Hill. The second foreign participant in the flying display was the French Mirage 2000 display!

Bierset - Basevisit

A friend that flies on the A.109 agusta helicopter invited us for a visit at the main helicopter base in Belgium: Liége-Bierset. After check-in, we went to the maintenance hangar where some agusta’s were in various stages of maintenance. As we arrived, a truck arrived with agusta H-06 on his trailer. This airframe had suffered a collision with a transmission line during a low level mission in the Ardennes. After the maintenance hangar, we went to the hangar of the Alouette II helicopters. Unfortunately a lot of the airframes were already in storage, as the Alouette II helicopters would be taken out of service in the near future. Then we went to the platforms where some agustas and alouette II were active. After a visit to the Sqn hangar, we did the tour of all the shelters to have a look what could be found. After a coffee break in the Sqn bar, we went to the other side of the base for the preserved Auster, Britten Norman and Alouette II, and unfortunately this was the end of our excellent visit.

Beauvechain - Basevisit

Beauvechain airbase is situated 32km southeast of Brussels and houses the first wing. The first wing consists out of the 5th and 9th squadron flying the SIAI Marchetti for basic flight training. The heavy maintenance of the Belgian Alpha jets is located on the northern side of the airfield. We first visited the maintenance hangar of the Marchetti’s, and afterwards the maintenance hangar of the alpha jets. After that we went to the former Fouga flight where we could see a hangar full of Fouga Magisters that had been retired last year. After that we visited the Marchetti flight line where a lot of activity could be seen. After lunch we went to the first wing historical flight museum where we could see the airbase rich history.

Florennes - CSAR Excercise

After most of the participants arrived at Florennes Airbase on 30 April 2008, the European Air Group (EAG) Combined Joint Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) Standardisation Course 2008 got started on 1 May 2008. After four days of academic courses and six days of flying missions, the course ended on 15 May 2008. There were some exotic participants: 2 Romanian IAR330's, an Italian Navy EH-101, 2 Italian Air Force HH-3F, a French EC-725 Caracal and SA.330 Puma, 2 Czech Mi-35's and 2 German Hueys. Also some fixed wing aircraft came to Florennes to participate: 2 Italian AMX and a NATO AWACS.

Laarbrüch/Weeze International Airport - Airport festival

On 30 April and 1 May 2008, an airport-festival was held at Weeze Airport to celebrate its fifth year as a civil airport. Weeze Airport once was an RAF airbase housing Canberras, Phantoms, Buccaneers, Jaguars, Tornado's, Harriers and Chinooks until it was closed in 1999. Civil operations started in 2003 at what was at first called Flughafen Niederrhein. This past helped the airport festival in attracting a considerable number of RAF aircraft for the static display, which was situated in the hardened aircraft shelters area of the airbase. Together with a number of restored 1960s and 1970s era NATO combat aircraft and some East European old-timers from the 1950s and 1970s era, this stirred up Cold War memories with many a visitor. During this airport festival 2 F-104's were presented, and they looked like they could fly away any time.

Wittmund : 30/04/2008

Our second day in Wittmund already started early as before 8 o'clock the first aircraft were already airborne. After we arrived, the first 8 aircraft took off, followed by some more... Weather was excellent with lots of sunshine. Around noon we left back home via the Weeze airport festival.

Wittmund : 29/04/2008

After the closure of Hopsten and the change of JG-74 to EF2000, all remaining F-4F Phantoms are now based in Wittmund, in Northern Germany. So flying activity was very good from early morning till late in the evening. We photographed 15 different phantoms making several missions a day. Weather that day was not so good with lots of clouds in the morning, but in the afternoon the sun appeared and at the end of the day, we got a nice sunset.

Emmen : 04/04/2008

On our last day of our Switzerland trip we went to Emmen airbase, home of Patrouille Suisse. In the afternoon Patrouille Suisse was planned to do a display for the Patrouille Suisse fan club. A lot of people were around the airfield to watch the spectacle. Two Netherlands Air Force Fokker 50's were at Emmen for a visit, so these were a nice bonus.

Alpnach & Buochs : 04/04/2008

On our way to Emmen, we spend some time in Alpnach, where we saw arriving 3 Super Puma's. They made a nice break and landed on the small runway only meters away from us. In Buochs they already were in weekend mode, as only one PC-21 for the Swiss Air Force could be seen on the tarmac.

Alpnach & Buochs : 03/04/2008

In the morning we first stopped in Alpnach to see some helicopter activity. As the weather was poor with rain, we only saw 3 Super Puma's returning to base, as well as an Alouette III. Around noon, we moved to Buochs to see some Pilatus aircraft. We saw 4 PC-12's and the factory PC-21. Highlight of the day was a test flight of a Singaporean PC-21. After the action in Buochs, we went to the Mirage centre to see the black and white Mirage IIIRS.

Meiringen : 02/04/2008

Our trip continued to Meiringen, but unfortunately the weather was not good anymore. The day started overcast, but later on it started raining. But this didn't stop us photographing the hornet action.

Payerne : 01/04/2008

Our second Payerne day was the best day, weather and flying wise. Again some hornets and tigers made local missions, as well as some PC-7's. Just before noon Patrouille Suisse came to Payerne for a training display. During the day a Hunter and Vampire was towed out of a shelter to be put on the tarmac for the training course that would start the next week.

Payerne : 31/03/2008

Our first day in Switzerland started in Payerne. Weather was overcast all day long. We arrived in the morning and a German Beech 200 was calibrating the ILS, making nice low passes. We saw some hornets and tigers making local missions, as well as some vintage Alouette III helicopters.

Ramstein & Baden-Söllingen : 30/03/2008

On our way to Switzerland, we stopped in Ramstein, and we arrived around 13h00, just after the base opened again. We saw some nice USAF arrivals: 3 C-17's, 1 C-5, 2 C-130's, 1 KC-135R and 2 E-3B AWACS, so not a bad afternoon. Afterwards we went to the former RCAF airbase Baden-Söllingen in the black forest to see what was left of this nice base. In the city nearby the airbase we found a nicely preserved CF-104B.

Cambrai : 11/02/2008

As the weather forecast was easterly wind and nice weather, we went to Cambrai to see some mirage action. We saw 12 different Mirage 2000's as well as 3 Royal Air Force 56 Firebirds Sqn Tornado F-3 leaving after a weekend stop.