Luchtmacht Open Dagen 2008 Leeuwarden

 

Every year, the Royal Netherlands Air Force organizes two open days, where the taxpayers can see what they are paying for. In future, in order to save funds, the open days will be skipped every third year in a row (the same is valid for the Dutch Army and Navy Open Days).

The open days of 2008 took place at Leeuwarden Air Base, on 20 and 21 June 2008. On Thursday 19 June, the Dutch Air Force provided an opportunity for aviation enthousiasts to be present when most participants would arrive. This is a well appreciated service! Unfortunately, the weather on the arrivals day was not so good and a significant amount of rain fell. However, this was well compensated during the actual open days, where there was only sun.

Here, one of the highlights, a Greek F-4E Phantom, arrives.

 

Also their neighbouring country Turkey sent a sample of this impressive aircraft in the form of an RF-4E Phantom (reconnaisance).

 

No doubt that this is an Austrian PC-7...

 

The Americans sent, among others, an F-15C from Lakenheath in the UK.

 

And the French a Mirage 2000D...

 

A Danish F-16BM

 

Another Danish guest was a Canadair CL-604 Challenger.

A Hawk T.1A of the Royal Air Force.

 

A KDC-10 tanker of the Netherlands Air Force

 

A Fokker 50 of the Netherlands Air Force

 

The special tail design of this F-16AM of the Netherlands Air Force marked the 65th birthday of its 322 Squadron. Time really flies. I remember that I once took a few pictures of another F-16, also with a beautifully marked red tail, marking the 40th birthday of 322 Sqn... By the way, it is obvious that the Mascotte of 322 is a red-tailed parrot, called Polly Grey...

 

Another impressive tail marked 20 years OCU (Operational Conversion Unit) of the Belgian Air Force

 

The Belgians sent more interesting hardware, such as a venerable Alouette III.

 

Or their impressive, however, unfortunately, soon to be retired Sea King.

 

 

During the show, a nice combination of modern and classic aircraft could be seen, from the brand new NH-90, for the Netherlands Navy, still wearing its test-registration number...

 

...and which is soon going to replace the SH-14D Lynx below...

 

...an EH-101 Merlin of the Royal Navy, already operational for some years...

 

... to oldtimers as the famous World War II Lancaster...

...Mustang P-51D...

 

...or a combination of both classic and (relatively) modern aircraft...

 

 

Different types of trainers could be seen from the Polish TS.11 Iskra

 

...to an Irish PC-9M

 

...the same type that the Slovenes sent...

 

 

Canada sent a CP-140 Aurora, which gave an interesting and in fact unusual display (because one would expect this one to be only on static display). The Dutch Navy used to also fly with this type of aircraft. However, they were sold to the German Navy, a few years ago,...

 

 

For the "pictures for the files" the 45 years' old, but still going strong Alouette III was used. Painted in blue, because the 4 Alouettes remaining in Dutch service are mainly used as Royal Flight to fly members of the Dutch Royal Family.

 

 

One of the highlights of the show was the "Air Power Demo", where a scenario was played to attack the base, drop troops, pick up troops again, etc. etc.

 

The Air Power Demo ended with some nice formation flying...

 

 

During the F-16 Solo Display, of the Netherlands Air Force, some dramatic pictures can be shot...

 

 

Below, a compilation of other pictures taken at the show, not in chronological order...

 

An OV-10B Bronco in the colours of his former employer, the German Air Force. Now in civilian hands though...

 

Former French Air Force CM-170 Fouga Magister, now in Dutch civilian hands...

 

Always welcome; the Italian Frecce Tricolore...

 

An Antonov 2...

 

Former German Air Force Dornier Do.28 (now in civilian hands)

 

The famous G-HUEY; a Bell UH-1H, which used to belong to the Argentinian Army, but was confiscated by the British at the Falklands during the war in 1982...

 

A classic trainer, which used to be the basic trainer of the Royal Air Force and which also flew for the famous Red Arrows aerobatic team, is the Folland Gnat. Two of these, now in civilian hands gave an interesting display.

 

An initial very short "much less than 15 minutes of fame", was reserved for the Spanish F-18 Hornet. A safety pin was forgotten and not removed before the flight, resulting in this unusual picture with "one of the feet" still out. The aircraft landed safely and performed a good display later that day...

 

The "Duke of Brabant Air Force" B-25

 

DC-3C of the Dutch Dakota Association in classic Martin's Air Charter colours (predecessor of Martinair)

 

A De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver of the Royal Netherlands Air Force Historical Flight Foundation...

 

An AT-16 Harvard in colours of his former employer (Netherlands Air Force) of the same Historic Flight...

 

Same as above...

 

A Pitts Special

 

Another Pitts, this one belonging to the famous Ali Ozturk...

 

Earlier that day, 2 AB-412SPs of the Dutch Air Force, purchased for Search And Rescue tasks, made sure to be noticed...

 

A Harrier GR-7A of the Royal Air Force

 

 

And finally, June 2008 was also the month of the European Soccer Championship. Dutch supporters normally dress up in orange and a significant amount of products in supermarkets turn orange too (as, for example, orange yoghurt...). The Netherlands military are great supporters of the Dutch national team too. Therefore, a few samples of their support to the team...

A couple of Dutch lions in an F-16 cockpit...

 

An orange tank with the text: "Trots op onze jongens" (proud of our guys)

 

Also airplanes can be painted in orange, which can be seen at this Fokker 50, at Groningen Airport Eelde, at the evening of 19 June 2008. The text "Aanvalluh" is slang for "Attack..."

 

It even had "Kill-marks"; Romania, France and Italy were overwhelmingly defeated...