Soesterberg, a finale in style
On November 12th Soesterberg airbase -the oldest airfield in Europe and the second oldest in the world- ceased its function as military airbase. With the gates closing for good on December 31st this will end a historic period of 95 years of military aviation.
October 8th and 9th planned to be this year's Fire Power Demonstration of the Swiss Air Force. 2.200 meters above sea level the Swiss Air Force practice their air-to-ground gunnery skills at the Axalp-Ebenfluh range.
This year we had the unique possibility to witness the action opposite of the general public.
The arrival of six JAS-39C and one twin seat JAS-39D Gripen aircraft along with five Tornado GR4 aircraft on October 2nd, 2008 at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire heralded the start of Exercise Crown Condor. The exercise ran from 6th to 16th of October, 2008.
Hungarian Air Force 70th Anniversary
August 16th and 17th saw the 70th celebration of the Hungarian Air Force. After the airshow in 2007 this was the second conclusive year in a row Touchdown Aviation was present at the Hungarian Base.
The show started with a fly-past in various formations of the Hungarian Air Force.
The role of Global Power missions is to demonstrate the ability to strike at an enemy target anywhere in the world outside the continental USA. For this purpose, three forward operating bases have been established at Diego Garcia, Guam and RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, England. The recent deployment to Fairford was to test out the newly built $4 million NATO-funded squadron operations building which opened during July, 2008.
Fighter Weapon Instructor Training
On May 13, fifteen experienced F-16 pilots started the Fighter Weapons Instructor Training (FWIT) at Leeuwarden Air Base. After this course, to become qualified weapons instructor, organized by 323 TACTESS Squadron (TACtical Training Evaluation and Standardization Squadron), the pilots must know everything about the tactics, systems and weaponry on board the (Mid Life Update) F-16.
Royal International Air Tattoo 2008
For most enthusiasts the highlight on the aviation calendar comes in July when the world’s largest military airshow arrives at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. So it was with much sadness that for the first time in the air shows 38 year history it had to be cancelled. Following a week of unusually heavy rainfall, three of the four major car parks flooded as well as large parts of the showground and other public areas of the base.
In 2008, ELITE will be conducted once again in the time-honoured manner at the HEUBERG range. For optimisation purposes, both proven approaches and lessons learned from previous exercises are directly included in the current progresses on the part of the project organisation. New technological developments have to be included as well as changes of tactical procedures.
RAF Waddington International Airshow
With un-predictable weather sweeping across the UK from the Atlantic Ocean leading up to the International Air Show staged over the weekend of July 5th & 6th, it looked at times that there would be a re-run of last years awful conditions, which resulted in the show being cancelled on the Sunday. Thankfully, most of the bad weather skirted the airfield allowing most, but not all, of the flying to take place.
RNLAF Opendays 2008
After one year of absence the annual RNLAF Open Days were held again at Leeuwarden this year. Gilze Rijen had to organize the event considering the rotation between the Main Operating Bases, but due to infrastructure and runway constructions this wasn't possible. In 2006 Leeuwarden was able to invite the Blue Angels for their first European show in years, therefore expectations were very high for this year.
This year’s International Aerospace Exhibition provided an impressive display of this high-tech sector and was also a major attraction for the public. The attendance of 241.000 people nearly reached the record level set at the ILA 2006.
ILA partner country India made the most of its largest ever appearance at any aerospace trade show outside its own borders.
Frisian Flag 2008
From 31-3 until 11-4-2008 one of the currently two operational fighter bases of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, Leeuwarden, hosted the first multi-national Frisian Flag exercise since 2005. Aim of this exercise is training and executing complex missions by multi-national forces. The exercise is based on previous experiences with operations over the former Republic of Yugoslavia as well as those over Afghanistan.
Swiss Air Force on Guard
In January the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) took place in Zurich - Switzerland. This traditionally coincides with a Wiederholungskuhrs at one of the Swiss Air Force bases.
This year Meiringen had its turn. With 8th and 11th Staffel providing Combat Air Patrols (CAPs) 24 hours a day.