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RNLAF Opendays 2008
 
Saab 91D Safir - PH-RLA - Living Classic Aviation - Netherlands   North American P-51D Mustang - PH-PSI - Dutch Historic Aircraft Company - Netherlands   Fokker S-11.1 Instructor - PH-HOG - Fokker Four Foundation - Netherlands   AB412SP - R-01 - 303 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force
 
EH-101 Merlin HM1 - ZH846/B-00 - 829 Naval Air Squadron - Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm   EH-101 Merlin HM1 - ZH846/B-00 - 829 Naval Air Squadron - Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm   Sea King Mk 48 - RS01 (withdrawn) - Wing Heli - Belgian Defence - Air Component   Bell UH-1H Huey - G-HUEY - G-HUEY Partnership - United Kingdom
 
F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-055 - F-16 Solo Display Team - Royal Netherlands Air Force

RNLAF Open Days 2008

Words; Remco Donselaar,
Video; Jan Loedeman,
Photographs; Michael van der Mee, Remco Donselaar and Nico van Remmerden.

After one year of absence the annual RNLAF Open Days were held again at Leeuwarden Air Base at the 20th and 21st of June. Gilze Rijen had to organize the event considering the rotation between the Main Operating Bases (MOB), 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. Could Leeuwarden meet those expectations?


As a matter of fact they did! With the ongoing defence cuts in foreign countries around us, not many solo displays are left nowadays. But Leeuwarden managed to have 4 of them in 3 different aircraft types. One of the highlights was François "Ralloch" Rallet flying the Mirage 2000-5F. This solo demo was absent for several years at a Dutch Air Show but in the final season for the Mirage 2000 it's show was better than ever!. More jetnoise was produced by one of the 2 display teams present: the Frecce Tricolore from Italy. The other display team was a first for the Netherlands and was team Strizhy from the Polish Air Force.

Due to noise limitations, caused by some local festivities in the surrounding towns during the morning hours, this Jetnoise was presented in the afternoon. Therefore the morning saw a lot of aviation history and helicopter displays. These two subjects came back in the first appeareance in the Netherlands since the restoration of the G-HUEY in 2006. The two bladed UH-1H with his characteristic sound performed a good show. Other helicopter displays included a Royal Navy Merlin, Belgium Air Force Sea King and a SAR display performed by two AB-412SP from 303 Squadron wich are based at Leeuwarden Air Base.

Also a first for the Netherlands was the flying display of the first production NH-90 assigned to the Defence Helicopter Command of the RNLAF. In September 2007 it had to cancel the planned flying display at HeldAir Maritiem but at these Open Days the general public could finally get an impression of it's capabilities.

 
MB339A - MM54538/10 - 2° Stormo - Frecce Tricolori - Italian Air Force   TS-11 Iskra - Team Iskra - Polish Air Force   Mirage 2000C - 1/5-OF - EC 02.005 - French Air Force   Mirage 2000C - 1/5-OF - EC 02.005 - French Air Force
 
F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-193 - 323 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force   F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-873 - 323 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force   F-16 Fighting Falcon - Royal Netherlands Air Force   - - - - Royal Netherlands Air Force
 
NH90-NFH - N-088/CSX81697 - MARHELI - Royal Netherlands Air Force
 
Stinson L-5 Sentinel - PH-PBB - Royal Netherlands Air Force Historical Flight - Netherlands   Noorduyn Harvard IIb - PH-TBR - Royal Netherlands Air Force Historical Flight - Netherlands   North American TB-25N Mitchell - PH-XXV/12-08 - Royal Netherlands Air Force Historical Flight - Netherlands   Beech D18S-3NM - PH-KHV - Royal Netherlands Air Force Historical Flight - Netherlands
 
Fouga CM-170R-1 Magister - F-GLHF - Dutch Historic Jet Association - Netherlands   Rockwell OV-10B-NH Bronco - F-AZKM - Association des Avions Anciens de la Drome - France   Rockwell OV-10B-NH Bronco - F-AZKM - Association des Avions Anciens de la Drome - France   CP-140 Aurora - 140101 - 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron - Canadian Armed Forces
 

As said, the morning was filled up with a lot of aviation history. Every year a large delegation of the Royal Netherlands Air Force Historical Flight attends the Open Days with variety of their fleet. Main absentee was the Spitfire which still is undergoing a restoration after her gear collapsed during a landing accident at Gilze-Rijen.

Other historical aircraft came from France, the UK and the Netherlands. A rare seen aircraft in the Netherlands was presented by the Association des Avions Anciens de la Drome, flying the Rockwell OV-10 Bronco. This ex-German Air Force aircraft is still flying in his operational colours and the pilot shows a good impression of it's capabilities.

Despite of the absence of the RNLAF PC-7 solo demonstration this year, the organisation managed to have 2 Pilatus trainers in the flying programme. First was a Pilatus PC-9M and came from the Slovenian Air Force. It can be seen on a regular base in Western Europe. Second PC-9M however is a rare sight and came from the (als not often seen) Irish Air Corps. Another even more rare visitor was a Lockheed P-140 Aurora from the Canadian Air Force. At saturday it even flew a display!

Each year, a fixed part of the air show is the Air Power demo. Last years saw a different variaty in the number of participants as a lot of squadron's are charged with deployments in Afganistan. This year, as one of the fighter based MOB's, Leeuwarden Air Base wanted to present itself with a lot of real air power! They did a good job with F-16's attacking the base from different angles and directions.

Back in 2006, one of the Hornets from the Blue Angels suffered a blown tire during take off. This year there was also a small accident with a Hornet, this time from the Spanish Air Force. One of the security pins wasn't removed from the left main landing gear by ground crew. After a safe landing and removal of the pin, the Hornet could peform its display later that day.

The last particpants to mention, but not the least, are the two F-16 display's from the RNLAF and BDAC. Both teams are performing a new show this year and are quite different from each other. Both excellent pilots shows the capabilities of the F-16. In combination with flares a lot of photographic opportunities are given.

June 19th and 20th 2009 Volkel hosts the RNLAF Opendays.

Jan Loedeman and Michael van der Mee wish to thank the RNLAF Bureau Opendagen for their hospitality and cooperation.

PC-9M - 263 - Flying Training  School - Irish Air Corps
 
PC-9M - 263 - Flying Training  School - Irish Air Corps   PC-9M - L9-64/64 - 1. oddelek solskih bojnih letal - Slovenian Air Force   EF-18A+ Hornet - C.15-50/12-08 - Ala 12 - Spanish Air Force   EF-18A+ Hornet - C.15-50/12-08 - Ala 12 - Spanish Air Force
 
F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-055 - F-16 Solo Display Team - Royal Netherlands Air Force   F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-055 - F-16 Solo Display Team - Royal Netherlands Air Force   F-16AM Fighting Falcon - FA131 - 2 Wing - Belgian Defence - Air Component   F-16AM Fighting Falcon - FA131 - 2 Wing - Belgian Defence - Air Component
 
SA316B Alouette III - A-275 - 300 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force
 
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