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Luchtmachtdagen 2011
 
F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-632 - 322 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force   F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-632 - 322 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force   F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-879 - 322 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force   F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-511 - 312 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force
 
  AH-64D Apache - Q-13 - 301 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force   CH-47D Chinook - D-663 - 298 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force   AS532U2 Cougar - S-447 - 300 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force
 
AH-64D Apache - Q-17 - 301 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force

Luchtmachtdagen 2011

Report by Remco Donselaar, additional images by Vincent Loedeman, video by Jan Loedeman.

During the third weekend of June, at the start of the summer, we were hoping that the decision to move the annual open days of the RNLAF three months forward would turn out to be positive as the original weekend the weather was extremly poor. In fact the entire summer turned out to be very wet, chances were slim, but it turned out very good during the week proceeding the show and the first show day!

Last year (2010), the Dutch MoD announced the RNLAF Open Days or 'Luchtmachtdagen' would be held on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th of September. Due to operational needs Leeuwarden wasn't able to put the effort and time in organizing a show in June and the decision was made to move it to September, last time this occured was in 2000. A benefit was it would make the gap in between this and the next show a bit smaller. Due to defense cuts, next year won't see an air show organized by the RNLAF, it will return in 2013 though.

In the first place, the RNLAF uses the show to present itself with all disciplines and aircraft in their inventory in order to recruit new personnel and to show the taxpayer that their money is well spent. For the aviation enthusiast’s main goal is to see a well-organised air show with an attractive program. Well, the RNLAF (Buro Open Dagen) succeeded with a program that was a vert varied then previous editions.

Many welcomed the absence of the RNLAF historical flight and related demonstrations. It was replaced by trainer and helicopter demonstrations in the 'quiet' morning hours as some surrounding villages had their own celebrations. Star of the show was without a doubt the AH-64D Apache demo from 301 Squadron, it had been absent for a couple of years due to operational commitments but in its second year after the comeback it was better than before with lots of flares and a stunning color scheme on the Apache.

One change in the program however that wasn't a success. The Airpower demo was rewritten to reflect current operations of the RNLAF, but it was concentrated at one single point far away from the spectators and proceeded very slow. It would have been better at the Army Days  It however was all made up with the afternoon program containing a lot of jetnoise against a blue sky!
 
F-16AM Fighting Falcon - Unknown - Royal Netherlands Air Force   C-130H-30 Hercules - G-275 - 336 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force   KDC-10 Tanker - T-264 - 334 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force   AB412SP - R-03 - 303 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force
 
AH-64D Apache - Q-17 - 301 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force   AH-64D Apache - Q-17 - 301 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force   Hawker Hunter F6A - G-KAXF - Stichting Hawker Hunter Foundation - Netherlands   F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-015 - F-16 Solo Display Team - Royal Netherlands Air Force
 
F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-015 - F-16 Solo Display Team - Royal Netherlands Air Force
 
Su-22UM-3K Fitter - 308 - 40. elt - Polish Air Force   F-16C Fighting Falcon - 88-0525/AV - 510 Fighter Squadron - United States Air Forces in Europe   Alpha Jet 1B+ - AT-10 - 1 Wing - Belgian Defence - Air Component   Mi-35 Hind - 3369 - 221 Letka Bitevních Vrtulníkù - Czech Air Force
 
EF2000 Typhoon - 30+70 - Jagdgeschwader 74 - German Air Force   C-21A Learjet - 84-0083 - 76 Airlift Squadron - United States Air Forces in Europe   Tutor T1 - G-BYWL/WL - Central Flying School - Royal Air Force   Tutor T1 - G-BYWL/WL - Central Flying School - Royal Air Force
 
MB339CD - MM55068/RS-33 - RSV - Italian Air Force
 
MB339CD - MM55068/RS-33 - RSV - Italian Air Force   PC-7 Turbo Trainer - 3H-FA - Fliegerschule - Austrian Air Force   PC-7 Turbo Trainer - 3H-FA - Fliegerschule - Austrian Air Force   Fouga CM-170R-1 Magister - F-GLHF - Dutch Historic Jet Association - Netherlands
 
Sea King Mk 48 - RS04 - Wing Heli - Belgian Defence - Air Component   Sea King Mk 48 - RS04 - Wing Heli - Belgian Defence - Air Component   SF260M Marchetti - 1 Wing - Belgian Defence - Air Component   SF260M Marchetti - 1 Wing - Belgian Defence - Air Component
 
Alpha Jet E - E138/705-RQ - EAC 00.314 - French Air Force
 
F-16AM Fighting Falcon - FA-110 - 10 Wing - Belgian Defence - Air Component   F-16AM Fighting Falcon - FA-110 - 10 Wing - Belgian Defence - Air Component   Hawk T1 - XX245 - 208 (Reserve) Squadron - Royal Air Force   Hawk T1 - XX245 - 208 (Reserve) Squadron - Royal Air Force
 
Tucano T1 - ZF378/378 - Royal Air Force   Lynx HMA8SRU - XZ692/641 - 702 Naval Air Squadron - Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm   E-3A Sentry - LX-N90444 - NATO Early Warning & Control Force - NATO   Hunter Flying Club - United Kingdom
 
Touchdown Aviation
 
F-18C Hornet - HN-424/24 - Hävittäjälentolaivue 31 - Finnish Air Force   F-18C Hornet - HN-424/24 - Hävittäjälentolaivue 31 - Finnish Air Force   EF 2000 Typhoon - MM7306 - RSV - Italian Air Force   EF 2000 Typhoon - MM7306 - RSV - Italian Air Force
 
F-16C Fighting Falcon - 89-0022 - 141 Filo - Turkish Air Force   F-16C Fighting Falcon - 91-0011 - 141 Filo - Turkish Air Force   MiG-29 Fulcrum - 67 - 1. elt - Polish Air Force   MiG-29 Fulcrum - 67 - 1. elt - Polish Air Force
 
MiG-29 Fulcrum - 67 - 1. elt - Polish Air Force
 
Touchdown Conclusion
 
A lot has been said and written on the various forums by aviation enthusiasts about the show, participants and commentary. We however can come only to the conclusion that it was one of the best 'Luchtmachtdagen' in years. In times of ever increasing defense cuts by all Air Forces in Europe a dynamic program was presented with attention to all aspects of aviation and its history. The absence of some large demo teams was due to bad luck as both the Patrulla Aguila as the Red Arrows had to cancel their displays were the latter did so even after they arrived at Leeuwarden.

The commentary team saw a positive change as Cougar pilot Dominique took over the commentary role from Leo van der Goot. With her experience in daily operations as well as deployments to Afghanistan she added a very welcomed insight in what the pilots experiences and how this is was projected in the displays they presented to the public.

As said, the show was very dynamic with only a small break during lunchtime. 2 weeks after I visited the Bulgarian International Air Fest, the RNLAF once more proofed its difficult but still possible to present a full show program to the audience. 5 very well deserved stars!
 
Touchdown Rating - 5 out of 5
 
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