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KLu Opendays  Leeuwarden AB,  21 June 2008

Two years since the memorable visit of the US Navy aerobatic team the Blue Angels the opendays of the Royal Netherlands Air Force were held in Leeuwarden again. At first I planned to go there on Thursday to see the arrivals but the bad weather forecast made me to stay at home. The weather forecast for Saturday was a little bit better so Mark and I decided to go there on this busy day.


To avoid traffic jams I picked up Mark very early. Already at 6 o'clock in the morning we drove towards Leeuwarden. Only two hours later we were already on base to take the first shots of the static display. The weather was very good in the morning which made it a lot easier to take some decent shots.


Unfortunately  the aircraft were parked at the static not in the best position. Some of them were parked too close to each other and some of them had fences around them which made it impossible to take good shots. After this very disappointing walk over the static display we decided to find a good spot along the display line where we joined Niels and Mike.


The air display was also very disappointing this year. Only four fighters performed a solo display, including the Dutch and Belgian F-16. Around 10 o'clock the OV-10 Bronco did it's display, this was one of the highlights of the air display. Sure, I understand it's very hard to book some nice participants as the budgets of the air forces are very limited. The Patrouille France and Red Arrows weren't able to come as they were both in Canada to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Canadian city Qu├ębec. The European Soccer Championship held in Switzerland and Austria left also it's marks as the Swiss Air Force wasn't allowed to send any aircraft outside their borders. So no Swiss Hornet or Patrouille Suisse in the air display as well.


Early in the afternoon the airpower display started. Despite the nice explosions and the awesome pass of the KDC-10  it was also very disappointing. The F-16's stayed very high during their attacks, only five helicopters participated and I missed the nice flare shots (!!) because I was looking at the F-16 coming from the left. Better luck next time, I guess.


The air display wasn't all uneventful as the Hunter of the Dutch Hunter Historic Flight had a mayor birdhit on it's air intake. The ground crew of the Spanish Hornet also made a 'small' mistake, as they forgot to pull the safety pin of the left main gear. Therefore the Hornet display was delayed till the early evening. As the weather became very cloudy during the afternoon and it was almost impossible to take good shots of the display Mark and I decided to leave our spot along the display line and walked towards the static area again to write down the last few numbers. Because of that we didn't see the displays of the French Mirage, Belgian F-16 and the second attempt of the Spanish Hornet. 


There were also some highlights this year, like the two Turkish Phantoms, the PC-7 of the Austrian Air Force and the air displays of the Merlin and the NH90. A big compliment goes out to the organization as the busses which brought us to and from the field were absolute great. There were also hardly any traffic jams. Good job guys!!   (Click here for a full log)





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