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Luchtmachtdagen  Volkel AB,  12-16 June 2013

After one year of absence the Luchtmachtdagen were back to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. This years event held at Volkel AB saw some very nice participants despite the defence cutbacks around Europe. Some of the highlights were the A-7 Corsairs, and the two Estonians.


A full report on this event can be found by following the links below. Here you will find reports on every arrival and airshow day as well as one of the departure days. You will also find a link to some photo's taken by my five year old son Damian who visited his second Luchtmachtdagen at Volkel. Below you'll find a small resume of the huge history of the 100 years old Royal Netherlands Air Force.   (Click here for a full log of this event)


It all began in juli 1913 when the Luchtvaartafdeling (Air Force Department) was established at Soesterberg AB. At that moment the whole Air Force consisted of only one aircraft, the Brik of Mr. Marinus van Meel. A few months later the Air Force already expanded  by three French build Farmans.


The Netherlands stayed neutral during World War I so the Air Force didn't see any combat action. Because the neutrality many foreign pilots defected to the Netherlands, the confiscated aircraft later entered service with the Luchtvaartafdeling. The years that follow the Air Force expanded and a few more airbases were build near Arnhem, Rijen, Venlo and Vlissingen. At the end of World War I the Dutch Government cut the defence budget which almost let to the disbanding of the Air Force. When the tensions raised in Europe the Government saw the importance of the Air Force, and created the 'new' Air Force almost from scrap. In 1938 the name was changed into Luchtvaartbrigade (Air Force Brigade) and during the mobilization in 1939 the name changed again, into Wapen der Militaire Luchtvaart (Weapon of Military Aviation). During the mobilization the Air Force consisted of 121 operational aircraft, mainly Dutch build Fokkers and Koolhovens.


In may 1940 nazi-Germany invaded the Netherlands. After five days of resistance the entire Air Force was completely wiped away by the Luftwaffe. However despite the numeric disadvantage the Air Force manage to destroy more than 500 German aircraft in those five days. 95% of the Air Force pilots were killed during these days in May 1940. Many of the surviving pilots and crews escaped to England

and formed the 320 Dutch Sqn and 321 Dutch Sqn under command of the Royal Air Force. Due to lack of personnel both squadrons merged into one becoming the 320 Sqn. In 1943 the 322 Dutch Sqn was formed in England operating the Supermarine Spitfire. The unit was very successful against the V-1 bombers. From 1944 the unit flew lots of combat missions over France and Belgium during the invasion in 1944.



   Arrivals & Rehearsals

         12 June 2013



Arrivals & Rehearsals

13 June 2013



Luchtmachtdagen Day 1

14 June 2013



Luchtmachtdagen Day 2  

15 June 2013          



16 June 2013


Static Display

14/15 June 2013


Luchtmachtdagen 2013

by Damian Hendriks (5 yrs)



In 1953 the Royal Netherlands Air Force officially became independent and the Commando Luchtverdediging (Command Air Defence) was formed consisting of five radar stations and six air defence squadrons. When the Netherlands became part of the NATO a second command was formed, the Commando Tactische Luchtstrijdkrachten (Command Tactical Air Forces) which consisted of seven attack squadrons. In those 50s and 60s the Royal Netherlands Air Force operated a nice variety of combat aircraft; Gloster Meteors, F-84G Thunderjets, Hunters, F-86 Sabres, F-84F Thunderstreaks and the photo reconnaissance version RF-84F Thunderflash.


In 1962 the Air Force received their first F-104G Starfighter, which was operational until 1983 when the multi role fighter F-16 Fighting Falcon took over its role. Between 1969 and 1992 the Royal Netherlands Air Force also operated the NF-5 Freedom Fighter. During the Cold War the Royal Netherlands Air Force played a key role in the West-European air defence against the Warsaw Pact. Not only the five operational Guided Missile Units in former West-Germany, but also the squadrons of the Command Tactical Air Forces were completely integrated in the NATO defence.


Due to various cutbacks in the Defence budget the Royal Netherlands Air Force is becoming smaller year by year. Of the 213 F-16s delivered to the Air Force only 138 received the Mid-Life Update. Nowadays only 61 remain in operational service which will be replaced by only 37 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in 2019. The Defence Helicopter Command based at Gilze-Rijen Airbase operates a nice variety of helicopters including the old Alouette III, AH-64 Apaches, CH-47 Chinooks, AS.532 Cougars and the new NH90s. The transport wing of the Royal Netherlands Air Force is based at Eindhoven Airbase and consisted at this moment of three (K)DC-10s, four C-130s, and a Gulfstream. But in the near future the Air Force will lose one of their DC-10s and the Gulfstream, again due the budget cuts. Hopefully the Dutch Government will stop these cutback while they still can or there won't be an Air Force left in the near future.




R.E. Hendriks 1998-2013

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