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VSV “Leonardo da Vinci” Delft; Gilze-Rijen, May 11, 2000

Celebrating the 55th Anniversary; Text and Photograph's by Alex van Noye

The Aeronautical Study Association "Leonardo da Vinci" (abbreviated as VSV "Leonardo da Vinci") is the association of the Aerospace Engineering students of the Delft University of Technology and was founded in 1945. To honor its 55th anniversary, the association organized a small size airshow at Gilze-Rijen Air Base.

As an association, the VSV ensures that students have a voice in the educational program and they also realize quality assurance through educational committees. The VSV also provides book sales for students. These activities take place under the supervision of seven students who are full-time on the board of the association and who stop their studies for a year to fully dedicate themselves to the association. The VSV also has its own advisory body in the form of a senate. The senate consists of all former directors who are still studying. The board keeps the senate informed of developments within the VSV through quarterly meetings. Today, the VSV has approximately 2,500 members and is the largest aerospace study association in the Benelux. Members have the opportunity to develop themselves through committee work. These committees organize numerous activities that all members of the VSV can participate in. The VSV organizes various activities, such as excursions, lectures, study trips, drinks and parties. Some activities are only accessible to VSV members, others are open to all interested parties. The foundation of the association took place on July 18, 1945, at the Phoenix Society. This is the society of the Delft Student Corps.

It is a tradition for the study association to celebrate a lustrum with an airshow. This year the organization would be bigger than normal, due to the 55th lustrum of the society. This addition of the airshow was held at Gilze-Rijen Air Base. For this edition, the study association would receive the help of the Royal Netherlands Air Force during the organization. Organizing the day has cost the students a lot of energy. They are all year busy with arranging the facilities and the aircraft for a good airshow. The students try to invite airplanes from all over Europe, but this is very challenging in relation to the rules and costs. It turns out to predict whether the aircraft that are invited actually show up. There is quite a bit of mail activity needed to arrange something like this; it’s all about planning to arrange aircraft. Besides arranging airplanes, the facilities and

catering should also be considered. The deployment of emergency services must also be well organized. For this aspect the air force helped the study association by making its own emergency services available. In addition to the airshow of May 11, there was even more for the society. On Monday May 8, a kite party for the faculty took place, where, among other things, a record attempt was made with the longest kite train in the world. Tuesday and Wednesday the symposium was on the program in the auditorium. Minister Netelenbos of the Dutch government also spoke at The U Delft during this event. On Thursday, an airshow was held at Gilze-Rijen Air Base. Finally, the lustrum week was concluded with a gala at the university on Friday May 12.

The day before the airshow of the study association would take place, different aircraft arrived at Gilze-Rijen. It would be a mix of old and new aircraft from both military and civilian operators. On the day of the airshow, visitors were taken early by shuttle buses from the parking lot to the platform at Gilze-Rijen. The VSV airshow would take place on the visitor platform next to the fire station on the northern side of the runway at Gilze-Rijen. For the members of the study association, it was mainly meet and greet of old acquaintances of the company. Before the planes would start their performance in the airshow, visitors could already warm up by viewing a number of aircraft at the static show. Some highlights were a German F-4F Phantom and two Italian F-104S Starfighters. There were also some helicopters, a Fokker F60 and an F-16 of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Now that the airshow has started, the participants of the airshow will follow each other in a rapid tempo. A Belgian Fouga Magister took of with a lot of smoke. These aircraft are known for this show element on which they stay very low to the ground. One of the highlights of the airshow is the presence of the F-16 Solo Display Team of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. The F-16 gives a very spectacular demo in which the capacities of the aircraft are shown well. In addition to the student party of the VSV, this demo also focuses on recruiting personnel for the air force. After his demonstration, the F-16 landed again and a large brake parachute unfolds from the tail of the aircraft.

The VSV has received a lot of cooperation from sponsors and from the Royal Netherlands Air Force for this beautiful day. The necessary budget has been obtained thanks to the large network of the association. KLM, Stork, Schiphol, Signaal and all kinds of other large companies are participating in the event. Making Gilze-Rijen Air Base available is a favor of the air force. The air force really makes everything available for free. What certainly plays a part in this is that the old commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, Commander Droste, became an honorary member of the association last year. Between the many VIPs the air force general is out of service himself B.A.C. Droste was also present among the crowd. At the end of the afternoon there was a small accident. A bomber from the Second World War lands and had to deal with a stalled brake. The fire brigade quickly moved to the aircraft which has come to a standstill. There is fortunately nothing going on, because the aircraft only had a flat tire. However, a British Hawker Hunter had to wait to take-off, because the runway was blocked. A moment later the Hunter taxied back. The fuel was already low, because of the long wait. From a different runway, nine planes took off from the Historical Flight of Gilze-Rijen for a formation flight which marked the end of the airshow. With this formation, the airshow around the 55th anniversary of the VSV was worthily closed. After the airshow a number of aircraft left home immediately. The last visitors of this event were able to capture the departure of these aircraft after they were towed off the static. The VSV could look back on a very successful event after the airshow, on which the 55th anniversary of the student association was celebrated.

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