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The Year 2010

The year 2010 began with a personal tragedy. I fell trough the ice with the camera in my hand at the slopes on Gilze-Rijen. I had my new equipment after a few weeks and I finally could get started in this year. One of the highlights in the early part of 2010 was the visit of Wittmundhafen in Germany for exercise Brilliant Ardent. I had visited may different airfields in France in 2010. My journey through Slovakia was my absolute highlight of the year 2010. I had visits on every operational airbase in this country. Also the Open House of the Dutch Air Force was this year special to me. Gilze-Rijen was the airbase where my hobby was started a long time ago.


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Winter Conditions at Gilze-Rijen

Wintertime Photography Part 1; Gilze-Rijen January 14, 2010

On Thursday, January 14, 2010 I was a guest on Gilze-Rijen airbase. The Defense Helicopter Command of the Dutch Air Force offered me a short visit to photograph the Helicopters in a white environment. This is a situation which I as a photographer don’t encounter every day. The winter of the year 2010 can be noticed by the meteorological services as a winter with much snowfall according to the Dutch Standards. The Netherlands were covered under a white blanket of snow for a period of more than two months.

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Wintertime Photography at Volkel Airbase

Operating in a White Environment; Volkel February 16, 2010

On Tuesday, February 16th, I went to Volkel airbase to see the Dutch F-16's of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. The goal was to shoot photographs of these aircraft in winter conditions. This was not a problem because Volkel was covered with snow. The Netherlands suffered relatively much snow this season for Dutch standards. The snowfall of last winter is already visible for several months. This creates some beautiful scenes for aviation photography. This day at Volkel was a big success with many flying activities.

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The Elementary Military Flying School

The PC-7's of no 131 Squadron; Woensdrecht March 11, 2010

On Thursday, March 11, I was a guest at Woensdrecht airbase. This base is next to the PC-7 fleet also the home base of the training department of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Furthermore, also the aircraft service center of the Fokker Company can be found on this basis. The Dutch Air Force started to use the PC-7 for the training of its pilots in 1989. A total of thirteen aircraft of this type entered service and they are all stationed at Woensdrecht airbase. A nice opportunity to have a look at these planes.

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Gilze-Rijen, Home of the Redskins

The Apache's of no 301 Squadron; Gilze-Rijen March 23, 2010

I went to Gilze-Rijen on Tuesday, March 23 with the information that four French Alpha Jets were on the base. Next to these French Alpha-Jets I also saw lots of activity on the Redskin platform. This is a nice moment to get a closer look on the Redskins of no 301 squadron of the Dutch Air Force. The AH-64D Apache is nowadays one of the most advanced attack helicopters. The helicopter is equipped with advanced monitoring equipment and weapon systems. The Apache is used for reconnaissance protection of transport helicopters.

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International Exercise Frisian Flag 2010

Warfare in a Realistic Scenario; Leeuwarden April 12, 2010

On April 12, 2010 I was there to witness the start of the exercise Frisian Flag. This year it promised to be a great spectacle with a large amount of foreign participants. In all, over sixty aircraft will participate in this international exercise at the airbase Leeuwarden in Friesland. The exercise Frisian Flag this year was after four days on Thursday, April 15 disrupted by the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland. Luckily I was there on the first day. I was able to capture all the participating aircraft on photo.

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Exercise NRF Brilliant Ardent 2010

The NATO Response Force Units; Wittmundhafen, April 13, 2010

After a successful day at the Leeuwarden air base for the exercise Frisian Flag, today the exercise Brilliant Ardent 2010 was on the program. This exercise took place over the northern part of Germany and I would attend this exercise from the German Phantom base Wittmundhafen. The exercise Brilliant Ardent 2010 (BAT 10) is a massive exercise of the NATO Response Force (NRF). This Air Live Exercise (Air LIVEX) is this year hosted by Germany in the period from April 12, 2010 until April 22, 2010.

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The Elementary Flying School

Force Arien de Belgique Part 1; Beauvechain April 30, 2010

On April 30, 2010 I had a base visit at the Belgian airbase in Beauvechain. Almost everything was possible on previous visits at this Belgian airbase. Photography opportunities are perfect during these base visits. Beauvechain is home of the Belgian basic pilot training. The First Wing which is based at Beauvechain currently employs 950 people divided into three groups, namely: flight opera- tions & maintenance, protection & support groups and a medical group. The flying squadrons are the fifth and ninth Squadron.

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The Belgian Helicopter Units

Force Arien de Belgique Part 2; Liege-Bierset April 30, 2010

As a second visit on April 30, 2010 I was welcome at the Belgian helicopter base Liege-Bierset. The former Mirage base of Bierset is home of the Belgian helicopter fleet with exception of the SAR helicopters. You can find all the Augusta A-109 of the Belgian Armed Forces at this base. Between 1992 and 1994, the Belgian Army received forty six A-109BA helicopters. Twenty eight were antitank helicopters and eighteen of them were equipped as reconnaissance helicopters. They are used by the the Belgian Air Component.

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The 2nd Wing One Year After the TLP

Force Arien de Belgique Part 3; Florennes, May 18, 2010

The third visit to different air bases in Belgium which was on the program was a visit to Florennes on Tuesday, May 18, 2010. Only the 2nd Wing of the Belgian Air Force still operates from Florennes, exactly one year after the last TLP at this base. The 2nd wing flies the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Nowadays the 2nd Wing consists of the no 1 Squadron and the no 350 Squadron. The no 1 Squadron has the role of offensive conventional operations and aerial reconnaissance and the no 350 Squadron has the Air defensive task.

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Search And Rescue heroes

The Lynx in Service of the MLD; De Kooy Den-Helder May 26, 2010

On Wednesday, May 26, a visit to Naval Air Station De Kooy in Den Helder was on the program for me. This small air base is home of the Royal Dutch Navy Lynx fleet. The visit was focused on mainly the no 7 Squadron with its SAR flight. The no 7 Squadron is stand-by 24 hours a day and 7 days a week with at least one Lynx helicopter. The five-man crew have a 24 hour stand-by shift in case of an emergency at sea or somewhere else. The Lynx will be replaced in the nearby future by the modern NH-90 NFH.

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The Airbus Factories

Le Tour de France 2010, part 1; May 29, 2010

During my trip through the southern part of France, I visited next to Dax, Cazaux and Cognac several other locations. This gallery contains a summary of all these pictures. The journey began at Pau, where I took some pictures of several gate guards. In the afternoon I went to Tarbes for a short visit. The EC145 of the Gendarmerie is based at this small airfield. The highlight of the day was definitely the visit to Toulouse. Here I had for the first time the opportunity to catch the Beluga of the Airbus Company; it really was a massive aircraft.

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Aviation Légère de l'Armée de Terre

Le Tour de France 2010 Part 2; Dax-Seyresse May 30, 2010

The first major visit during my tour through southern part of France was at Dax. On May 30, 2010, there was an air show at this base from the French army aviation which is called l'Armée de Terre (ALAT). At Dax are about 45 Gazelles helicopters stationed which are used for the training of pilots for the French army. The Aviation Légère de l'Armée de Terre (ALAT), roughly translated as “Army Aviation” means “the armed airborne forces of the Army”. The ALAT was created by the French artillery as part of the aerial observations at the front lines.

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Tactical Training With the Alpha-Jet

Le Tour de France 2010 Part 3; Cazaux May 31, 2010

After a successful day at Dax, today on May 31, a visit to Cazaux was on the program. Cazaux is the home base of the French and Belgian Alpha-Jet fleet for the final phase of the pilots training. The pilots are in Phase IV of their pilot training and they learn how to handle weapon systems at this location. Cazaux air base, which is denoted as Base Arien 120 (BA120) in France, has the honor name Commandant Marzac. The base is located in La Teste-de-Buch in Gironde which is located fifty miles west of Bordeaux.

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Elementary Pilot Training

Le Tour de France 2010 Part 4; Cognac, June 1, 2010

The last visit during my trip to the south of France was on June 1, 2010 at Cognac. All Epsilons of the French Air Force which are currently still in operational service are based at Cognac. The TB-30 Epsilon is used for basic pilot training within the French Armée de l’Air. The French airbase of Cognac-Châteaubernard is called by the French Base Aérienne 709 "Cognac Châteaubernard" or BA 709 as an abbreviation. The base is home of the pilot training school of the Armée de l’Air. This is the French initial pilot training school.

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Die Deutsche Heeresflieger

The Last Operational Huey’s at Celle; Celle June 2, 2010

After a successful trip to the southern part of France, I ended the trip with a visit to Celle, which is located northeast of Hannover, Germany. Celle is a helicopter training base of the German Bundesheer. The training unit at this base uses the UH-1D Huey and the Bo-105 Bölkow. Currently there are Huey’s and Bölkows based at the German Celle, but this is going to change. The Huey’s are going to move to Fassberg at the end of this year. This base is located approximately fifty kilometers north of Celle.

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Vzdušné Sily Armády; Slovenskej Republiky

Part 1: A Journey Through a Turbulent Past, June 7 – 11, 2010

On Monday, June 7, 2010, my journey through Slovakia began. This country of the former Warsaw Pact has a turbulent past. The highlight of the Slovakian past is the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the split of the Czechoslovakian Republic in 1993. Today only a fraction is left of the Air Force compared with that age. The Slovakian Air Force is a part of the armed forces of the Slovakian Republic. It consists of three important air bases, namely: the helicopter base Prešov, the fighter base Sliač and the transport base Malacky-Kuchyña.

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Vrtulníkove Letecké Krídlo

Part 2: The Slovakian Helicopter Wing; Prešov June 8, 2010

My first major visit to an airfield in Slovakia was on the program on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. In the morning I was invited to Prešov for a base visit. This airbase is home to all Slovakian Air Force helicopters. The following types can be found here: the Mil Mi-2 Hoplite, the Mil Mi-17 Hip and the Mil Mi-24 Hind. The third wing of the Slovakian Air Force is based at Prešov airbase. The name of this wing is Vrtulníkove Letecké Krídlo "generálplukovníka Jana Ambruša" which means “Helicopter Wing” in Slovakian language.

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Zmiešané Letecké Krídlo

Part 3: The Slovakian Fighter Wing; Malacky, June 9 & 10, 2010

After a somewhat disappointing day at Prešov, I was on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 welcome at Sliač. Sliač is normally the home base of the Slovakian Fighter Wing. The Fighter Wing was temporarily based at Malacky Kuchyňa due to construction work at the runway. The Fighter Wing flies the Mig-29 Fulcrum and the L-39 Albatross. Sliač is the home base of the First Fighter Wing of the Slovakian Air Force. The unit has the honorary title of Otto Smik (Zmiešané Letecké Krídlo Otta Smika). He was important for Slovakia during World War I.

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Dopravniho Krídlo

Part 4: The Slovakian Transport Wing; Malacky, June 9 & 10, 2010

After a very successful day at Malacky-Kuchyňa, I once again was welcome at this great base. This time the visit was meant to have a closer look at the Slovakian Transport Unit. The An-26 Curl and Let-410 transport aircraft of the Slovakian Air Force are based at Malacky-Kuchyňa. Malacky-Kuchyňa is the second airbase of the Slovakian Air Force. The entire tactical transport fleet of the Slovakian Air Force is based at Malacky-Kuchyňa. The name of the transport unit is Dopravniho Krídlo "generála Milana Rastislava štefánika".

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Letecké Útvar Ministerstva Vnútra

Part 5: The Slovakian Government; Bratislava, June 11, 2010

The last visit during my trip through Slovakia was at Bratislava-Ivanka on June 11, 2010. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Slovakian Republic is based at the international airport. They use two Tupolev Tu-154 and two Yakovlev Yak-40 VIP aircraft for VIPs. Also a number of Mil Mi-171's of the police force are stationed here. The Letecké Útvar Ministerstva Vnútra (Ministry of Foreign Affairs Aviation) is divided into two units, namely: the VIP flight with the Russian build Tu-154 and the Yak-40 and the Police with the Russian build Mil Mi-171.

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The Arrival at the Molenheide

A Century of Dutch Aviation I; Gilze-Rijen, June 17, 2010

On Thursday, June 17, 2010, I was present at the arrival day of the Open House of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. The theme of this year Open House of the Dutch air force is celebrating a century of Dutch aviation. It is a nice moment to look back at the history of Gilze-Rijen air base and the history of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Gilze-Rijen airbase is the largest military airbase in area in the Netherlands. Because of this fact it is a major employer in the region. There are over 1500 people who are working at this large base.

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100 Years of Flying Dutchman

A Century of Dutch Aviation II; Gilze-Rijen, June 18 & 19, 2010

The Open House of the Royal Netherlands Air Force 2010 took place on Friday, June 18 and Saturday, June 19, 2010. The theme of the Open House this year is a Century of Dutch Aviation. Sometimes, aviation in the Netherlands is also referred to in The Flying Dutchman. However, this legend is much older than aviation is in Holland. The legend of the Flying Dutchman was definitively linked to the Dutch aviation in 1948 by the Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM). The legend of the Flying Dutchman was a comic which was launched in 1948.

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Back to the Modern Existence

A Century of Dutch Aviation III; Gilze-Rijen, June 20 & 21, 2010

After the Open House at Gilze-Rijen air base, I would visit the departures of this annual event. Gilze-Rijen is known for its excellent photography opportunities and I had a big advantage of this fact. The normal life with the daily helicopter operations will continue at this DHC base after the Open House. The Open House of the Royal Netherlands Air Force gives the Dutch citizens the opportunity to look at the tasks of the Dutch defense department and its associated equipment. The Open House takes normally two days.

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The Last French Mirage F-1 Base

Adieu ER 1/33 Belfort 1914-2010; Reims-Champagne, June 22, 2010

On Tuesday, June 22, 2010, I was allowed to make a visit to the air base of Reims-Champagne which is located in the north of France. Reims is the last operational Mirage F-1 base in France and offers shelter to two squadrons. Ultimately, the base will close in one year and the French Air Force will stop flying with the Mirage F-1. The French air base of Reims is the only French base which is still operational with the Mirage F-1. Colmar in the east of northern France was closed in the spring of 2009 due to the announced cuts in fund.

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Österreichische Hubschrauber

The Austrian Helicopter Units; Tulln-Langenlebarn, July 23, 2010

Due to the Austrian Air Force press days, I was on Friday, July 23, 2010 welcome at the helicopter base in Tulln-Langenlebarn in the northeastern part of Austria. Tulln is the home base of the Austrian S-70 Blackhawk, the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior, the SA316B Allouette III and the PC-6. Tulln is the largest helicopter base in Austria. Tulln-Langenlebarn which is also known as Fliegerhorst Brumowski is located south of the city Langenlebarn which is located northwest of Vienna. The base was founded by the Germans during WW2.

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Maritime operations over the North Sea

The Dutch Continental Shelf; Den Helder, September 8, 2010

On September 8, 2010, I was welcome - for the second time this year - at De Kooy Airbase in Den Helder. This base is still the home of the Westland Lynx of the Royal Netherlands Navy. But this is going to change, as this helicopter will be withdrawn from use within two years. The Lynx will be replaced by the modern NH-90. In total there are almost 1000 oil and gas platforms stationed at the North Sea. The amount of tasks for the SAR flight at De Kooy in Den Helder increased with the advent of all these platforms.

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The Runway 28

Gilze-Rijen Air Base in 2010; Gilze-Rijen, 2010

In the early part of 2010 I had the opportunity to catch the Apache's of no 301 Squadron from a very close range. A new taxi track was constructed parallel to the runway on the north side of the base. The Redskins used the taxi track next to the fence because of the con- struction works; the rest of their platform was cut of in this situation. The helicopters will taxi very close to the fence to the main runway. Furthermore it is possible to take some beautiful shots in the morning hours at Gilze-Rijen in the Sling area which is south of the runway.

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Gebied Laagvliegen 5

Helicopters at GLV5; Oirschotse heide, 2010

In 2010, it were mainly the Chinooks who brought me the pretty pictures on the Oirschotse Heide. There is almost no flying activity in the evening during the summer months. But when there is flying activity at Gilze-Rijen, the helicopters will visit the Oirschotse Heide GLV5 definitely for the necessary exercises. The result was that I could photograph a Chinook during the golden hour. Later this year I managed to photograph a Chinook which was hovering in front of the sun. The result was a beautiful halo around the helicopter.

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The NATO Tiger Meet 2010, part 1

NATO Tigers, Hard To Be Humble; Volkel, October 13, 2010

This year I had the opportunity to attend the NATO Tiger Meet. The Tiger Meet 2010 was held at the Dutch airbase of Volkel. On Wednesday, October 13, I attended one of the two photo days which belong to this event. It would be a great day, filled with great moments for spectacular action shots. The NATO Tiger Meet is organized by one of the NATO countries each year. The large scale exercise is held on a different location somewhere in Europe. All participating units have a picture of a tiger or other “big cat” in their unit badge.

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The NATO Tiger Meet 2010, part 2

NATO Tigers, Hard To Be Humble; Volkel, October 13, 2010

For me the Tiger Meet started on October, 12, 2010 at Eindhoven Airbase. A KC-135 Stratotanker of the Ohio Air National Guard was stationed at Eindhoven Airbase. I don’t have many pictures of this type of aircraft in my photo collection. I was able to catch this machine under some perfect weather conditions. There were some helicopters present for the exercise at Volkel Air Base next to this tanker. I was able to catch these helicopters on photo on October 13, 2010. There were two Italian AB-212s and one Czech Mi-24 Hind present.

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The Slopes at Gilze-Rijen

Gilze-Rijen Air Base in 2010; Gilze-Rijen, 2010

In the early part of 2010 I had the opportunity to catch the Apache's of no 301 Squadron from a very close range. A new taxi track was con- structed parallel to the runway on the north side of the base. The Red- skins used the taxi track next to the fence because of the construction works; the rest of their platform was cut of in this situation. The heli- copters will taxi very close to the fence to the main runway. Further- more it is possible to take some beautiful shots in the morning hours at Gilze-Rijen in the Sling area which is located south of the runway.

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