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The Year 2011

The year 2011 started very well. The first exercise which I attended was at the Oirschotse Heide. This resulted in a number of spectacular photos. Unique was the last visit of the British Royal Navy Jetstream in Eindhoven. This aircraft was retired shortly after this visit at Eindhoven. 2011 has a number of unique visits on the program. I will attend the NATO Tiger Meet at Cambrrai in France in May. My visit to Turkey in June will be a very unique visit. The Air Force is celebrating its 100th anniversary at the airbase of Izmir. In September a visit is scheduled to Bulgaria. 2011 promised to be just like 2009 and 2010 a good year.


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Stop the Enemy & Arrest Them

Action with the 11th LMB; Oirschotse Heide, January 20, 2011

On Thursday, January 20, I attended one of the exercises of the 11th Air Mobile Brigade. The purpose of the exercise was to overpower and capture the occupiers. The scenario took place on the Oirschotse Heide and at Fort Crèvecoeur. For this exercise I was present at the Oirschotse Heide to see the action. The scenario during the first part of the exercise was to overpower two bunkers which were occupied by criminals. The second part of the exercise took place at the Oirschot- se Heide. The unit had to arrest a suspect who was driving a vehicle.

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AH-64D, Member of the Apache Tribe

The Apaches of the Redskins; Gilze-Rijen, February 8, 2011

On Tuesday, February 8, 2011, I went to Gilze-Rijen to see the based helicopters. I was lucky that today a lot of Apaches were active at the base. Four Apache helicopters would leave the base within thirty minutes. It is very easy to take decent photos at the head of the runway at Gilze-Rijen; especially in the morning hours. The Boeing Defense & Space Industries AH-64A Apache is one of the main attack helicopters of the United States Army. The helicopter was designed with one mission, the destruction of ground targets.

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Military Movements Eindhoven

Eindhoven Air Base in 2011; Eindhoven, 2011

This year I was going for the first time on a structural basis to Eindho- ven Air Base. Since the EATC was founded, there are many aircraft present from several countries at this base. The EATC uses different transport planes from several NATO countries for transport duties in Europe. The first available aircraft is used for the task. The European Transport fleet is efficiently used in this way. My first visit this year brought me a German Airbus A310. I captured a gray Greek C-130 Hercules during the second visit this year.

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Game Over Jetstream

The Farewell Tour of the Jetstream; Eindhoven, February 28, 2011

On Friday, February 25, 2011, five Jetstreams of the British Royal Navy arrived at Eindhoven airbase. They departed back to England on Monday, February 28. It was my last opportunity to catch these aircraft on photo. The outdated Jetstream will be retired from operational service on April 1, 2011. The original design of the Jetstream dates from 1965 as a twelve seat aircraft. The machine was designed with a low wing configuration. Much attention was paid to the streamlining of the aircraft to increase its performance.

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The Last Operational F1

Reorganization of the Armée de l'Air; Reims, March 7, 2011

On Monday, March 7, 2011, I went to Reims-Champagne to see the very last operational Mirage F1 fighters of the French Armée de l'Air. The French Air Force flew very well today. In total I was able to catch seven Mirages. A nice bonus was the fuel stop of six British Apache AH1's and two French SA330 Puma's. The entire French Mirage F1 fleet will be retired in the coming years. In 2008 was already decided that the French Colmar-Meyenheim would be closed. It was the first base of the cost saving program that closed its doors.

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Operation Harmattan

The French Mirage 2000 in Action; Cambrai-Epinoy, March 31, 2011

On Thursday, March 31, 2011, I was welcome at the French airbase Cambrai-Epinoy. EC1/12 is stationed at this French airbase. This unit flies the Mirage 2000. This aircraft type is currently deployed to Libya to maintain the no-fly zone over this country. This happened under the codename Operation Harmattan. This no-fly zone was established by the United Nations Security Council with Resolution 1973. The goal is to make an end to the attacks on civilians by the Libyan army which is lead by Qadhafi. The coalition is called "The Coalition of the Willing".

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AS-532U2 Cougar MkII; 1996 - 2011

The End of the Cougar in the Netherlands; Gilze-Rijen, May 8, 2011

The Dutch minister of Defense Hans Hillen announced the upcoming cuts in funds for the Defense department in the Netherlands. The outcome of the announcements was devastating for the Defense department. This was also the case for the no 300 Squadron at Gilze-Rijen. Their Cougars will be retired on May 8, 2011. The future of the no 300 Squadron is uncertain at this moment. What is known is that the Defense department will drop 12,000 jobs during the current round of budget cuts. More than 6,000 employees will be fired.

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311 ”Ut Aquila Praedans”, 1951 – 2011

The End of the Brabant Eagle; Volkel, May 8, 2011

The no 311 Squadron at Volkel Air Base was the next victim of the major cutbacks of the defense department on April 8, 2011. The Cabinet agreed to these major cutbacks. Minister Hillen has to save 1 billion Euros the next few years. The Defense department will shrink with 18%. The Royal Netherlands Air Force was forced to disband again another F-16 squadron. On May 8, 2011, the no 311 Squadron at Volkel Air Base was disbanded after a history of more than 60 years. A total of 69 F-16s will remain in active duty.

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The NATO Tiger Meet 2011, Part 1

The Art of Painting; Cambrai-Epinoy, May 16, 2011

On Monday, May 16, 2011, I attended the famous NATO Tiger Meet again. This edition of the international meeting was held at the French air base Cambrai-Epinoy. This edition was one with a big variety of aircraft. The NATO Tiger Meet is famous because of the painted aircraft which are painted in tiger colors. The history of aircraft painting started during the First World War. The tradition of special paints continues in the history of military aviation with events such as the NATO Tiger Meet. It is nowadays normal to see special paints.

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The NATO Tiger Meet 2011, Part 2

The International Tiger Games; Cambrai-Epinoy, May 16, 2011

A major NATO exercise was held at Cambrai-Epinoy next to all the painted aircraft and the social part of the NATO Tiger Meet. I was present during one of the missions during the exercise on May 16, 2011. It is normal that about 1500 spectators are present during the exercise of the NATO Tiger Meet. On Monday, May 9, 2011, the Tiger Meet 2011 was officially launched during the flag ceremony. The start of the Tiger Meet took place in the afternoon after the arrivals of all the participants. This Tiger Meet would be one of the biggest ever.

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100 yıl Türk Hava Kuvvetleri, Part I

Atatürk and the Turkish Air Force; Izmir-Çiğli, June 3 – 6, 2011

The Turkish Air Force was founded in a period in which Turkey was a part of the former Ottoman Empire. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was an officer in the Turkish Army, a writer, a statesman and the founder and first president of the republic of Turkey. One of his famous sayings was: "The Sky is the Future." Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (Thessaloniki, May 19, 1881 - Istanbul, November 10, 1938) was an officer of the Turkish Army, a writer, a statesman and the founder and the first president of Turkey. He was born in Salonika in the Ottoman Empire.

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100 yıl Türk Hava Kuvvetleri, Part II

100 Years of Turkish Aviation; Izmir-Çiğli, June 3 – 6, 2011

The first aviation division in Turkey was founded in 1911 and was led by Lieutenant-Colonel Süreyya İlmen. Exactly 100 years later, exten- sive attention was given to this event in Turkey. The 100-year anni- versary is celebrated with an air show at the Air Base of Izmir-Çiğli in the western part of the country. Also a lot of foreign participants were flying demos at this international air show. There were many planes present which are not present on an average western air show. The highlights of the show were the Turkish Stars and Solo Türk.

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100 yıl Türk Hava Kuvvetleri, Part III

The Modern Turkish Air Force; Izmir-Çiğli, June 3 – 6, 2011

The Turkish Air Force (TURAF) is today a modern air force which operates according to Western models. The Turkish Air Force has a wide range of aircraft which can be deployed for various tasks. The main task of the Turkish Air Force is to protect the Turkish airspace against unwanted intruders. The Turkish Air Force's main role is to protect Turkey against unwanted intruders and other dangers which are a threat to the country. The headquarters of the Turkish Air Force is based in Ankara. The is composed out of the 1st and 2nd Air Force.

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100 yıl Türk Hava Kuvvetleri, Part IV

The Air Training Command; Izmir-Çiğli, June 3 – 6, 2011

Izmir is the training center of the Turkish Air Force. There are three airfields around the city which are part of the Air Training Command of the Turkish Air Force. The future pilots of the Turkish Air Force are trained for various tasks within the air force. This training is done with the help of several types of training aircraft. Since the Turks took over Izmir-Çiğli again from the Americans, it became an important part of the Turkish Air Training Command. Çiğli is the most important base of all the training fields in Turkey; 2 units are based here.

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3 Régiment d'Hélicoptères de Combat

Aviation Légère de l'Armée de Terre; Etain-Rouvres, June 26, 2011

On Sunday, June 26, 2011, I attended the air show at Etain-Rouvres. The 3 Régiment d'Hélicoptères de Combat of the ALAT (Aviation Légère de l'Armée de Terre) is based at this airfield. This unit flies the Gazelle of several types and the Puma and it is one of the biggest helicopter regiments in the French Army. The 3RHC was founded on August 1, 1977. The 3RHC is a direct descent of the Aviation Platoon of the 9th Colonial Infantry Division. The 3RHC consists of a number of squadrons which are equipped with different helicopter types.

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The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

Heavyweight Champion of the USAF; Ramstein AB, June 27, 2011

On Monday, June 27, 2011, there was a visit to Ramstein Air Base in Germany on the program. Many airlift flights from and to this huge air base take place on a daily basis. The C-5 Galaxy is a regular visitor to Ramstein Air Base. The C-5 of the USAF is currently undergoing a modernization program. The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy is a large military transport aircraft which was built by Lockheed. The aircraft was designed as a strategic heavy transport aircraft. The C-5 Galaxy is used by the United States Air Force (USAF) since 1969.

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The EADS Company NV

The EADS Factories at Manching; Manching-Ingolstadt, June 28, 2011

Manching-Ingolstadt is one of the airports where a factory of EADS is located. The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company NV (EADS) is a European aircraft constructor for civilian companies and the military branch. Besides aviation, the company is also active in the space program. The EADS Group includes the military arm of Airbus Industries and Eurocopter. EADS is currently one of the main partners in the Eurofighter project. The Eurofighter for the Germans and the Austians is built at Manching.

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Jagdbombergeschwader 32

The Panavia Tornado from Bavaria; Lechfeld, June 29, 2011

On Wednesday, June 29, 2011, I had a visit at the German Tornado base Lechfeld. The Tornado ECR of Jagdbombergeschwader 32 is based at this air base. The Panavia Tornado Project was like the Eurofighter Typhoon project part of the collaboration between compa- nies which later would form EADS. The Panavia Tornado is a 2 engine aircraft with wings, which operate on the swing-wing principle. The Tornado was jointly designed by Great-Britain, Germany and Italy. The Tornado flew for the first time on August 14, 1974.

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Technische Schule der Luftwaffe 1

The Air Force Technical School; Kaufbeuren, June 29, 2011

Kaufbeuren Air Base is an airfield of the German Luftwaffe in the southern part of Germany. It is currently home to the Technische Schule der Luftwaffe 1 (Air Force Technical School Number 1). At this school, all technicians are trained to become aircraft technicians in the German Luftwaffe. The most important part of the training is the basic weapon training of the Tornado, the Phantom and the Euro- fighter. Other important parts of the program are; electronic warfare, military air traffic control and computer-based management.

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The Eurofighter EF2000 Typhoon, Part I

The Eurofighters of Jagdgeschwader 74; Neuburg, June 30, 2011

On Thursday, June 30, 2011, I had a visit at Neuburg Air Base in the southern part of Germany. Neuburg is, after Laage in the northern part of the country, the second base which received the EF2000. JG-74 currently operates with 20 Eurofighters. This number will rise to approximately 30 aircraft. The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin engine aircraft with delta wing configuration with canards. The Eurofighter is a multi-role combat aircraft designed and built by a consortium of three companies, namely; EADS, Alenia Aeronautica and BAE Systems.

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The Eurofighter EF2000 Typhoon, Part II

Eurofighters at the Air Power 2011; Zeltweg, July 1, 2011

On Friday, July 1, 2011, the Air Power 2011 started at the Austrian air base Zeltweg. Austria is one of the 6 countries which purchased the EF2000 Eurofighter. The Eurofighter will replace the Saab Draken in the Austrian Air Force, which retired in 2005. A total of 15 Eurofighters were bought by the Austrian Air Force. The Eurofighter Typhoon is unique in the world of modern combat aircraft, because the aircraft is built at 4 different assembly lines. Each partner company assembles its own national aircraft, but it builds the same parts for all 683 aircraft.

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25 Years Gilze-Rijen Aviation Society

The Silver Jubilee of the GRAS; Gilze-Rijen, August 25, 2011

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Gilze-Rijen Aviation Society (GRAS). Together with the Royal Netherlands Air Force, the GRAS organized a spotter’s day to celebrate this fact. This spotter’s day took place on August 25 at Gilze-Rijen. Many planes were invited to make a few touch and goes this day. In 1986, the Gilze-Rijen Aviation Society was officially founded by a group of people who lived in the area of the base. The first club magazine was published in the form of a newsletter from March 1988; this was a big succes.

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Project Disposal F-16

Dutch F-16s leave for Chile; Volkel, August 29, 2011

On Monday, August 29, 2011, I attended the departure of 5 Dutch F-16s which would fly to Chile. These F-16s have been sold to Chile by the Divestment Project F-16 (Project Afstoting F-16, PAF). These aircraft are the latest machines in a total delivery of 18 aircraft. 18 other F-16s left for Chile previously. After the closure of Twenthe Air Base in 2004, it was decided to sell a part of the Dutch F-16 fleet. A batch of 18 aircraft was for sale. The 18 aircraft were withdrawn from use by the abolition of the no 315 Squadron at Twenthe Air Base.

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Bulgarian Air Force, Part 1

Traces of a Turbulent Past; Plovdiv-Krumovo, September 2 – 4, 2011

This year the Bulgarian Air Force exists 100 years. An air show is organized at Plovdiv Air Base to celebrate this unique event. This airshow took place from September 2, 2011 until September 4, 2011. During this show, the organization takes visitors on a journey through the history of the Bulgarian Air Force. The Bulgarian Air Force (Военновъздушни Cили, ВВС) is part of the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense. The main task of the Bulgarian Air Force is to protect ground troops of the Army and the sovereignty of Bulgarian airspace.

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Bulgarian Air Force, Part 2

Traces of a Turbulent Past; Plovdiv-Krumovo, September 2 – 4, 2011

Bulgaria entered the Cold War in 1955 as a member of the former Warsaw Pact after a turbulent history. The Warsaw Pact was a military alliance of communist countries in Eastern Europe which existed between 1955 and 1991. Since March 2004, Bulgaria became a full Member Nation of NATO. The Bulgarian air force has shrunk con- siderably in the recent years. The Air Force operates with a much smaller but more tactical aircraft fleet that meets the NATO standards. The country shows many traces and memories of the Cold War.

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Luchtmacht Open Dagen 2011

The Future is in the Air; Leeuwarden, September 15, 2011

The Open House of the Dutch Air Force was also this year on my program. This edition of the Open House was held at Leeuwarden Air Base. On Thursday, September 15, I attended the spotters day which is held the day before the Open House. All the participants of the airshow will arrive during this day. Slogan for this year's Open House was; "The Future is in the Air." With this slogan the Air Force wants to show that it indeed has a future during these times of economic crisis. The Air Force will change its direction of its policy in the next few years.

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Flugtag Niederstetten

THR-30; Niederstetten, September 17, 2011

On Saturday, September 17, 2011, I attended the Flugtag of Nieder- stetten. It was the first time that I made a visit to this base in the south of Germany. There were demonstrations given by the German Army helicopters during this day. The Airpower Demo was one of the best I had ever seen. The German Air Base of Niederstetten is located 4 km east of the city Niederstetten in northern Baden-Wurttemberg, Ger- many. The construction of the air base was completed in 1936 by the Luftwaffe. It was the first time I visited Niederstetten.

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Helicopters of the 1 RHC

Aviation Légère de l'Armée de Terre; Phalsbourg, September 18, 2011

The 1 RHC (1er Régiment d'Hélicoptères de Combat) is stationed at the French airbase Phalsbourg. This airbase is a former NATO base which was used by the USAF. The traditions of the 1 RHC arose at the end of the Second World War. The 1 RHC is one of the seven French ALAT regiments within the French Army. The regiment is based at the French airbase Phalsbourg and flies the SA341 Gazelle and SA342 ‘HOT’ Gazelle and the SA330 Puma. The helicopters of the 1 RHC were in the past several times deployed to crisis areas in the world.

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Exercise Steadfast Noon 2011

Practicing the Nuclear Scenario; Volkel, October 3 – 4, 2011

The exercise Steadfast Noon 2011 took place from September 28, 2011 until October 6, 2011 at Volkel Air Base. The purpose of this exercise was to train the ground crew in handling with nuclear weapons. The presence of these U.S. weapons in Europe has never officially been confirmed or denied. A total of 7 units in Europe are prepared for this scenario. The Cold War is already over for many years, but these scenarios remain a part of contemporary war scenarios. The atmosphere around the exercise is very secretive.

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Gilze-Rijen, Runway 28

Gilze-Rijen Air Base in 2011; Gilze-Rijen, 2011

The head of the runway 28 at Gilze-Rijen remains one of the most spectacular places in the Netherlands for aircraft spotting. This spot is ideal especially for photography of the departing Apaches of the no 301 Squadron. It is the most beautiful spot with wind from Eastern direction. The helicopter will fly at a very low altitude during departure. I’ve made a few beautiful sunset shots of the Apache helicopters at the start of the year 2011. The transport helicopters often come to the head of the runway 28 to pick up their sling loads from the grass strip.

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The Slopes at Gilze-Rijen

Gilze-Rijen Air Base in 2011; Gilze-Rijen, 2011

The Slopes at Gilze-Rijen remains the best places to photograph the helicopters of the Dutch DHC. At the beginning of 2011, I was able to capture the NH90 for the first time at this spot. In April it became clear that the Cougar would disappear within a month from the DHC. The last flight of the Cougar was planned on May 8, 2011. The disappea- rance of the Cougar is the result of a severe cutback in defense. For this reason I was very pleased to capture my last Cougar on photo in 2011. I was lucky to capture all 17 Cougars on photo.

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