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Open Dag, Koninklijke Luchtmacht 2006, Leeuwarden

The annual Royal Dutch Air Force ("Koninklijke Luchtmacht") Open Day of 2006 took place at Leeuwarden AFB in the northern part of the country, on the 16th and 17th of June. On this airbase are 2 Lockheed (General Dynamics) F-16 squadrons stationed (322 sq. and 323 sq.), together with the SAR flight of Agusta-Bell AB412's helicopters. In 2 days, a total of 200.000 visitors were counted.

All photo's:
G.J.A. van Boven
© Sentry Aviation News

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Due to operational commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the normal display of the Dutch Air Force would be smaller than other years. No AH-64 Apache demo, no Air Power demo. Instead of that, more demo teams were invited. This year’s Open Day had a very special attraction for the visitors. After their last European tour in 1994, the US Navy Blue Angels would perform as one of the main attractions with 6 F/A-18’s and a C-130 (‘Fat Albert’). This would be the only show outside the USA in the year 2006 for the Blue Angels.
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The show teams consisted of the:
  • Finnish Air Force Academy demonstration team “Midnight Hawks”, flying the Bae Hawk
  • Asas de Portugal, flying the Alpha-Jet
  • Patrouille de Suisse, flying the F-5e
  • Patrouille de France, flying the Alpha-Jet
  • Red Arrows, flying the Bae Hawk (Friday only)
  • Blue Angles, flying the F/A-18
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    There were also solo displays during the Open Days:
  • Belgium, flying the F-16
  • Spain, flying the EF-18
  • UK, flying the C-130
  • Netherlands, flying the F-16
  • USA, flying the F-15E (west coast demo team)
  • Czech Republic, flying the Mi-24V
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    The Blue Angels performed their show on Friday and on Saturday. A difference between these 2 days, was that the JATO take-off by the C-130 “Fat Albert” was only performed on the Saturday. The Blue Angles show started with the C-130 “Fat Albert” show, taking off with rocket-pods (JATO, Jet Assisted Take Off). Then the C-130 performed a short show, followed by a very sudden stop on the runway, causing lots of smoke from the tires. After the C-130, the BA pilots marched to their aircraft and took off. 4 F/A-18’s in one direction, 2 F/A-18’s in the opposite direction of the runway. For more than 30 minutes, the 6 aircraft performed their show. Flying with 2, 4 and 6 aircraft in tight formation. It was an impressive show, performed by highly trained pilots without oxygen masks and G-suits. After the show, they received a big applause by the audience (if it could be heard in the cockpit…..)
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