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Ex-Klu F-16 for Chile

On Monday August 29th, 2011, 5 F-16s of the Dutch Air Force ('Koninklijke Luchtmacht') left Volkel airbase in the Netherlands (ICAO:EHVK) for a long trip to Chile. They were the third and last batch of 18 F-16?s sold to the Chilean Air Force in a contract signed in 2009. In November 2010 the first batch of 6 F-16s took-off from Leeuwarden airbase, in April 2011 the second batch of 6 F-16s already departed for Chili. Planned was formation of 6 aircraft, but technical problems delayed the departure of 1 F-16s. On Monday morning 5 F-16s left and number 6 left one day later.

The route to be flown is from Volkel to the Spanish airbase of Gando at the Canary Islands, with the support of a Dutch KDC-10 tanker. When the 6th F-16 is planned to arrive a day later, after a fuelstop at Monte-Real (Portugal), all 6 F-16s will cross the Atlantic Ocean to the Brazilian airbase Salvador; in a 7 hour flight accompanied by the KDC-10. After Brazil, the last flight will bring the aircraft to the Antofagasta airbase in Chile. On Saturday September 03rd, the aircraft will be delivered officially to the Chilean air Force.

The aircraft are already painted in the colors of the Chilean air Force, but they keep their Dutch registrations until the final acceptance in Chile and the aircraft are flown by Dutch pilots. The Dutch serials and roundel applied by an adhesive/sticker that can be removed easily at the destination. One F-16 (J-875) had some special adhesives/stickers on it?s tail: a map of the world showing the route to fly and the text ?Chile II?, ?2010-2011? en ?We did it again?. On the way back home, the pilots will be onboard of the KDC-10, which will refuels 4 other F-16s back to the Netherlands across the ocean, these 4 F-16s were previously based at Tucson AB (Arizona) for training purposes.

An Ilushin-76 was hired to fly the spare parts of these 6 F-16s to Chile.

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

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