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Koksijde airshow

On the Belgian airbase of Koksijde (Luchtmachtbasis Koksijde, named after pilot Frank Allaeys , "Adjudant Vlieger Frank Allaeys", ICAO code EDFN) the annual airshow of the Belgian Air Force was held on July 6th and 7th 2011.

This 2-day event brought a huge number of demoteams to the Belgian coastal airbase. In their first European tour, the Saudi Hawks performed a good show, comparable to the shows of the Red Arrows and Patrouille de France, 2 European teams that were also present at Koksijde. The Patrouille de France flew 2 days from Koksijde, while the Red Arrows flew the show directly from their homebase in UK. On the first day of the show, the Turkish Stars performed, but they did not perform on the second day of the show.

The airshow was held on the weekdays Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th and not in a weekend as previous years, the reason for this policy change is a budget constraint. During weekdays the military personnel is not entitled to extra weekend payments.

The local demoteam 'Red Devils' performed a show in the red painted SIA Marchetti's, while the Danish Baby Blue-team flew with 4 SAAB Supporters. The Polish 'Team Iskry' team did a show during the day while the USAF Thunderbirds were the closing act of the airshow on Thursday. This closing show of the Thunderbirds was not the "grand finale" of the show because it was hampered by an upcoming thunderstorm. The take-off was during sunshine but the thunderstorm came closer by the minute, fortunately for the public, the heavy rain only started to pour down after the landing of the last Thunderbird aircraft

Because Koksijde is the homebase of the Belgium SeaKing SAR helicopters of nr 40 squadron, many helicopters were invited to join the show. The Czech SOKLO W3A rescue helicopter performed in the airshow, together with the Belgian Army Agusta 109 helicopters. On the ground were the new Dutch Air Force NH-90 helicopter, next to a French Dauphin, a Belgian colored Seaking and a Polish MIL-8 naval helicopter.

The Belgium colored demo F-16 perform during the afternoon, followed by the Dutch colored demo F-18 and the Dutch colored demo AH-664 Apache. The Swiss demo F-18 was not painted and kept it's grey colors. In order to show information from the past, some old Belgian Air Force aircraft types flew; like the C-47 Dakota, the Gloster Meteor, the Hawker Hunter, the Supermarine Spitfire, a Stampe & Vertonge biplane, a Fouga Magistere and 2 Harvards. One of the highlights was the presence of a venerable Antonov2 from the Estonian Air Force, which flew a long flight from Estonia to Belgium.

It was a great airshow, which was favored by brilliant weather on the first day and reasonable good weather on the second day. And it was finished by a tremendous rainshower just after the airshow finished on Thursday evening. Which would have been appropriate, to have the Thunderstorm during the show of the Thunderbirds.

Thanks to Belgian Air Component for their support during the show.

All photo's:
G.J.A. van Boven
H.P.A.M van Eupen
© Sentry Aviation News

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