During the first weekend of September 2015 hosted the World Harbour Days. Every year hundredthousands of people take the chance to get a glimps behind the scenes of Europe’s largest port. The visitors can pay a visit to several ships, admire demonstrations on the water and watch presentations from the many companies that use the Port of Rotterdam. The main stage is next to the Erasmusbridge.
One of the demonstrations was hosted by the Royal Netherlands Navy. In this display, a vessel was attacked by “pirates” in small motorboats. Once the ship was captured, they hoisted their piratesflag in the mast.
In order to recapture the ship, the Royal Netherlands Navy came into action. First a FRISC with 6 marines aboard was deployed to capture the ship again. At the same moment a NH-90 from the Defence Helicopter Command (DHC) entered the scene and dropped marines, via the fast-roping technique, right onto the deck of the pirated vessel. The ship was consequently liberated.
At this point the demonstration was cut short. The reason was that a body was seen in the river, close to the display area. Next to police, fire brigade and ambulance services, all available boats from the display as well as the NH-90 moved to the scene to assist in the search operation. Shortly after, the remains of a person were recovered in the waters near the Koninginnebrug. More information (in Dutch) can be found HERE.
After the first of many rain showers, a rescue operation was displayed. In this scenario a fire had started aboard a tanker vessel, causing injuries to the crew. This meant that assistance was needed to extinghuish the fire and to evacuate the wounded. First on the scene was the KNRM Jeanine Parqui lifeboat, normally based in Hoek van Holland. This lifeboat was followed by one of the Port Authority’s tugs, which used its massive watercanons to stop the fire. Finally a Noordzee Helikopters Vlaanderen (NHV) SA.365 Dauphin helicopter arrived to rescue the people from the burning tanker. NHV performs Pilot and SAR duties on behalf of the Dutch government from their heliport in the Pistoolhaven on the Maasvlakte.
In the evening of 28 August 2015 a flight of four F-22 Raptors from the Tyndall based 95th Fighter Squadron arrived at Spangdahlem Airbase in Germany for what will be the F-22s first training deployment in Europe.
The Raptors will train with U.S. services and allied air forces through mid-September. This deployment is part of European Reassurance Initiative, which saw U.S. based A-10s, F-16s and F-15s deploy to Europe in order to train with allies. Obviously, this is also a show of force against the Russian aggression in Eastern Europe (even though this is not said with so many words).
Earlier on, a 60th AMW C-17 Globemaster III arrived with the 60 airmen and associated equipment who will support this deployment. During the coming weeks, the Raptors will combat air training will be performed with F-16s and F15s, in order to see how this 5th generation aircraft performs in the European Theatre and if all the infrastructure is suited as well.
“This deployment advances our airpower evolution and demonstrates our resolve and commitment to European safety and security.” said General Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander.
It is not yet know which other airbases will be visited during this deployment, but there are rumours about Lakenheath and Eastern Europe. Time will tell…..
Every 5 years the Sail Amsterdam is organized in the Port of Amsterdam. During this event, some 50 tall ships sail to Amsterdam and spectators can visit these ships.
The event was organised for the first time in 1975 to celebrate the 700th anniversary of Amsterdam, under the name ‘Sail Amsterdam 700’. At that time, interest in tall ships, which had sunk to a low since the 1930s when the last commercial tall ships had been built, was starting to rise. The success of Sail Amsterdam 700 led to the establishment of the Stichting Sail Amsterdam (SSA, Foundation Sail Amsterdam).
Sail is one of the largest maritime manifestations in the world, and the largest event of any kind in the Netherlands. Tens of tall ships and hundreds of other historical ships are involved. Numerous other ships and boats are present besides the participating ships, amounting to 8000 boats in the 2000 edition. Lesser events take place during the festival, involving small sailboats, sailor choirs or re-enactments of naval battles. The Sail In or Parade of Sail on the first day attracts many other small ships, including creations like a sailing organ (with trumpet accompaniment) or a train converted to a ship. On the next to last day there is a naval pageant and on the last day the ‘Sail Out’.
This year, the Sail In parade took place on the 19th of August. During this parade the participatings ships, headed by the flagship Stad Amsterdam, sail through the Noordzee Kanaal from the IJmuiden locks to the IJhaven in Amsterdam. This parade attrackts thousands of small boats, as well as hundredthousands of spectators on the shores of the canal.
This gallery shows an impression of the Sail In Parade.
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft with the callsign Rocky2, assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, crashed Aug. 11, 2015, at approximately 9:38 a.m. near Engelmannsreuth in the county of Bayreuth, Germany. The accident happened during a training flight at U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria in Grafenwoehr, Bavaria, Germany.
The aircraft did not have any live ordnance loaded, only four 25 pound practice bombs were carried. The cause of the accident is currently under investigation.
During the month of July the Büchel based Tornados from Taktisches Luftwaffen Geschwader 33 were temporarily deployed to Nörvenich Airbase (close to Cologne). The reason for this deployment was the fact that Büchel’s runway was being renewed.
Having both Eurofighters (Eufis) and Tornados (Tonis) operating from the same, very approacheable, base was a good reason to plan a day at the fence.
Recently I had the opportunity to scan some of the slides that I took at Twenthe Airbase in the nineties and the beginning of the new Milennium. Looking at those pictures brings back nice memories, so why not share those pictures as well.
1996 Open House
The Open House usually brought many nice visitors to Twenthe and 1996 was no exception.
2003 Open House
The 2003 Open House was a great success, but it was also the last Open House for Twenthe Airbase. The day after the show, Defence Minister Kamp announced that Twenthe would be closed because of budget cuts.
Over the course of the years, Twenthe was visited by many aircraft. Some were spectacular and unique, some a bit less.
One of the things F-16 pilots had to practice was flying by night. This video shows some take-offs in the beginning of the evening, during the final months of Twenthe’s active period.
On the 5th of July 2015, old memories were relived when the Twente region woke up to the sound of Jet Noise.
The reason was, that on this day, the Good Cause Rally was held at the former Twenthe Airbase. During this event, children with a serious disease and their family, are invited to spend a day where they do not have to worry about their disease. Amongst others, they are taken for a drive in various fast cars, along the runway of the former airbase.
This year’s event was opened with some fly-pasts from 2 Hawker Hunters belonging to the Dutch Hawker Hunter Foundation based at Leeuwarden Airbase. To make it extra special, sponsors could bid on a flight in the 2-seat Hawker Hunter T.8C. The minimum bid had to be €7,000.- to cover the costs.
Apparently somebody made a good bid, as both aircraft showed up around 10.15 in the morning. In the next 15 minutes, they treated the audience to the sight and sound of this classic fighter. The Typical sound of the Rolls Royce Avon 207 turbine brought a smile to many faces.
During the week of 15 to 21 june 2015, the 51st edition of the Paris Air Show (Salon international de l’aéronautique et de l’espace)was held at Le Bourget airport. This Air Show takes place every 2 years and counts as one of the largest trade shows for the aviation industry. Also this year, the show was visited by over 150,000 professional visitors as well as more than 3,000 journalists from over 80 countries.
This year’s edition of the Paris Air Show showed 1,017 order commitments and 206 options, which leads to a total of 1,223 orders. Of these orders, 531 went to Airbus and 350 to Boeing.
Traditionally the Paris Air Show is the home show for Airbus, as well as companies from the French defence industry like Dassault, Thales and MDBA. After this year’s merger with Eurocopter, the Airbus booth was the largest booth on the grounds and showed a wide spectrum of aircraft, ranging from the electrically powered E-Fan, through the Caracal helicopter, up to the enormous A.380 airliner. The booth also featured a full-scale mock-up of the new H160 helicopter. The H160 made it’s first flight from Marseille in the week prior to the Paris Air Show. Airbus also showed it’s goods in full force during the flying display. After the may 2015’s fatal crash in Seville and it’s subsequent grounding, the A.400M was back in action, showing an impressive flying display.
Due to the sequestration, the United Stated Department of Defence had to miss out on the 2013 edition of the Paris Air Show, but this year they returned in full force, showing aircraft such as the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the P-8 Poseidon on the static display.
An interesting newcomer was the Chengdu/PAC JF-17 fighter aircraft from Pakistan. This fighter aircraft was developed jointly by China and Pakistan. Pakistan produces 58% of the aircraft, China produces 42% and the aircraft is powered by a Klimov RD-93 engine. There are plans though to equip the next version of the JF-17 with a different engine, as the RD-93 (developed from the MiG-29’s RD-33) produces too much smoke. For this year’s Paris Air Show, the Pakistan Air Force brought 3 aircraft. One featured in the static show, while the other was shown during the flying display. The 3rd JF-17 featured as a backup aircraft. At the end of the show, Air Commodore Khalid Mahmood of the Pakistan Air Force announced that the first export-order was signed with an undisclosed Asian country.
Even though Airbus dominated the show, Boeing also made sure it’s presence was noted. In the weeks before the Air Show a video was already loaded onto YouTube, showing the complete display that the Boeing 787-9 would fly in Le Bourget. This display featured a near-vertical take-off and the audience was not left disappointed.
A new player in the market for small airliners is Bombardier. In Paris the Canadian company showed it’s new C-series with the CS100 and the CS300. With these aircraft Bombardier focuses on the market that is currently served by aircraft such as the Airbus 320 and the Boeing 737.
On the Ground
Le Bourget always has many gems in the static display, some hidden away behind flagpoles, tents and banners. Below is an impression of what could be found on the ground.
Up in the Air
Next to a huge showground for the static display, Le Bourget would not be complete without a flying display. Here are some pictures from this years show.
Patrouille de France
No Air Show is complete without a show from the famous Patrouille de France. The same obviously goes for Le Bourget.
The next Paris Air Show will be in June 2017. Let’s see what that edition will bring.
Some action pictures of A-10 Thunderbolt IIs at the Nordhorn Air to Ground Range. The Nordhorn Range is a military aviation bombing and gunnery range to the east of nearby Nordhorn, in Lower Saxony, Germany. This is one of the few gunnery ranges in Western-Europe where A-10 pilots can use the mighty 30mm GAU-8 Avenger cannon.
These A-10’s from the 355th Fighter Wing were at the time deployed to Spangdahlem Airbase for the US Airforce’s Theatre Security Package. This was a response to Russia’s agressions towards Ukraine.
After a couple of weeks in Germany the A-10’s moved further east to have exercises with other NATO countries.