Like clockwork April is the scene of the Frisian Flag exercise being held at Leeuwarden airbase. This years edition saw the participation of a large contigent of F-16 operators. Next to the Dutch F-16’s from Volkel and Leeuwarden, Poland was present and the U.S. Air National Guard sent eight Vipers from Duluth airport in Minnesota. A change of type as previous years the mighty Eagle was present at this exercise. Next to that France sent 4 Mirage 2000D’s, Germany a bunch of Eurofighters and Switzerland sent F/A-18’s although they left the exercise early so those were not observed when GVR Aviation was present.
A recurring event in the agenda of most aviation enthusiasts on the Northwestern part of Europe is the Frisian Flag exercise at Leeuwarden airbase in the Frisia province of The Netherlands.
2017 saw another edition of Frisian Flag taking place during the last week or March and first week of April. Again with US participation in the shape of 8 F-15 Eagles from the Louisiana and Florida Air National Guard units.
Each year the Gilze-Rijen Aviation Society (GRAS) organizes a spotters day at Gilze-Rijen AB to present the spotters an opportunity to see the local action of the based Chinooks, Cougars and Apaches up close on base, in optimized circumstances. Next to the local action, the society, in close coöperation with the Royal Netherlands Air Force, tries to attract extra visitors to the airbase. The 2016 edition saw a wide variety of activity ranging from local Apaches to a French C-135FR tanker giving the spotters a spirited flyby. As part of this event a French Super Puma and Gazelle where temporary based and showed their beautiful colors to the photographers.
The 2016 edition of Frisian Flag saw a diverse group participants. U.S. F-15’s operated next to RAF Tornado’s, French Mirage 2000’s, German Eurofighters, Finnish Hornets and Polish, Belgian and Dutch F-16’s. GVR Aviation was there to document all the action at this northernmost airbase.
April is traditionally the time when the northern Dutch airbase of Leeuwarden springs to life with activity when more than 40 fighters from various NATO and partner nations gather for the yearly Frisian Flag exercise. Among the participants were 12 F-15’s from two ANG units from the US.
The end of June 2013 will be the end for the classic F-4F Phantom II in German service. A spottersday was organized at Wittmund AB in Ost-Frisia to have a up-and-close personal view on these birds for the last time in operational service. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate.
2013 marked the 100th anniversary of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. This was celebrated at Volkel airbase with a nice variety of participants and some very dynamic displays.
In spite of severe cutbacks within most armed forces the Frisian Flag exercise attracted a nice variety of fighters to the northenmost Dutch airbase Leeuwarden. Including 4 French Mirage F-1CR’s which are due to be phased out next year.
Every year the Market Garden operation which was set to liberate Holland during the 2nd World War in 1944 is remembered with a para-drop from several classic and new military cargoplanes. Eindhoven airbase was the temporary homebase for these planes. Thanks to the Gilze-Rijen Aviation Society GVR Aviation was able to photograph the particapting planes on the Eindhoven tarmac.