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.
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.
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.
After the 2011 edition of this exercise was cancelled due to commitments in Lybia, Leeuwarden AB in the Dutch province of Friesland was again scene to the Frisian Flag exercise which analogous to the US Red Flag exercise plays host to 50 fighters and support aircraft. Although fewer in numbers as Leeuwarden simply doesn’t have the tarmac to host more participants, it serves the same goal, namely to enable airforces to train and fight in a realistic environment.
During a 3-week vacation an afternoon was spent in the 21L en 21R approach of Nellis AFB near Las Vegas to get a glimpse of the action. A variety of USAF and USMC hardware could be seen.
East Anglia used to be the center of gravity for a lot US in England, but now only two airbases are left RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath. The Bucc and Herc are taken at RAF Honington (guarding the gate) and RAF Brize Norton. The latter was visited on our way to RNAS Yeovilton.
RAF Coningsby is home of the RAF Typhoon fleet. It houses no less than four operational squadrons so plenty of flying was going on.
Gilze-Rijen AB was the venue for the yearly Open Days of the Royal Netherlands Air Force held at the 18th and 19th of June. The days after moest participants are leaving again and so on Monday the 21st of June. Gilze-Rijen offers great photo opportunities near the runway which resulted in below pictures.