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‘Volkel to become main Dutch airbase’

A Leeuwarden based Dutch F-16 in colourful markings of 323 squadron. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A Leeuwarden based Dutch F-16 in colourful markings of 323 squadron. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

According to several Dutch newspapers (Dutch only), Volkel is to become the main operating base for the F-35A Lightning II aircraft. Of the 37 aircraft about to be ordered, 25 are to be based in Volkel in the southern part of the Netherlands. The rest of the aircraft will be used for training in the United States, for missions abroad and for exercises at Leeuwarden airbase, now still home to two F-16 squadrons.

The reports are based on Dutch MoD findings, although officials will not comment on them. Suggestions are that one Leeuwarden’s F-16 squadrons (322 and 323) will face the axe. The most famous Dutch air force unit is 322 Squadron, which finds its roots in World War II. The squadron’s mascot is a parrot. The other unit is 323 Squadron, also occupied with tactical training and airborne tests.

In the end, Leeuwarden will be home to no more than twelve F-35’s, according to the newspaper reports.

© 2013 AIRheads’ Elmer van Hest

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Check out the Royal Netherlands Air Force Orbat at Scramble.nl

WITH VIDEO: Final Vickers VC10 mission Brize Norton

The last VC10 landing at Brize Norton on September 20, 2013  (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The last VC10 landing at Brize Norton on September 20, 2013 (Image © Elmer van Hest)

The Vickers VC-10 flew its final mission today from RAF Station Brize Norton, after many years of faithful service with the Royal Air Force.

The last two flying VC-10s flew from ‘Brize’ on Friday September 20, 2013, and visited several airfields in the UK. They were accompanied by Tornado and Typhoon fighter aircraft. AIRheads↑Fly was waiting for them to return to RAF Brize Norton to see their final landing.

Camera ready, sound ready? Action! Witness the last ever landing down here. Be sure to see – and especially hear – the Vickers VC-10 in all its glory one more time. We from AIRheads↑Fly surely did!

© 2013 AIRheads’ Elmer van Hest

Tornado Time

Fly low, hit hard. That sums it up for the Panavia Tornado. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Follow the leader! (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Just because we feel like it, and just because we can; it’s Tornado Time. Want loud? Want fast? Want beastly? Want a true Cold War working machine? The Panavia Tornado had and continues to have it all. Its numbers crowded European skies in the eighties and nineties, but those numbers now start to decrease slowly but steady. We take the time to look at its noisy and low-flying career.

The Tornado earned its fame during Desert Storm in 1991, although Italian Tornadoes weren't all that succesfull. Here's an Italian Tornado IDS at the 1991 Le Bourget Salon. Dress code was 'Desert Camo' during that particular salon. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The Tornado earned its fame during Desert Storm in early 1991, although Italian Tornadoes weren’t all that succesfull. Here’s an Italian Tornado IDS at the 1991 Le Bourget Salon. Dress code was ‘Desert Camo’ during that particular salon. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Want more desert camo, but with a splash of colour? This Tornado form Saudi Arabia provides just that. Saudi Arabia bought 134 Tornadoes, of which 96 were of the IDS-version, seen here. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Want more desert camo, but with a splash of colour? This Tornado from Saudi Arabia provides just that. Saudi Arabia bought 134 Tornadoes, of which 96 were of the IDS-version, seen here. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Saudi Arabia also purchased the F3 fighter variant of the Tornado. Those aircraft are rarely - if ever - seen outside the kingdom. This is a an RAF Tornado F3 in 'max noise' mode. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Saudi Arabia also purchased the ADF fighter variant of the Tornado. Those aircraft are rarely – if ever – seen outside the kingdom. This is a an RAF Tornado F3 in ‘max noise’ mode. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The F3 was also flown by the Italian Aeronautica Militare for some years, as a stop gap between the Lockheed F-104S-ASA and the Eurofighter Typhoon. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The F3 was also flown by the Italian Aeronautica Militare for some years, as a stop gap between the Lockheed F-104S-ASA and the Eurofighter Typhoon. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
More from Italy, this time in the shape of a Tornado IDS taking off from Ghedi airbase.(Image © Dennis Spronk)
More from Italy, this time in the shape of a Tornado IDS taking off from Ghedi airbase. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
We actually prefer the older colours on Italian Tornadoes. Just imagine the noise for now. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
We actually prefer the old colours on Italian Tornadoes. Just imagine the noise for now. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The RAF Tornadoes also looked better in green. This a GR1A recce Tornado flown by number 13 squadron. It is seen here at Boscombe Down in June 1992. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The RAF Tornadoes also looked better in green. This a GR1A recce Tornado was operated by number 13 squadron. It is seen here at Boscombe Down in June 1992. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Stopping time! This German Tornado ECR uses reverse thrust to slow down at Lechfeld airbase in southern Germany. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Stopping time! This German Tornado ECR uses reverse thrust to slow down at Lechfeld airbase in southern Germany. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A better look at the reverse thrust system on the Tornado. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A better look at the reverse thrust system on the Tornado. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Same ocassion, different Tornado. This one is carrying a recce pod. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
No stopping however for this Tornado. Wings fully back, low, fast and loud – as seen at Laage airbase in August 2006. It’s carrying a recce pod below the belly. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Maximum noise, one more time. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Maximum noise, one more time. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
And again, we prefer older colours, such as on this German Marine Tornado. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
And again, we prefer older colours, such as on this German Marine Tornado. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

The Tornado first flew on 14 August 1974 from Manching airfield in Germany. A total of 992 aircraft were eventually built and a good number of those will continue to fly for years to come. But the highlight of its career is behind it.

Nice scenery, great aircraft. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Nice scenery, great aircraft. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

© 2013 AIRheads’ Elmer van Hest

Goodbye to South Korean Hawks & Talons

The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) is saying good bye to its Hawk Mk67s. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) is saying goodbye to its Hawk Mk67s. The aircraft above is one of ten now registered in the US. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) is getting rid of its twenty year old British Aerospace Hawk Mk67 aircraft, as ten of them showed up on the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) register last week. The aircraft are reportedly owned by AirUSA in Nevada. The ROKAF is replacing these Hawks with indigenous developed and built T-50 Golden Hawk aircraft. AIRheads↑FLY visited South Korea years ago, the faboulous dish of kimchi being our main target. Oh, and we saw some of those Hawks as well.

The ROKAF Hawk were based at Yecheon airbase in central South Korea. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The ROKAF Hawk were stationed at Yecheon airbase in central South Korea. Deliveries began in 1993. This aircraft is caught landing at its homebase in autumn 2004. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The camouflage on these aircraft was as striking as the dayglow parts. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The camouflage on these aircraft was as striking as the orange dayglow parts. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Talon
Not only did the Koreans say goodbye to the Hawks, they did the very same to the thirty Northrop T-38A Talons that were leased from the US. In South Korea, these trainers also used Yecheon as their homebase. Over the last few years, the Talons returned stateside, where they returned flying in USAF service. Most of them are now operating from Holloman AFB, NM.

The dayglow was also found on the T-38A Talons in South Korea. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The orange dayglow was also found on the T-38A Talons in South Korea. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The Hawks and T-38 shared the runway at Yecheon airbase. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The Hawks and T-38 shared the runway at Yecheon airbase. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
T-38s are gone from South Korean skies, but continue training pilots in many countries. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
T-38s are gone from South Korean skies, but continue to train pilots in many countries. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

And what replaces both the Hawks and Talons is the Korea Aircraft Industries (KAI) T-50; a state of the art two-seater that is capable of supersonic speeds. The T-50 is flying in substantial numbers in South Korea now, and recently the first aircraft were delivered to Indonesia.

Seen landing at Sacheon is the second KAI T-50 prototype. The installation over the exhaust houses an anti spin dragchute. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
This is the second KAI T-50 prototype, seen in October 2004. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

 

© 2013 AIRheads’ Elmer van Hest

Check out the RoKAF Orbat at Scramble.nl

First T-50 Golden Hawks land in Indonesia

Nice colours on the Indonesian T-50s! (Image © TNI-AU)
Nice colours on the Indonesian T-50s! (Image © TNI-AU)

The first two T-50 Golden Hawks for the Indonesian air force (TNI-AU) arrived in Indonesia today, two years after an agreement for 16 aircraft was signed with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). The aircraft left for Indonesia after leaving Seochan airfield, home of KAI and birthplace of the T-50 Golden Hawk.

The contract for 16 T-50i aircraft – as the Indonesian version of the Golden Hawk is officially designated – is worth 400 million USD. The supersonic trainers are to replace the BAe Hawk Mk53s that are now in service with the TNI-AU.

The ferry flight from South Korea to Indonesia took about seven hours to complete. Click here for an air to air shot of the T-50s escorted by a Hawk. All 16 aircraft will be delivered during the coming months, in a total of eight ferry flights.

The South Korean T-50, that very much resembles a scaled down F-16, first flew in August 2002. The Republic of South Korea Air Force (ROKAF) operates a substantial nuber of T-50s. The type is also used by ROKAFs display team, the Black Eagles.

Other countries have expressed interest in the Golden Hawk. Among those countries is the Philippines.

Seen landing at Sacheon is the second KAI T-50 prototype. The installation over the exhaust houses an anti spin dragchute. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Seen landing at Sacheon is the second KAI T-50 prototype. The installation on top of the exhaust houses an anti spin dragchute. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

© 2013 AIRheads’ Elmer van Hest

Check out the Indonesian Air Force Orbat at Scramble.nl