Celebration of 65 years Belgian Air Force

Koksijde Air Base is located in the most South-Western corner of Belgium, near the North Sea Coast. Koksijde is the home base of 40 Squadron, a helicopter unit within the Belgium Air Force. The Westland Sea King and Alouette III have been stationed at Koksijde for a large number of years. Nowadays, the Sea Kings are replaced by the NH-90 helicopters and the Alouette’s will experience their last operational year in 2021.

65 years Belgian Air Force
Koksijde AB opened its gate on July 6 and 7 for the annual Belgian Air Force airshow. The airshow celebrated the 65th anniversary of the Belgian Air Force. For this occasion, some historical aircraft -which once served in the Belgian Air Force- were displayed on the static together with some modern aircraft. Photographing on base is practically impossible due to the fact that the audience is facing the sun the whole day and because the aircraft on the static were placed in such a way that there was no way to photograph them without people and or gates in the way.

The airshow
Unlike other (European) airshows, this event was not held in a weekend, but on a Wednesday and Thursday. The Wednesday was a warm and sunny day. On Thursday, the day started sunny, but in the afternoon thunderstorms started to build up above the Belgium shores and immediately after the Thunderbirds ended their demo, rain poured down and many people left home soaking wet. The Thunderbirds were perhaps the most interesting of the six demo-teams at this airshow. But the Saudi Hawks, flying the Hawk T65, are also a team which can’t be seen too often at European shows. And also the Polish team Iskry -with their ancient looking TS-11 planes- is not a regular show participant in this part of Europe. The other three teams, Patrouille de France, the Red Arrows and the Turkish Stars are the usual suspects in the European show season. Besides all the demo teams, there were also solo performances from, amongst others, a Belgian C-130, a Swiss F/A-18, a RAF Hawk and the orange Dutch solo F-16.