Blue Angels and Fat Albert shine at Leeuwarden Airshow

Over 200.000 people visited the annual Royal Netherlands Air Force airshow at Leeuwarden Air Base which was held on Friday 16 June and Saturday 17 June 2006. The weather conditions were very different over the two days. Where het visitors on Friday had the misfortune of cloudy and rather dull weather conditions, the visitors on Saturday were treated with beautiful sunny weather.

The participants
The organization managed to get a large number of demo-teams to attend this year’s Dutch airshow.
The following teams were present at Leeuwarden: Team Asus de Portugal with their Alpha Jets, Patrouille de France with Alpha Jets, Patrouille Suisse with the F-5 Tiger, the Royal Jordanian Falcons with their Extra 300s, the Finnish Hawks with the Hawk, the Red Arrows with their Hawks and of course the famous Blue Angels with their F/A-18 Hornets. It was the only appearance outside the US for the Angels in 2006. The Red Arrows only attended the Friday show, but on that occasion the Hawks flew in close formation with the F/A-18As of the Blue Angels. For many people the best part of the show was the demo of Fat Albert, the C-130 that supports the Blue Angels. The start with the JATO (Jet Assisted Take-Off Bottles) was overwhelming and so was its short tactical landing.

The usual power demo of the Royal Netherlands Air Force could unfortunately not be held due to Dutch Operational Commitments over Afghanistan. There was however a mock airfield attack performed by a number of Dutch F-16s. A rare performer in the airshow was a F-15E Strike Eagle. The crew belonged to the Strike Eagle Demo team from Seymour Johnson AFB, NC, USA. For this demo, the team “borrowed” a Strike Eagle from the 492nd FS at RAF Lakenheath, UK, for their European display debut. Something completely different, but nevertheless fun to watch, was the flyby of Christian Moullec in his ultralight plane. He was accompanied by a flock of geese that flew in a precise formation next to him.