Annual Dutch Airshow with an impressive line-up

After a few years of absence, this year’s Dutch airshow was back at Leeuwarden AB.
Normally the Dutch airshow takes places in the month of June, but this year’s edition was held mid-September. On a sunny Thursday 15 September, the participating aircraft arrived at Leeuwarden, witnessed by around 400 invited enthusiasts and members of the press. On Friday 16 September the air base opened its gates for the public. On again a sunny day, around 50.000 people visited Leeuwarden AB. This number of visitors was almost tripled on Saturday, when 132.000 people found their way to the airshow.

Budget cuts
The motto of the airshow was “De toekomst hangt in de lucht”, which means something like ‘the future is in the air’. With this slogan, the Dutch air force wanted to state that despite budget cuts the air force still has a bright future ahead. One of the consequences of the budget cuts is that after this year there will only be two airshows in every three years. 2012 will see no Dutch airshow.

The line-up that the organization managed to put together was really impressive. There were four demo teams: the Red Arrows, Patrouille de France, the Royal Jordanian Falcons and the Red Devils. The Royal Netherlands Air Force of course performed its popular Power Demo at both days. And what to think about six flying Hawker Hunters on one day! Besides the demo teams there were lots of other interesting planes present at the airshow. For example, the USAF. The last few years, the USAF is not a certainty anymore at airshows, but at Leeuwarden they were present with two F-16s from Aviano and two F-15s from Lakenheath. Other rare visitors were two Finnish F-18s and the Polish Air Force came with some Russian history; a Su-22 Sukhoi and a MiG-29 Fulcrum. And that was only a small number of participants. The RAF, Turkish Air Force, German Air Force, Belgian Air Force, and Italian Air Force also sent one or more aircraft types to Leeuwarden. This was certainly one the best air shows on Dutch soil in the last few years.