Volkel AB Airshow 2009: the AVRO Vulcan back in the Dutch skies

Just as in 2007, the Royal Netherlands Air Force days of 2009 were staged at Volkel Air Base. The show commemorated 100 years of aviation in The Netherlands. On 19 and 20 June, the base opened its gates for a massive crowd. 75.000 people on Friday and almost 150.000 on Saturday. Although it was rather cold for the time of year, there was no rain and, on both days, we saw sunny spells.

On the ground
The static show included a lot of civil aircraft, but of course also military jets and helicopters. Jets on display were a Dutch F-16, a French Mirage 2000D from Nancy, two Spangdahlem A-10s, a Greek F-16D from Larissa AB, a Tornado from the Royal Air Force and two Austrian Saab 105s. Most surprisingly, there were also a lot of large transport planes on the static. For example, a C-17A and a KC-135R from the US Air Force, a French and Turkish Transall, a Slovakian An.26 and a Moroccan Air Force CN.235.

In the air
The airshow started around 10AM on both days and saw a wide variety of aircraft. The audience was kept busy for the entire day. Solo displays from both civil and military airplanes, including the Austrian Saab 105, the RAF Hawk and the French Alpha Jet. And of course, the ‘real’ jets, like the orange Dutch demo F-16, a Spanish EF-18A, a RAF Typhoon with No.3 squadron markings (which performed only on Friday) and the impressive Polish MiG-29UB. On both days, the Royal Netherlands Air Force also performed an airpower demo, which included 3 AH-64s, 2 AS532s, a CH-47, 15 F-16s and a KDC-10. Foreign participating demo teams were the Royal Jordanian Falcons, Patrulla Aquilla, Patrouille de France, Marche Verte, Turkish Stars and the Red Arrows.

The Mighty Avro Vulcan
One of the highlights of the show certainly was the attendance of British Avro Vulcan XH-558, which flew on Friday and Saturday. Bomber Vulcan XH558 was one of the 136 Vulcans build for the RAF and was delivered in 1960. In 1984, it was withdrawn from active duty and it continued with the RAF’s Vulcan Display Flight, which was disbanded in 1992. The aircraft was sold and ground-based displayed in Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome in Leicestershire until 1999. Public donations and a lottery put in a public trust, made that the XH558 was restored to airworthy conditions. After years of restoring, the XH558 returned to flight on 18 October 2007. Unfortunately, the costs of keeping it flying were so high, which led to the decision to stop flying the XH558 in 2015.