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Falcon Leap
Latest update: October 2018
Falcon Leap is an exercise organized by the 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade (11 LMB - 11 Air Mobile Brigade) Royal Netherlands Army for its own and colleague NATO airborne (paratroop) units. The exercise is concluded by the annual WWII Operation Market Garden commemoration jumps held on the third Saturday of September *. 11 LMB organized the first Falcon Leap in 2015. Jumps are made from transport aircraft which are based at RNLAF Eindhoven Air Base.

*: in 2018 the fourth Saturday of September

Participating transport aircraft:

Country Aircraft 2018 2017 2016 2015
Belgium C-130H Yes No No Yes
Germany C-160D No Yes Yes Yes
Netherlands C-130H(.30) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Poland C-295M Yes Yes Yes No
United States C-130H Yes No No No
United States C-130J No Yes Yes No

Falcon Leap 2019: Except the fifth year anniversary of the Falcon Leap exercise it will also mark the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden (commemoration jumps on Saturday September 21). Therefore more aircraft are expected to participate in one of both events. The 2019 aircraft participants will be updated when they are confirmed.

Air Forces Monthly covered exercise Falcon Leap 2017 in issue 357, December 2017. The full article can also be read here:

Article Falcon Leap 2017

An article about Falcon Leap 2018 will be published here by the end of 2018.
Falcon Leap 2018 Falcon Leap 2017 Falcon Leap 2016
Falcon Leap 2015    
Exercise Falcon Leap
Exercise Falcon Leap is an international exercise for paratroopers organized by Koninklijke Landmacht (Royal Netherlands Army – RNLA) 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade Air Assault  “7 december” (11LMB - 11 Air Mobile Brigade).

In 2015 the first edition of Falcon Leap was organized. Until then paratroopers from NATO countries flew in for one day to take part in the WWII Operation Market Garden commemoration para jumps at the Ginkelse heide held annually on the third Saturday of September (in 2018 the fourth Saturday). Falcon Leap provides the participating paratroopers three days of training with their colleagues from other countries concluded by the Market Garden commemoration jumps.

For exercise Falcon Leap two drop zones can be used at the Veluwe region. The Houtdorperveld (between the villages of Ermelo and Garderen along the N302) and Ginkelse heide (city of Ede along the N224). A third drop zone is availabe at
military aviation terrain Deelen. Drops at the first two locations are made with the 'round' parachutes, jumos at MLT Deelen are made with the Military Free Fall (MFF) chutes.

"Round" Military Free Fall "Square"

Para drops at Houtdorperveld and Ginkelse heide can be viewed. Please take note of instructions given by personnel to ensure the safety of both viewers and paratroopers. MLT Deelen isn't accessible for public viewing.
Forbidden access sign marking a boundery of the drop zone at the Ginkelse heide.

The Ginkelse heide was used in 2018 (three missions per day scheduled). In the period from 2015 until 2017 below jump schedule was used:

Day Drop zone Exercise
Wednesday Houtdorperveld Falcon Leap
Thursday Ginkelse heide Falcon Leap
Friday Houtdorperveld Falcon Leap
Saturday Ginkelse heide Market Garden

Transport aircraft

The participating transport aircraft are based at Eindhoven Air Base. Paratroopers board the aircraft which then depart to the drop zones where they will be assigned to a holding track. When called in for the jumps the first run can be a dry run with no para's being dropped. When the para's are dropped runs over the drops zones are made until all para's have departed the aircraft which depending on the number of paratroopers in an aircraft can lead to three or four runs. The formation then returns to Eindhoven where to pick up the next group of para's. Depending on the allocated time slot and the weather at both Eindhoven and the drop zone three missions per day can be flown.
Falcon Leap participants photogallery
Belgium C-130H Hercules Germany C-160D Transall Netherlands C-130H Hercules
Poland C-295M  United States C-130J.30