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Year review 2016
Latest update: December 2016
Below you will find a selection of photos representing the military aviation year 2016. Except the months April and September each month will be covered by three photos.
Best of 2016
131st FS MA ANG F-15C Eagle on take-off during a Frisian Flag mission at Leeuwarden AB. Only one place to pick for the F-35 tour over The Netherlands: F-35A 'F-001/OT' at Soesterberg. A sling load exercise took place at the Ginkelse heide with one CH-47D tasked to ferry loads to the Edense heide. 
During the first half year of 2016 The Netherlands was chairman of the European Union. Especially during January and February EU military VIP aircraft visited Schiphol.

January 26th saw the arrival at Schiphol of two Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16s from 322 squadron based at Leeuwarden. Both conducted an exercise aimed to test and validate procedures of QRA aircraft having to divert into Schiphol should that need occur. More information (article) and photographs can be found here: Royal-Netherlands-Air-Force-F-16s-land-at-Schiphol
Greek Air Force ERJ-135BJ. Spanish Air Force Falcon 900. RNLAF F-16AM taxiing at Schiphol.
The first day of February started with exercise "Frostfire" conducted by the 11th Air Manoeuvre Brigade. Schiphol was visited again by EU VIP aircraft bringing delegations to the several meetings held. A port visit was made by two Spanish navy and one Royal navy ships all three carrier helicopters but only the Spanish Sea King and Sea Hawk 'on deck'. Unfortunately the ships were not open for the public.
Spanish Navy SH-3H Sea King. Nightshot of the Polish Air Force C-295M.  Swedish Gulfstream (Tp.102C)
In March the king of Morocco paid an unofficial visit which resulted in four Moroccan Air Force Hercules and a Gulfstream at Rotterdam, Schiphol or both airports. Eindhoven Air Base received a special visitor with a Royal Jordanian Air Force Il-76MF arriving. A US Navy C-40A visited Rotterdam.
Almost touch down for the Royal Jordanian Il-76.  Visits of US Navy C-40s to the Netherlands are rare. One of the four Moroccan C-130s was a KC-130H tanker (photo at Rotterdam).
Two major exercises were conducted in April: Frisian Flag for fighter pilots operating from Leeuwarden Air Base and the  European Air Refuelling Training exercise for the Air-to-Air refuelling community operating from Eindhoven AB. For the second year in a row the USAF send F-15 Eagles from the Air National Guard composed of two squadrons. The detachment started their European Reasssurance Initiative (Atlantic Resolve) deployment at Iceland and Leeuwarden.

With Volkel AB F-16s taking part at Frisian Flag as well as personnel deployed in the Middle East the Air Base and Spotting Group Volkel organized a spottersday to photograph the F-16s assigned to Project Afstoting F-16 which are stored at the air base. These F-16s are sold to the Jordan Air Force and are awaiting delivery. A total of 19 F-16s were towed to the Safaripark flightline.

April 21st was a busy day at Eindhoven. Except the EART exercise the base hosted a German delegation including cancellor Merkel who arrived with an A319. The Heavy Airlift Wing based at Papa, Hungary regular visits with one of its three C-17As and a French Air Force A340 also arrived.
Eagle of the California ANG 194th FS, 144th FW landing at Leeuwarden. Italian Air Force KC-767A departing Eindhoven during an EART mission.  F-16 photoshoot held at Volkel Air Base April 13.
Annualy on May 4th during dodenherdenking (Remembrance Day) the Royal Netherlands Air Force conducts a missing man formation over former Soesterberg Air Base. The next day (Liberation Day) the Defense Helicopter Command supports artists performing at several stages in the country by transporting them with helicopters. This the Cougar and NH90 were tasked.
Receiving the most media coverage was the deployment of both the RNLAF F-35A Lightning IIs to the Netherlands. Flown from Edwards AFB, California to Leeuwarden the 'Belevingsvluchten' were executed on May 26th at Leeuwarden and Volkel Air Bases.
Volkel F-16s performing the missing man formation at Soesterberg.

The NH90-NFH about to lift off at Haarlem to continue its journey.

First visit of the F-35A at Volkel. F-002/OT on approach runway 24R during the afternoon of May 26th.
In June the F-35 story continued with one of the aircraft and a photoship F-16 overflying several (RNLAF) landmarks. Soesterberg was one of these locations being the first military aviation air base in The Netherlands. The base closed in 2008 and now houses the National Military Museum which incorporates the preserved aircraft from the former aviation museum. As the military aviation hobby started at Soesterberg it should of course be the location for a F-35 photo and with the other aircraft compared to 'belevingsvluchten' flying it became a first photographed Lightning II at Soesty.

Before heading 'home' both aircraft participated at the Luchtmachtdagen - Air Power Demo.
More information (article) and photographs can be found here: Royal Netherlands Air Force F35 to The Netherlands May/June 2016.

As with each air show held it's mandatory to fly the display prior to the actual show(s). During the acceptance display of Patrouille Swiss two of the teams F-5Es collided in mid air resulting in the crash of one aircraft. The other could safely recover at Leeuwarden. Two Italian Air Force M-346s made their debut at LMD 16. Currently the RNLAF has one instructor and two student pilot assigned to the 61st Wing.

The USAF has a number of C-12 aircraft assigned to support its embassies throughout the world. One of these is based in Budapest. Hungary and made a short visit to Schiphol.
The unfortunate Patrouille Suisse F-5E 'J-3086' on arrival at Leeuwarden.
Rehearsal of the display with the formation just before the mid-air collision.  Although damaged the 'J-3088' made a safe emergency landing.
US Embassy flight C-12C departing Schiphol runway 04. 
After the first date was cancelled the Lightning and F-16 photoship turn towards former runway 13.  
A German Air Force excercise brought three CH-53s to De Kooy.  Volkel hosted two German Army BO-105s (withdrawn from use in November 2016) and the Polish Air Force Orlik team on their way home after taking part at RIAT 2016 and Schiphol saw a visit of a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-150.
One of the three CH-53s on approach to De Kooy The Polish Air Force Orlik display team made a refuel stop at Volkel. Good-bye Bolkow. Special colored German Army BO-105P departs Volkel.
An USAF C-17A visited Schiphol and RNLAF F-16s returned to Schiphol as well in August. This time the real QRA which escorted the Olympic team in the KLM special orange colored B-767. Italian Air Force Eurofighters are 'regular' visitors with a pair arriving ar Volkel on the 31st.
The first of two C-17s to visit Schiphol in 2016, 437th AW Charleston AFB, SC.
The Dutch Olympic team was welcomed by the RNLAF QRA and escorted towards runway 27. The second Italian Air Force Eurofighter about to touch down at Volkel.
After an absence of four years GRAS (Gilze-Rijen Aviation Society) and the Defense Helicopter Command organized a spottersday. With winds from the East runway 10 was in use. More information (article) and photographs can be found here: Royal Netherlands Air Force Spottersdag Gilze-Rijen 7 september 2016

In September Eindhoven AB always serves as host to the annual Market Garden commemoration participants. Since 2015 the Air Mobile Brigade organises exercise Falcon Leap prior to the MG drops at the Ginkelse Heide on Saturday the paratroopers of the brigade together with their international colleagues paradrops (weather permitting) are executed at the Houtdorperveld and Ginkelse heide. More information (article) and photographs can be found here: Falcon Leap and Market Garden 2016

Former German Air Force C-160D Transall 50+95 is now preserved at Eindhoven AB infront of the European Air Transport Command building. On September 12th after a fly-by it landed for the final time. At the same day another German Air Force visited as well as a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-150 Polaris and a Portuguese C-130H.30 Hercules sporting anniversary markings.

At the end of the month Volkel AB together with their colleagues at Kleine-Brogel, Belgium hosted the first phase of exercise Cold Igloo. The Italian Air Force Tornadoes went to Volkel as well as Strike Eagles from RAF Lakenheath.

The French Army aviation operates five Pilatus PC-6 aircraft with one of those visiting Rotterdam.
'50+95' last flight from Hohn Air base (Northern Germany) to Eindhoven. The Royal Canadian Air Force operates five CC-150 (A310) aircraft. Final visitor of the day a stretched Portuguese Air Force Hercules.
  French Army PC-6 taxiing for departure at Rotterdam.   
Another 11th Air Manoeuvre Brigade exercise was conducted in the first to weeks of October. The province of Zeeland and the Veluwe region were used. Taking part during the exercise were German army NH90-TTHs and Tigers. The first operated out of Gilze-Rijen the later arrived in the morning from their home base flew their mission(s) and departed back.
Of the DHC helicopters Cougar 'S-444' returned to service earlier in 2016. All these helicopters were planned to have been withdrawn from use. However due to the need of helicopter transport capacity as well as the NH90 delivery delays and the retrofit program of the first delivered NH90s the Cougars will remain in service until 2022. 12 of the 17 Cougars are assigned to 300 Squadron.

Schiphol saw two visitors, a French Navy Xingu and RAF BAe-146. Except the two VIP aircraft operated by 32 (TR) Squadron they are assigned two aircraft purchased a few years ago for service in Afghanistan. Both aircraft received upgrades to conduct their support operations in theatre.

Both Volkel and Kleine-Brogel hosted the second phase of exercise Cold Igloo. Except the return of the Strike Eagles and Tornado's during the first week also Greek Air Force F-16s participated.
The German Army NH90s made a short turn on approach due to other inbound helicopter traffic. The good weather (see Cougar) was already gone. Cougar S-444 returning from the morning mission to the Veluwe area. It joined the active Cougar fleet in 2016 after a period of storage at its home base Gilze-Rijen. In 2016 the RAF 32 (The Royal) Squadron BAe-146s made several visits to Schiphol. The VIP aircraft are in the white color schemes with the 'new' ones being grey.
November kicked off with a visit of a Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster III. It arrived from the USA and remained overnight before continuing its journey back to down under.

At the end of the month 298 Squadron (CH-47D/F) conducted a sling exercise on the Ginkelse- and Edense heide. A single Chinook was tasked to move nine loads from the Ginkelse heide to the Edense heide.
The second C-17A to visit Schiphol came from down under. RAAF C-17A sitting on the apron of Schiphol Mission completed and heading back home for the RNLAF 298 Squadron CH-47D Chinook. First mission of day two at the Ginkelse heide with the Chinook (CH-47D) approaching the awaiting sling loads.
Unfortunately no aviation photos in December.