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Military Aviation Photography@DULMEN.net

Military Aviation Photography
From 1983 to my time in military service in 1991 I could frequently be found at the fences of Leeuwarden airbase spotting and photographing the military aircrafts. I was drawn by the raw power these machines contain in a relatively small body (couldn't care less about the weaponry they could carry).
I grew up in Franeker which lies in the line of approach from runway 05 and I often saw and heard :) the F-104G Starfighters flying low over town. By the time I was old enough to visit the airbase the Starfighters where already replaced by the F-16 but there was still one used for target towing and sometimes one visited from Volkel airbase or a foreign air force. Maybe because of my nostalgic memories the F-104 is my all-time favourite jet fighter:
 

 
After almost 30 years I started visiting Leeuwarden airbase again. Photographing the aircrafts with my modern camera gear. The results were overwhelmingly better than in my younger years that I wish a had the same quality equipment back then. I would of have had great shots of Starfighters, Phantoms, Lightnings, Tornado's, F-111's etc. etc.

Below you can find several links to the results of my recent trips and older events I visited in the past. I'm working on digitizing my slides and negatives (and trying to put a date on them). The tolerable results can be found at the bottom of this page.
 
My Favourites Special edits (Photomatix)
 
2022-04-06 Frisian Flag - Day 10
At home the rain fell in torrents but looking at buienradar.nl it seemed to be very local. And, most importantly, around Leeuwarden the weather looked good. A good prospect for the last day of the Frisian Flag exercise. I parked the car just outside Marsum because there was a warning that parking was not possible or possible to a limited extent near the spotters bump. Finally I could now try out the specially purchased folding bike.
The start of the morning wave was great. Many participants took the bend around Marsum, which significantly increases the chance of good photos. The beautiful clouds and sufficient sun also helped a lot.
Then traveled to Jelsum to await the return. This also resulted in beautiful pictures and I got another chance to use the folding bike when an Italian C-130 Hercules unexpectedly entered runway 27. This was also a success and the folding bike may now be part of my standard spotters equipment.
In the afternoon the latest F-35 was delivered (F-026) from the factory in Cameri Italy and the materials and personnel of the French delegation were collected by an Airbus A400M.
All in all a busy, enjoyable day with many other aviation enthusiasts.
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2022-04-06 Frisian Flag - Day 8
Day 8 of the Frisian Flag exercise in Leeuwarden. Day 6 I was doing a parking squad shift again and day 7 my shoes were still soaked from the rain. The weather this second week has been lousy and it won't get much better until the weekend.
Still I wanted to take some banking pictures so I went to Marsum this afternoon. I parked my car in the mud and walked to where I thought I could get the best pictures. Getting my camera ready I was nearly blown away by the wind, so as a precaution I removed the hood from the 200-500mm lens not to catch so much wind when tracking the jets.
Yet the results are still poor. Although it wasn't raining at the time, the wind, the lack of light and the fact that most of the jets took off straight without banking made it difficult to get good photos.
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2022-04-01 Frisian Flag - Day 5
Day 5 of the Frisian Flag exercise in Leeuwarden. Yesterday morning I was busy doing parking squad duties again and the weather was so bad that I left right after the end of the shift (after being soaked from the rain).
This morning there was a thin layer of snow over the fields which gives a completely different aspect to the light, as any photography enthusiast will know. I traveled late on purpose as I was not interested in the departure of the jets. I wanted to take some pictures of their return just before they hit the runway.
And I was not disappointed with the results. The snow acted as a giant reflective screen illuminating the underside of the jets and the sun was scattered by a thin cloud base, resulting in a nice even illumination. The results almost look like they've been manipulated as such, but I just used my normal editing routine.
After the first wave I left Marsum and went to Jelsum to make some take-off shots. Unfortunately, most of the jets were way too high, only the CF-118s were in range. But I was lucky, the participating helicopters left via runway 05 instead of the 09 they had used the previous days.
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2022-03-30 Frisian Flag - Day 3
Third day of the Frisian Flag excercise at Leeuwarden. Today the weather would change to more winter conditions but although a cold wind from the nort east it was a mix between cloudy and sunny.
The excercise went on repeating more or less the same flights as the day before but just after noon 2 new Eurofighters from Italy arrived and a few hours later the other 2 left to head back home.
I tried to get some shots from a different location getting more or less the same view/background as 35 to 40 years ago but most where so overwelmed with heat haze that they where completely unusable. Also this spot was lateron marked as forbidden area as some people manipulated the barbed wire of the fencing to get a unuobstructed view :(
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2022-03-29 Frisian Flag - Day 2
Second day of the Frisian Flag excercise at Leeuwarden. I was doing parking-squad duties from 7:00 to 12:00 but after 10:00 most people already arrived and had some time to shoot pictures from the parking area. These are easy recognizable because of the lower angle of view due to the parking being further away from the runway then my usual spots.
The morning started grey with almost no wind. Later the wind came up which made it very cold but also brought more openings in the clouds and around 13:30 the clouds disapeared mostly.
Some interresting visitors today next to the Frisian Flag participators. Highlight where the two Leakenheath F-35's which I managed to shoot from the parking area.
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2022-03-28 Frisian Flag - Day 1
First day of the Frisian Flag excercise at Leeuwarden. Sadly the weather is not that good and will not get much better today. That didn't stop many people from coming to watch, it is as expected overly crowded at the spottersbult and all around.
The one Mirage 2000 that I missed last friday due to a memory card failure was one of the first to hit the runway but sadly it had to cancel its flight due to some issue. Hope we will see it again the comming days because my pictures of it are terrible.
Not all participators have flown. E.g. the Canadian CF-118's only flew a two ship mission at the end of the morning. But the USAF F-16's did quite a lot, 10 out of the 12 showed up during the day.
During the break MEDIC01 did some excercises on runway 05 which was a nice pastime. After the return of the jets in the afternoon a TBM-700 from France, a C-130 from the USAF and a C-295 from Poland landed just before I left.
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2022-03-25 Frisian Flag - Arrivals
Aah, two weeks off. Specially planned for the Frisian Flag excercise at Leeuwarden. Today is the friday before it all starts. Some of the participators have arrived the day before but now the rest will attend.
It started around noon with 5 French Mirage 2000's followed directly with 3 Rafale's from the French navy. 40 Minutes later 2 Italian Tornado's (my favorite) and after an hour waiting followed by 2 Italian Eurofighters. Directly after that 4 F-16's from Volkel came in and 2 Canadian F-18 Hornets.
In total 6 Hornets will attend the excersise but their arrival at Leeuwarden is a bit scattered due to some mechanical issues after crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
Now the waiting started ... Will the last Hornet arrive today ? And what about the Volkel F-16's ? Only 4 arrived until now ...
Just over 15:00 a message was posted on the Scramble message board that the last F-18 had left the stopover, Prestwick airfield in Ireland. We just had to wait a little longer. It arrived just 40 minutes later after a few touch and go's just as the other 2 had done before.
Around 16:20 the last F-16's from Volkel arrived but at that time the sun has turned so far that taking a good picture was almost impossible.
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2022-01-12 New deliveries
Today the delivery of the F-023 and F-024 was scheduled but is was foggy, very foggy. Nevertheless I took the afternoon off and travelled to Leeuwarden. Just a few kilometers from Leeuwarden the fog suddenly disappeared leaving an almost blue sky.
I arrived way too early, it seemed the arrival of the new fighters was not due until 15:00. Because this week night flying is scheduled for EHLW there where no movements until they pulled the F-019 out of its shelter. We could witness the flight preparations because this shelter is closest to the edge of the field.
A total of 4 F-35's took of for their mission just before the arrival of the new deliveries around 15:45. At this time in the afternoon and during winter the sun is very low and almost directly ahead of the runway. This results in a nice different glow and color on the fighters. Now lit from below and almost brown.
On my way back home the fog was still there just below Leeuwarden. I was very lucky (and a lot others with me).
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2021-10-07 WIC exams 4
Last full day of the WIC exams. I was lucky to be able to be do a another visit although I was too late for the morning take-off. I did go to Marsum nevertheless and witnessed the return of the fighters from there. This isn't the best spot because of all the heat waves.
In the afternoon I got much better shots at this spot from the take-off. After which I travelled to the other side of the field again at my new favorite spot where it isn't that crowded and you don't have to fight to get a good shot.
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2021-10-01 WIC exams 3, On base
The day before after leaving Leeuwarden I found a message in my mailbox that I was drawn for a visit on the Leeuwarden airbase. Apart from the open days I haven't been on the airbase since 1986 so I was pretty excited. These visits give a great opportunity to see, feel and photograph the operations on the airbase up close.
And I didn't get disappointed, standing only about 40m from the runway it felt like being able to touch the jets. And although it was clouded, cold and windy I had a great time.

I was a bit struggling to select the correct lens for this distance because I wanted to shoot departing jets from behind to get a good look at the afterburners. This would mean using the 200-500mm zoom lens. But this lens did not allow to shoot the jets up close as a whole. That's why there are pretty much close up shots of cockpits in the beginning of the series.
Later I switched to the 70-200mm zoom lens (at first with the 1.4x teleconverter) to do the landing pictures. All-in-all a great morning with some very nice photographic results :)
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2021-09-30 WIC exams 2
My second visit to the WIC exams. The fourth day for the participating pilots. The weather was much better than during my first visit at least in the morning.
First I went to Marsum to do some take-off shots and I got some great shots of several types of jets. After all were in the air I travelled to Jelsum for the landing shots. I tried a bit different spot that is less noisy than directly next to the busy road. My 200-500mm zoom lens now allows this due to having more reach.
Thanks this new spot and the semi clouded sky I was able to get some really nice results.
In the afternoon I repeated this exercise with a bit less success due to the weather becoming more and more grey. But this doesn't matter because a little surprise was waiting in my mailbox...
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2021-09-27 WIC exams 1
The first day of the WIC exams. The participators should now show what they have learned and practiced the last couple of months. For this 6 German Eurofighters and 6 German Tornados are temporary stationed at Leeuwarden.
I am especially interested in the Tornados and I'm hoping to get enough opportunity to see and photograph them the coming 2 weeks.
Today I was able to witness the return of the afternoon missions including 2 of the Tornados and 4 of the Eurofighters. And although the weather was again grey with at one point a little rain I am glad I was able to be there.
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2021-09-16 Birdhit
Third morning this week at EHLW. Yesterday the weather was to lousy but today although a bit grey at first it seems promising. The wind was now mostly from the west so runway 23 was in use.
I first went to Marsum to take pictures from the take-off but it was a bit too dark still. I did see the 2 Spangdahlem F-16's take-off that I was still missing. In total 10 F-16's and 6 F-35's flew a mission this morning.
The Belgium F-16 FA-132 returned soon after I arrived at Jelsum having "fumes in the cockpit". And I got a nice timed shot of a Norwegian F-35 having a birdhit on landing. It seems it hit a dove with its left main under carriage resulting in a bunch of feathers scattered behind the jet. The pilot could never of have prevented this and must of have been shocked by the sudden flock of doves at the beginning of the runway. He aborted his landing and made a second attempt, this time with more success.
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2021-09-13 More Spangdahlem F-16's
Another morning trying to get some shots of the Spangdahlem F-16's. The weather was a lot less grey so it was pretty crowded on the spottersbult. I decided to use my folding stool to stand directly next to the fence.
The USAF pilots took a wrong turn to the runway resulting in a short backtrack. As the sun was shining this was perfect to take some shots otherwise I would of have a lot of backlight.
On return this one cloud was blocking the sun of course but nevertheless some great shots today.
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2021-09-12 Spangdahlem F-16's
This week 6 USAF F-16 from the 52FW/480FS located at Spangdahlem Germany are operating from Leeuwarden for a "short-notice Agile Combat Employment". They flew missions with the WIC participants from Belgium, Norway and the Netherlands.
I had taken this into account a bit by scheduling myself for late shifts so I could go to Leeuwarden at least for the morning missions.
Of course the weather was grey again but I was able to shoot 4 of them.
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2021-08-31 More Norwegian F-35's
A bit grey again today but nevertheless another visit to EHLW. And again lucky today in respect to the Norwegian F-35's. I was able to photograph the other three that are staying at Leeuwarden at the moment.
One of the Norwegian pilots kept on mistaking his callsign and after return the control tower bitched: "For the last time, your call sign is Pain1 !" Mostly they use Panther.
The J-514 was approaching the runway after its morning mission with its wheels up. This was on request of the control tower to test the alertness of the LCB who warned the pilot with red flares.
Early afternoon the latest F-35 for 322 sqn (F-019) came in from Italy first doing a low approach retracting its wheels right in front of the spotters.
Another mistake by a Norwegian pilot flying in a Dutch F-35 (F-010) was taking the wrong exit from the runway. He should of taken the left exit but went to the right where the Norwegian F-35's are staying. This resulted in a trip around the airbase to get to the other side again and an additional opportunity for me to shoot the jet on the runway.
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2021-08-26 Norwegian F-35's
I really wanted to see the Norwegian F-35's so again tried my luck today. And yes ! Today 2 of the 5 staying at EHLW flew missions in the morning and afternoon. Especially the afternoon gave a splendid opportunity to make some great shots on the runway because the pilots rotate the jets in a way not to put any other jet in its exhaust to prevent damage by blowing debris.
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2021-08-23 Old and new
It's my second planned two week vacation this year and the WIC on EHLW continues with 5 Norwegian F-35's. Naturally I hoped on seeing them today but they didn't fly today, maybe because of a long weekend for the pilots.
Instead we were surprised by two flights of the Hawker Hunter N-294 which was making test flights for its appearance on several open days.
And next to the daily WIC missions the J-008 from Volkel made a low approach which delivered some nice shots of the F-16 retracting its wheels. Strangely enough it kept its air breaks open although it was speeding up.
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2021-08-02 Short visit
A very short visit to EHLW. I was just in time to witness the last few fighters returning from the morning mission and had to leave before the afternoon mission. But I did see the last operational F-16 leave Leeuwarden. This was the J-066 from "Kantoor Testvliegen" that will operate from Volkel from now on.
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2021-07-08 New lens testing
As it's my first planned two week vacation this year I hoped on being able to visit EHLW with a little better weather than the last couple of weeks to test my brand new Nikkor 200-500mm zoom lens.
Today was the day to go, and I did not get disappointed. The day started with the take-off of two C-130's of which one was lent from the USAF. The WIC fighters flew combined with the local F-35's and the C-130 G-988 came in.
During midday one of the QRA F-16's from Volkel came in with a precaution landing and the other did a low pass to ensure his buddy had safely landed.
In the afternoon almost the same schedule but with only one C-130 flying a WIC mission.
The results with the new lens are promising but I do have to get used to the weight and size. And it does seem my old Nikon D7200's auto-focus isn't fast enough to track the fighters during take-off or landing.
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2021-07-05 Goodbye F-16
Today the last F-16's from the 322 squadron are leaving EHLW. From now on EHLW will only house the F-35's. A bit of a sad day.
The departure of the F-16's was postponed from July 1st to today because of the ground accident with the Belgian F-16 FA130 last week where the pilot had to eject and got wounded. This was also the cause of the happening being toned down.
I didn't witness the arrival of the first F-16's (this was a few years before my first visits to EHLW in the 80's) but I sure didn't want to miss the departure. Having other obligations today I had to drag my partner with me which she didn't mind that much although she couldn't care less about jet fighters :).
The last four 322 squadron F-16's did taxi around the base before their take-off and did a formation fly-by afterwards. That's all, but I still was happy to have witnessed it.
In the afternoon operations where back to normal for the WIC, this week accompanied by C-130's. Today the G-273 flew a mission which gave some nice shots from the take-off with condense from the propellor tips.
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2021-06-24 A morning WIC
Another morning with more or less the same flight schedule as the day before. The weather was slightly better with the clouds being a bit thinner. I noticed that the light confused the camera a little getting the correct white balance in the early shots which I could reduce during post processing and again the mainly white sky was a challenge not to blow.
Also the bird condition was critical again (or still) which resulted in another set of spectacular take-offs.
The Belgian F-16 FA129 came back early from its WIC mission with an emergency having a small fuel leak.
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2021-06-23 A morning WIC
A week of filling in a late shifts at work gave the opportunity to visit EHLW a few times. A slightly overcast sky is always a challenge to balance the camera lighting not to blow out the sky and still get the subjects well exposure. Luckily I could correct a little in the post processing of the images.
This morning the WIC flew a sortie with 8 F-16's and later on 2 local F-16's and F-35's flew a mission. The bird condition was critical which resulted in spectacular take-offs where even the F-35's used their afterburners which they normally never do.
The Belgian F-16 FA107 came in as an addition to the WIC fighters.
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2021-06-11 Friday morning
Filling in a late shift at work I had another morning available to visit EHLW. As expected the WIC and local F-16's didn't fly. Just 2 F-35's flew a mission and that was all.
The F-016 took of rather spectacular flying low and turning to the left early. This resulted in some nice shots.
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2021-06-07 A morning WIC
Again the first wave started very early but I was in time to see them all return. I didn't have much time today as I was for different reasons in Leeuwarden but was able to witness the take-off and landing of the second wave that was flown by the local F-16's and F-35's.
Weather was again perfect and for the landings I went a bit further to the head of runway 05 just like I did last time which gives a more or less same position as being at the other end at Jelsum.
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2021-06-02 Colourful and WIC
The missions for the Weapons Instructors Course (WIC) have started. Today the first wave started so early I was just in time to see the two F-35's return. After that 3 more waves followed and in between again the C-130 Hercules G-781.
The Belgian and Volkel F-16's that are temporary at Leeuwarden for the WIC, the G-781 and the full colour local F-16's combined with an almost cloudless sky resulted in a lot of great pictures. And I wasn't the only one who took the opportunity, the spottersbult was very crowded. So crowded that I was glad I brought a little stairs to be able to shoot right at the fence.
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2021-05-19 The G-781 and more again
Another good day at EHLW. More or less the same weather and flight schedule as the day before. Only the C-130 G-781 performed 4 low approaches and the J-021 from Volkel came in with an unreleased bomb.
Just as the day before the clouds increased in the afternoon which yielded some nice shots against a dark blueish/grey background.
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2021-05-19 The G-781 and more
Good day to pay a visit to EHLW. Nice cloud formations and lots of sun especially in the morning. A whopping 8 jets flew a mission during the first shift including the dual seater J-066 and its companion the J-055 from Volkel.
The C-130 Hercules G-781 was circling de Kooy late in the morning and early afternoon it decided to do a few low approaches on Leeuwarden before returning to Eindhoven. I was just in time to take a few good shots during its last approach with just the last sun of the day.
The return of the afternoon missions where in heavily clouded circumstances although the sun was shining in the north. Having a very bright background makes the jets very dark but I still got a reasonable shot of the J-144 which has a recently painted full colour 323 sqn marking and Frisian flag ribbon on its tail.
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2021-04-15 Departure of the J-511
Because of the weekend work lately I had some days off. Good opportunity for an afternoon spotting. The wind came from the north-east so runway 05 was in use. I first went to Jelsum to take some banking shots.
Afterwards I drove to Marsum where it was pretty crowded with spotters. Maybe they all hoped on visitors because of the exercise "Deviant Dragon" which is going on this and next week. But no such luck :(.
Highlight of the afternoon was the departure of the J-511 which flew its last flight to Volkel. Just before take-off the pilot requested to make "a low approach for the spotters" which was granted. Low and fast over the runway resulted in some great shots of an almost clean F-16.
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2021-03-29 Short Visit
This afternoon I paid a very short visit to EHLW although the weather was pretty bad. I had to be in Leeuwarden anyway and had some time to spare.
Two F-35's and two F-16's flew a short mission of about 40 minutes. Just enough time to travel from Marsum where I photographed the take-off to Jelsum where I took some landing shots.
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2021-03-25 Arrival of the F-017
Due to the expected arrival of a new F-35 (the F-017) it was a bit crowded with spotters today. At first the weather looked good although a bit of haze/fog. Until the return of the morning missions and the visit of a C-130 Hercules it stayed that way. But when the new F-35 came in it was heavily clouded.
It is bound to be this way as almost all new F-35's arrivals are under these circumstances.
All in all a good day at the 23 with lots of people to talk to and quit some nice pictures especially from the morning missions and the C-130. And of course my first pictures of F-35 F-016, still to do the F-013.
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2021-03-08 A Monday at EHLW
As crowded it was last Friday as quiet it was today. Most of the day I was alone at the spot next to runway 23. The weather was not as good but more flights were flown. A whopping 8 jet's in the morning and 6 in the afternoon is a lot nowadays.
During the return of the 4 F-16's in the morning the sun was peeking through the clouds which gave some nice pictures.
I didn't want to use my teleconverters because of the overall low light circumstances and therefor I experimented a bit with the spot I was standing to take the shots. I tried a bit closer location because of the max 200mm zoom lens. This resulted in a lower point of view.
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2021-03-05 First shots of F-014
Because of software tests at work during the weekend I compensated a few days around the weekend. A good opportunity to visit EHLW. With a cold north-easter wind runway 05 was in use.
Rumour goes that the F-16's do not fly on Friday's anymore but today 2 sorties where flown with callsign RACK which is usually used by "Kantoor Testvliegen".
The F-35's where again practising in air refuelling with the T-055 Airbus A330-200 MRTT. Amongst them the F-014 which I didn't see before. I got a good shot at it today thanks to the good weather. Even during the return of the afternoon mission the sun was peeping through the growing clouds.
The medical helicopters PH-HOW and PH-OOP both did approaches on runway 05. Something I didn't see before. All in all a good day although a bit crowdy on the "spottersbult" for COVID-19 pandemic days.
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2021-02-23 In air refuelling practising
Today the flight planning was a bit different than usual. First flight went out around 10:45 and it was just a single F-16 heading for the range. Almost an hour later 3 more took off, 1 also heading for the range and 2 to practise in air refuelling with the new T-055 Airbus A330-200 MRTT.
Same schedule for the afternoon, even the same F-16's. Last came in around 16:30. The same time the T-055 made a high pass above EHLW to call it a day.
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2021-01-08 Friday afternoon at EHLW
Another lame afternoon at EHLW. Now 2 F-35's and two F-16's flew a mission. And although sunny at times this is not visible on the pictures.
I wanted to get used to my 1.7x teleconverter but wasn't able to get a really good shot under these light conditions. Better next time.
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2020-10-29 Lame afternoon at EHLW
Very lame afternoon at EHLW. Just one F-35 and two F-16 flew a mission and although there was plenty of sun in the morning the afternoon was grey. The fighters returned just before it started to rain.
After some banking shots at the Marsum side I decided to go to the north side of runway 23. Normally this means backlight but in these weather conditions this is not something to worry about.
I found a good spot that I will visit more often when it is clouded or late in the afternoon.
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2020-10-26 Monday afternoon at EHLW
Today a film crew was shooting some footage of a F-35 on EHLW. While a fire truck was parked at the beginning of runway 23 with the camera and crew on top the F-010 performed his tricks. Flying low and fast from 05 to 23 and pulling strait up just before the fire truck.
Besides this only 2 F-16 flew a mission, just enough to test my "new" TC17E II teleconverter combined with the 70-200mm f2.8 zoom lens which was more or less a success. I still have to get used to hold the camera extra steady at the maximum range of (35mm equivalent) 510mm.
Another thing is the afternoon sun which is challenging during wintertime but gives great opportunities for some deviant shots.
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2020-10-12 Monday morning at EHLW
To finish my week off I paid another visit to EHLW. First thing I heard on the radio was "bird condition critical up to 4000ft". This usually means the fighters will take of as a rocket at the middle of the runway. That's why I tried a different location at the opposite side of runway 05. Unfortunately this didn't work out very well.
Two F-35's went up followed by three F-16's of which one was heading to Charleroi for maintenance at SABCA. As predicted all took off with full afterburner to gain height as quickly as possible.
During the return of the fighters about 90 minutes later the sky was heavily clouded with just enough light to get nice shots with my 70-200mm/f2.8 zoom lens in combination with the 1.4x teleconverter. Next time I will try my newly purchased 1.7x teleconverter ...
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2020-10-09 Friday at EHLW
Third day visiting EHLW this week. The day before it rained almost all the time but today lots of sunshine. Unfortunately it was a typical Friday with just 3 morning and 3 afternoon sorties.
The take off in the morning were again under perfect weather conditions for great "banking" shots which I love so much. But also the return of the one F-35 was under almost the same great conditions as the Danish F-16 earlier this week. This time not making the overexposing mistake again I got some nice shots of the F-010 against a dark bluish grey background.
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2020-10-07 Full day at EHLW
The second day this week that I visited EHLW. This time the sun didn't leave as quickly as the day before. This resulted in some great "banking" of all 4 F-35's and 4 F-16's. Especially the pilot of the F-012 took of pretty low and waved at the photographers (which he also did on the return).
Around noon a Danish F-16 came in during just a little sunshine. The sun on the light grey fighter against an almost black clouded sky made all my shots overexposed. Luckily I could compensate this in the RAW files.
The afternoon didn't gave as much as the morning but there were quite a lot of fellow spotters which made it all in all worth waiting for the last flights to return.
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2020-10-06 Morning sortie at EHLW
After some turbulent weeks at work I got a full week off. I had my mind set on visiting EHLW as much as possible. This is the first day in a row.
Although the weather wasn't great the moment the first fighters went up I got some "banking" shots of in total 2 F-35's and 4 F-16's (afterwards these were pretty poor compared to the days to come). Among the F-16's was the dual J-066 flying a test mission as RACK01 accompanied by the J-060.
When I was waiting for the first flights, before the sun disappeared behind the clouds, I spotted another type of falcon in the rear view mirror and quickly took some shots of it. A bit too far away but result were not bad at all.
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2020-08-28 Slow day at EHLW
After 4 days of evening flights with 3 sorties a day the last day of the week was pretty slow. Around 11:30 two F-35's took off. The return yielded some nice shots of the F-011 due to three low approaches.
Around 13:45 F-16 J-631 took off in a clean configuration for its final destination at Volkel. Unfortunately it was already way to high at the end of the runway to get a good picture.
That's all I've seen. After I left yet an afternoon sorties started around 15:00.
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2020-08-25 Evening flights
Luckily it doesn't happen often that I return from Leeuwarden without any decent picture but my first try at night flying pictures was a complete failure.
Although it was great to see the F-16's afterburners during start up in nearly dark I only have a few horrible pictures of the J-066 "Orange Jumper".
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2020-08-18 A visit to the NMM
Something completely different from a day at the fences at Leeuwarden was a visit to the National Military Museum at former airbase Soesterberg. For a few days they lined up some old jets from storage on the flight line outside. A perfect opportunity to photograph a F-4, F-5 and F-104 as if they are still operational.
I arrived just before opening hour when there were just a few fellow enthusiasts taking pictures before the crowd starts to walk around the jets. The weather was perfect with a great clouded sky and lots of sunshine and I spend over two hours to get more shots than I will ever need until the sun turned to the wrong direction. After that I paid a visit to the museum itself.
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2020-07-17 Quiet morning at EHLW
The sun was shining in the early morning at home but during the drive to Leeuwarden a hour later the clouds became thicker and blocked the sun completely.
There wasn't much movement at EHLW besides the usual 4 F-16's flying their morning sorties and the trauma helicopter which made a low approach on runway 23. On the ADSB I saw the KDC10 T-235 making a circle above Friesland and heard it pass Leeuwarden at a height of 7000m after which it returned to Eindhoven.
At least 8 Belgian F-16's and 4 F-16's from Volkel where playing above the North Sea/Waddenzee but the all returned home around 11:00. After the return of the morning sorties 15 minutes later I decided to go home.
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2020-07-14 Arrival of the F-011 and F-012
Yesterday two new F-35's where expected to arrive at EHLW. For me luckily this was delayed 24 hours because I couldn't attend on the 13th due to a family trip.
Before going to Jelsum I decided to get some take-off pictures at the Marsum side of the runway. This resulted in some spectacular shots of F-35 F-009 which produced quite a lot of condensation around its wings.
After arriving at the Jelsum side I could still park at my favourite spot where you can see the runway on the left side just between the hedges and the arriving planes at the right side. Half an hour later it was a bit of a mess with cars parked everywhere and enthusiasts standing everywhere on the parallel road.
Just before the F-35's where to be arrived a marine NH90 made a precaution landing due to fumes inside the cockpit. It wanted to use runway 27 but was luckily redirected to (main) runway 23. The EHLW fire brigade handled the situation quickly to make place for the arrival of the F-35's. But first two local F-16's landed using their break chutes because of the too big amount of fuel left in their tanks.
Finally both new F-35's (F-011 and F012) where on finals and came straight in just before the rain got to serious.
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2020-07-06 Quiet day at EHLW
On the first day of my vacation I planned to go to Leeuwarden but despite the sunshine in the early morning it was raining quit hard just half an hour later. Nevertheless I decided to go and take my changes.
A good choice because the rest of the day it was variably cloudy and sunny and I got some nice shots of the F-16BM J-065. Early in the afternoon the AS-532 U2 Cougar Mk2 S-456 paid a visit after it brought marines from Havelte to the Marnerwaard together with 2 CH-47 Chinooks.
Unfortunately the Chinooks did not need to be refuelled before returning to their home base at Gilze-Rijen.
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2020-06-19 Ten sorties, one morning
Busy morning for the 322 squadron at EHLW. A whopping 10 sorties including both F-35's.
The first 4 F-16's left around 9:30 from which 3 returned just before 12. A much longer mission than the usual 3 to 5 quarters of an hour being refueled by a USAF KC-135 above the Nordsea.
Both F-35 took of with afterburner (which they normally never use) gaining height very quickly because of the "bird condition" being critical around EHLW. Much to high for descent banking shot which i like to take.
Finally the last 4 F-16's flew a scramble mission waiting near the QRA shelters for a long time before getting in the air. In the meantime I travelled from Marsum to Jelsum so wasn't able to get banking shots of them too.
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2020-05-28 C-130 Hercules, patience rewarded
Regularly a C-130 visits EHLW for a touch-and-go or stop-and-go but during all my visits to Leeuwarden the past year and a half I have not have the privilege to witness this.
About 10 minutes after the morning missions returned to EHLW I saw C-130 G-988 leave Eindhoven on ADSB as Rogue11. It flew up north following more or less the German border. After an hour it was circling above exercise area Marnerwaard. By the time the afternoon missions started it made a pass from south to north above EHLW followed by two touch-and-go's.

Not to get the propellers frozen I had to lower the shutter speed on my camera to 1/250...320s by lowering the ISO to 100 and put the aperture on f10 (I usually use aperture priority). Side effect of this shutter speed is that images can get unsharp due to camera movement but I managed to get a few good shots.

F-16 J-511 was flying missions above Germany as NAF322 to test a new radar setup. Equipped with just a centre line tank it saved fuel not climbing that fast after take-off. This resulted a few nice banking shots in the morning at the Jelsum side of the runway (23).
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2020-05-19 And yet another morning spotting
Another morning spotting. I am hoping for a C-130 at some point. Since I picked up spotting a year ago I didn't have the chance to see it fly from close.
The G-275 was here the day before for a short stop on runway 27 and it was again in the air today. But the ADSB clearly showed it was circling around EHEH and EHVK. And because it also got more clouded and started to rain a little I decided to go home. Maybe I have to be more patience next time because it did pay EHLW a visit later on.
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2020-05-08 Another morning spotting
Just a morning spotting, nothing special. Meanwhile I get more and more familiar with the radio babble. Around nine a German EF-2000 past EHLW very high and I could follow it on the radio to the range on Vlieland and back to Germany.
Also Hercules G-273 past EHLW very high to disappear above the Waddenzee/Nord Sea and fly back along the Dutch west coast.

F-35 F-010 was flying two missions with normal 322sq callsigns (NASTY1 / SLAMMER11) instead of the PAIN callsigns both F-35's used from the beginning.
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2020-04-22 A windy morning spotting
Another day off. Although a bit windy a spend the morning at EHLW. 4 F-16's flew the morning missions and F-35 F-009 even 2. Not very much but the circumstances for photography were perfect.
I also tested a new antenna (Diamond RH795) for my Uniden UBC125XLT scanner which was a great success. Reception was a whole lot better compared to the standard rubber antenna.

Noteworthy was the other falcon a managed to photograph although not close enough for a good picture.
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2020-04-09 Full day spring spotting
I was merely forced to plan a lot of days off because I had to many days left over from past years. One of them was this Thursday before Eastern.
The morning and afternoon waves brought the same F-16's (4x) and F-35 (1x). Noteworthy was the hot pit (refuelling between flights while motor running) of the F-35 in the morning for which it flew 2 missions in the morning and the malfunctioning of the INS of the F-35 (F-010) just before take-off in the afternoon. This led to a (at least) 10 minute delay.
Before making a full stop most F-16's and especially the F-35 made low approaches or touch and go's to test and adjust ground radar systems.
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2020-03-31 F-35 tandem
While my car was being serviced I had a day off. The weather was great so I tried and managed to get a loan car. Everything was wrong about this old and small Fiat except that it brought me to EHLW.
The wind came from the north east so runway 05 was in use and the "Spottersbult" near Marsum was the obvious place to go. This got me some nice shots from both F-35's which started and landed as a tandem. Something I haven't seen in a long time from the F-16's.
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2020-01-24 First F-35 spotting
Although the weather was again not cooperating (a bit dark and foggy) I had some luck to spot the F-35 F-009 for the first time. I was standing on the north side of runway 23 which usually means you have to photograph against the light but because it was so cloudy this was not an issue.
Another one that I haven't seen flying before was the Gulfstream G.1159 V-11 of 334 Sq. which made a low approach in the afternoon coming from (and returning to) Eindhoven.
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2020-01-21 First visit 2020
I planned a week off after a busy period at work. Still need to finish our new kitchen at home and set myself the goal of making pictures of the F-35('s) at airbase Leeuwarden. Unfortunately the F-35 didn't fly this day and the weather was also not cooperating.
I was just able to get 4 reasonable pictures of the in total 7 (F-16) flights today. Maybe tomorrow ...

This was also my first visit using the Uniden Bearcat UBC125XLT radio scanner which gives another dimension to spotting than just taking pictures. I only have to learn the rather cryptic language they use :)
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2019-10-29 FWIT exams
I planned a day off after not being able to spend time at EHLW for 5 weeks. The FWIT training programs is in its final week and this resulted in 26 flights in the morning and again 26 flight in the afternoon including three Hawk T1's from the RAF. And in between a Cougar helicopter paid a visit.
Noteworthy was the return of the J-006 during the afternoon session which made a precaution landing after an engine failure. The pilot could restart the engine and returned home safely escorted by a colleague.
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2019-09-27 A Morning FWIT and more 2
Another morning at EHLW in a week I am filling in late shifts at work. After two days of heavy clouds and rain this morning promised at least some sunshine between the clouds. Again lots of missions of the FWIT training program and locals.
The EPAF test team seems to be done testing the new software version (S1.1) due to the departure of two of the Portuguese F-16's 15131 and two-seater 15120.
Noteworthy was return of the FA123 still carrying bomb(s) and the arrival of the two-seater FB14. J-879 departed for maintenance at Charleroi (SABCA).
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2019-09-24 A Morning FWIT and more
After a dark morning at the fence at EHLW on the 23rd today the sun was shining between high clouds. Perfect conditions for the continuation of my lens tests. Now I tested the 70-200 f/2.8G Nikon lens in conjunction with the TC-14E II tele converter. As several reviews say this would be a perfect combination. And yes it was. The tele converter adds just the reach I needed for photographing the F-16's during landing. For the take-off pictures I still need to crop a lot.
This morning a total of 21 missions were flown. Next to the FWIT training program also the EPAF test team was testing a new software version (S1.1) and of course the local missions.
All in all a good day and in good company :)
Noteworthy was the cancellation of the afternoon missions due to bad weather at the range on Vlieland.
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2019-08-30 New lens tests during FWIT
This morning I tested my new old 70-200 f/2.8 Nikon lens. I mainly bought this lens because my Sigma 150mm f/2.8 showed to be to slow in auto focus performance to get all images sharp. It didn't disappoint me at all. Although the images are a tiny bit softer compared to the Sigma lens, focus success rate is over 90%. From the Sigma lens in conjunction with the Sigma 1.4x teleconverter it was less than 60%.
Due to the FWIT training program there where quite a lot of movements including Belgian and Portuguese F-16's. A nice cloudy sky and sunshine on the right moments resulted in satisfying results.
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2019-08-22 Another day at FWIT
During my summer vacation I build a new kitchen at home. Luckily I had it all functional again in time to spend one day at EHLW before normal working life started again. The FWIT training program is still going on practising air-to-ground attacks at the Vliehorst. The participators left 2 by 2 with an interval of 30-45 minutes.
To get some take off shots I travelled twice from Marsum to Jelsum (runway 05 to 23) and reverse and allthough I got some nice shots I'm not satisfied with the take-off images. My Sigma 150mm f/2.8 with the 1.4x teleconverter does not have the needed magnification and is to slow in focussing to take this kind of pictures
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2019-07-04 Morning FWIT spotting
Taking over a late shift from a colleague opened the opportunity to spend a morning at air base Leeuwarden again. First to the 05 to take some banking shots and after the departure of the FWIT participators to the 25 for landing shots.
I met people I have not seen for over 30 years and had good fun with people I came to know during my last visits.
Noteworthy was the Cougar helicopter landing for a very short visit on runway 25.
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2019-06-18 A full day FWIT spotting
A good day to try to photograph the special tail F-16 from Portugal that is one of the participators of the FWIT training program. I travelled twice from Marsum to Jelsum and vice versa to be able to take pictures during take-off and landing. I have not been at the Jelsum side for 30 years and it is not as comfortable as the Marsum side. Just standing next to a busy road that needs to be crossed for every series of photo's.
Noteworthy where the precaution landing of F-16 J-006 from Volkel which had engine problems and the farewell mission of a pilot in the J-065.
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2019-05-20 Afternoon FWIT spotting
The weather was bit grey in the morning on my day off and I decided to mawn the lawn first. Around noon I saw the first sun strokes and rushed to Leeuwarden airbase to shoot some of the Belgian F-16's that are temporary stationed at EHLW for the FWIT training program.
The sun didn't break through entirely but I was very content with the amount of movements in the 3 hours I was at the "spottersbult". All 6 Belgian, 2 Volkel and 2 local machines where flying FWIT missions. Both QRA F-16's went up for a training mission above Belgium. And 4 normal training flights.
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2019-04-23 Afternoon spotting
I had a day off due to changing shifts and the weather was great. I didn't had to think twice to decide to go to Leeuwarden airbase again. Runway 05 was in use and I tried to get some good shots from F-16's on the taxiway without the blurring heat waves which was a success.
A nice addon to the afternoon was the flight of the historical Hunter N-264 although it used runway 09 for some reason.
Noteworthy was the damage to the ILS from runway 23 caused by the jet blast from F-16 J-008 taking off too near to the beginning of runway 05.
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2019-04-05 Frisian Flag
Since 1999 the NATO exercise Frisian Flag is flown from Leeuwarden airbase. This year I planned a day off to watch and enjoy the local and foreign fighter jets. And I was not the only one. Hundreds of aviation enthusiasts gathered on and around the "spottersbult".
Within the hour over 50 jets took off from runway 05 and due to a defect to the ILS from runway 05 and the increasing cloud cover they landed on runway 23. Luckily they only used runway 05 in the afternoon which gave me the opportunity to photograph them all during landing.
Highlight for me was the Swiss F-18 with the special tiger tail.
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2019-03-19 Afternoon spotting
As I enjoyed my previous visit to Leeuwarden airbase I went again the next time I had the opportunity. Again I went to the "spottersbult" at the beginning of runway 05. This time the F-16's used runway 23 (previously runway 24) due to the wind coming from the west.
This mend I had to try photographing them during take-off and although some were already too high I managed to get a few nice shots. A longer lens then my 150mm with 1.4x converter (makes 210mm) would be better for this purpose so I've put a 300mm lens on my wish list.
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2019-02-11 Afternoon spotting
After many years I decided to go to Leeuwarden airbase to see some operational activities. I went to the spot I remembered from my younger years near Marsum at the beginning of runway 05 (previously runway 06). A lot had changed over the years. The fences were moved quit a lot away from the taxiway but there was also a small hill created some meters from the fence with benches and trash cans. I very nice location to spot and photograph the aircrafts although I needed a much longer lens then 30 years ago to cover the bigger distance.
A noteworthy incident was the evasive manoeuvre F-16 J-002 made to avoid a bird hit.
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2016-06-11 Open days
Open days at Leeuwarden airbase. I didn't have the opportunity to go both days and unfortunately the Saturday was a grey and rainy day.
The highlight of the day by far was the presentation of the Joint Strike Fighter Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II to the Dutch public but my personal favourites were the Turkish Stars flying former Dutch NF-5's.
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2008-06-21 Open days
Open days at Leeuwarden airbase. Using the same camera as 2 years ago the air show was far beyond its limits.
The static show contained some very nice Phantoms and, one of my favourites, a Harrier. There was far more to see than you can find on this page but as I don't like pictures with fences and/or lots of people I left them out.
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2006-06-17 Open days
Open days at Leeuwarden airbase. The first time I used a digital (compact) camera. For the airshow it didn't have sufficient focal length but for the static it was great.
On the thumbnail page you can clearly see that grey is the most used colour nowadays except for the Dutch CH-47D and the German Tornado. Nice to see the ex-KLu K-4021 now flying for the Turkish Air Force.
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