This years annual airshow from the dutch airforce was held at my homebase at Leeuwarden(EHLW).Long before this event it was made public that this years event would be very special because the US Navy would attand at the show with their "topteam" the famous Blue Angels together with Fat Albert their C-130.Sceptic as we were we deciced to be save and take the whole week before the airshow free from work so if they would show up I wouldn't have to rush towards the airbase to get a glimps of the team.

Was it all to good to be true we didn't know but we were all hoping that it was true they were coming.During the months preceeding the airshow the rumourcircuit was spinning at full speed about the arrival time and what their program would be during the week before the airshow. Finally the week had begun that the airshow would take place and even at the day(monday 12 june) of arrival it still wasn't sure at what time they would arrive.
During the day it became clear they would arrive around 1830lt and thanks to the radiospotters we were able to track them all the way from the northern Scotland untill their arrival at LWD. The weather during the week was 1 of extremes with tempratures at the biginning of the week rising as high as 35 degrees celsius and on thursday a tempraturedrop of 20 degrees and light rain and we had to wait untill saturday for the seriously needed sun to show up again.
All in all it was a good week for aircraftspotting because the yearly course of FWIT was also still flying bringing with them the Strikers from Leakenheath for lunch and debrief of the flown missions.The line-up of the demoteams was very impressive with the following names:Blue Angels,Red Arrows,Patrouille de France,Royal Jordanian Falcons,Team Excel,Patrouille de  Suise,Swiss Hunter Team,Fokker Four,Asas de Portugal,Midnight Hawks from Finland.
For the solodisplay the East Coast F15 demoteam was invited to show off at this event together with the Spanish F18 and the Belgian F16 and all the usual dutch demoteams were present with of course our own beauty the J055 in special paint.During the week a lot of aircraft-towing was done to make parkingspace for all the arriving aircraft for the airshow. Luckely for us most of the homebase-fighters were parked near a very accesable fence and gave us a unique oppertunity to get close to them and make some very nice pictures.
The only downside of the whole event was the security around the base that became more strict than ever before and even closed down our spottershill near runway 06 because of "safety issues".The dual number 7 had made some soloflights on wednesday with some political figures to show off the capabilities of the F18.The trainingflights for the Blue Angels started on the thursday(15 june)with some spectacular lowflying-moves which resulted in a red card because it was way on the low side.
Especially when the solo went over the town of Marssum close to the speed of sound at about an altitude of 30 to 35 meters and decending when reaching the airfield to a minimum of 5 meters.Sad to say is that it is the last year for Fat Albert that he will preform his JATO-takeoff(Jet Assisted Take Off)due to the fact that there aren't any bottles left at the market for him to use.Due to this fact he didn't preform his act on the friday and saved the best for the saturday.
Luckely for us the weather was great on sunday with a clear blue sky and lots of sun.Too bad for all those people who weren't able to attend on the saturday to see this spectacle.During the fridaydisplay of the Blue Angels the solo number 5 suffered a blown tire on take-off and had to burn fuel before returning to the airfield because of this the complete show was stalled for about 30 minutes which cutted the display for the Angels in half.
Because of this mishap the solo had to change aircraft to the dual and fly his part of the demo with the twinseater which isnt happening so often and we got to see all 7 aircraft flying display.On friday the Red Arrows did a formationflight together with the Angels.The weather on the saturday made things a lot better for the photographers because the sun showed us his best side all day long creating the best circumstances for arial photography.
My personal opinion of the airshow is that there was an overkill with the demoteams because there were at least 10 and would have liked to see a Tornado or a Mirage or a Typhoon in the solodisplay aswell instead of this many teams but lets hope for the best for next year when this event is hosted at Volkel(EHVK).

Jan Eenling 2008