Volkel Airbase, 13th of October 2008

Report and photos by Stacey Kort

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Erwin Doornkamp, Stephan Bouman, Robbin Stalma and me were all pretty bored and we wanted to see some jets, so we decided to go to Volkel Airbase. Because we went with public transportation we had to get up early, so we hoped that it would all be worth it. Well, there are three F-16 squadrons based at Volkel so we were pretty sure that we would see some Vipers!

It proved to be quite a challenge to reach the spottingplaces around Volkel. We did arrive on time though, which (for the Dutch public transportation system) is nothing short of a miracle! After a 15 minute walk from the busstop we finally reached our first spottingplace, which was the official spottingplace near runway 06R. Runway 24R was in use so were would be able to get some takeoff shots. Around 09:30 the first wave, consisting of nine Vipers, went airborne. To be in time to catch the arrivals we had to leave immediatly to catch the bus. While we walked to the bus two additional Vipers went airborne. We hoped that there would be a busstop near our other spottingplace, but there wasn't, so we were in for a long long walk. Luckily a spotter "spotted" us and offered us a lift to the spottingplace. By the time we got there we saw the first two Vipers entering initials for the runway, so we ran our way through some forest to try and be in time, which we were. On the scanner we heard that one of the Vipers had slight engine problems and that he wanted to make a dragchute landing on the 06L, the runway closest to us. His wingman would fly alongside him and enter the pattern again after the lead aircraft touched down. That was something we forgot about and when the wingman went full AB we all decided that it was best to cover our ears. I'd rather miss some shots than missing my hearing!



The rest of the landings were uneventful and we went back to the first spottingplace, this time we had to walk to the busstop though. And after a short busride we had to walk once more. We arrived well in time though so we had plenty of time to set up our gear and look at our results so far. For the afternoon more clouds were forecasted, but none were seen. And it remained that way when the second wave took off. Not suprisingly the second wave consisted of many Vipers which we had also seen during the first wave, but that couldn't spoil our fun. The "Bullet" flight performed a dual runway takeoff, which meant that the leader took off from the 24L and his wingman from the 24R. The wingman did a nice turn to rejoin, an excellent photo opportunity. We decided that we would not go to the other spottingplace because we would most likely miss the arrivals, so we hoped that some Vipers would do some patterns. Only the J-196 did some closed patterns though, but he used the 24L so that was pretty nice too see. We were also able to see the J-058 getting a hung bomb removed at the end of the runway. This was pretty much the end of our day at Volkel. We all went home content.