2016 Event Review

Open Dagen Leeuwardeen June 10-11, 2016
Location: Leeuwarden AB, The Netherlands
Admission: Free
Parking: Free
Value:Very Good
Rating out of 10: 7.5 due to circumstances beyond the control of the organizers.

RNLAF AH-64D Apache Solo Display

The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) has a biennial Open Day air show that is free to attend. The Open Day even rotates between three air bases of the RNLAF: Gilze-Rijen Air Base, Volkel Air Base, and for this year it was held at Leeuwarden AB. Approximately 280,000 were in attandance.

For 2016 the event can be summarized in a few words: awful weather, interesting air display despite the weather, and the debut of the F-35 Lightning II, in the RNLAF markings.

There were several NATO coalition partners invited as static as well as performers. Unfortunately, on Thursday (the practice day) before the two day even Friday and Saturday, two Patrouille Suisse F-5E Tigers collided in the air. One crashed into a nearby canal the pilot managed eject, while the other one managed to land despite damage to the horizontal stabilizer. The Swiss Air Force did not partake in any further activity not even as a static.
Luckily for the crowds the Belgian Red Devils in their (4) SF260 Marchetti, the Turkish Stars with (8) NF-5A/B, Red Arrows with (9) BAE Hawk T1, Black Cats Helicopter display Team with their (2) Lynx, and Patrouille de France with their Alphajets were able to perform in multi-aircraft displays. There were other impressive displays by the Czech AFs JAS-39 Gripen as well as the Mi-35 Hind, the MiG-29 from Slovakia, Eurofighter from Spain, Belgian F-16AN Solo Display and a several aircraft from the RNLAF including F-16s, KC-10, and C-130. The much anticipated F-35 was escorted by nine F-16s in a demo. Old warbirds that participated included a Dutch and a Brit Spitfire as well as a Dutch P-51 Mustang.

The statics were rather spare this year when compared to previous years.. Over all the event was satisfactory considering the bad weather and the accident, we highly recommend the event to all especially to those who like to attend free open days at air bases.

Performers included:

Belgian Red Devils

Belgian A-16AN Solo Team

Turkish Stars

Red Arrows

Frecce Tricolori

Black Cats Helicopter display Team

Patrouille de France

Czech AFs JAS-39C Gripen and Mi-35 Hind

Slovak AF MiG-29AS

Spanish AF Eurofighter





RNLAF AH-64D Apache Solo Team

P-51D Mustang



Static displays included:

Polish AF F-16

Belgian AF F-16


Italian AF M-347

German AF Eurofighter

Polish AF C-235


USAF C-130

Hawker Hunter




and other civilian aircraft...

Report and photography by István Kelecsényi for

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