Gilze Rijen 2002

Toms Review of the last Royal Netherlands Air Force Open Days
held at Airbase Gilze Rijen

Click here to go directly to the photos !

The Royal Netherlands Air Force Open Days 2002 were held on two days for the second time now. Friday juli the 5th and saturday juli the 6th. The weather on friday was good with temperatures between 17 and 22 degrees celcius. Unfortunatly the weatherforcast was for clouds and rain. Allthough the clouds stayed there was almost no rain on friday. Just a little bit at around 16:35 (local time) but no showers.
I went on friday to stay away from the crowd. On friday 75.000 people visited Gilze Rijen Airbase, on saturday there were 200.000 (!) So now you know why I went on a friday.
The airshow was very well organized. Lots of parking space near the base so it wasn't a long walk. Not pricey, only 3 euros for a days parking. Good layout on the show aswell. The static was separated a bit from the flightline which made for a very well accesible show with something for everyone. Also a few very big screens so even if you didn't made it to a good spot on the flightline you could still have a very good view of the entire show.
I was glad that I went on friday, enough room to sit and to look around. On saturday there were big trafficjams. They even became so bad that the Police announced on radio and television that it was better to turn back and go home.
Weather on saturday was better than expected allthough there was some rain at the end of the afternoon. But no showers like predicted.
This was, unfortunatly, the last time that the Royal Netherlands Air Force Open Days were held at Gilze Rijen. Dare I say "sniff"? Yes, it is a pity that there will be no more airshows at good old Gilze. It will become a Tactical helicopterbase and from now on The Royal Netherlands Air Force Open Days will be held on 3 bases only. Namely, Leeuwarden, Twente and Volkel.

But back to the review.

The Airpower Demo stole the show. Gilze Rijen Airbase was for this event declared a hostile Airbase. So at first we had a few F16's doing recon. Then the Apaches moved in. Suddenly we had gunfire and explosions as the F16's went in for a full scale attack on the airbase. While the Apaches laid cover fire, Bolkov helicopters came in and dropped commandos. They took up their positions and Cougar helicopters moved in to drop their troops. These guys took aim at the public and waited for the big Chinooks. They dropped off a couple of vehicles and more troops then waved off to make room for a Hercules. By now the Airbase was sealed and all troops moved in at us. Very good show. The explosions, fire and blanks added a much needed touch of realism. Some of us even put our hands up when the soldiers came at us firing blanks. Pretty good stuff.

The good things and bad things.

Good things

  • Great Demos from the Mig 29 Fulcrum, MI-24 Hind and Draken.
  • Loads of afterburners that is what we like to see!
  • Great Airpower Demo, totally EXCELLENT.
  • Spitfire and P-51D mustang (Damn Yankee) and Dutch Historical Flight.
  • Great display from the Dutch F16 (MLU) with the Black and White striped paintjob.
  • Several great displayteams, Red Arrows, Team Olrik (props), La patrouille de Suise ( F5-Tigers ! ) Royal Jordanian Falcons.
  • Very well organised airshow.
  • Loads of good souvenirs and other goodies.
  • Lot of Squadron stands (excellent)

Bad things

  • The US airforce, just on the static again... One flypast of a B1b only on saturday!
    Come on... we bought the JSF. And the only thing we get is one very bad JSF mockup on the static and more static.... I've seen better. But there was a nice KC 135. All hope is now on the RIAT.
  • No Rafale.
  • No Grippen.
  • No Eurofighter 2000.
  • I don't want to buy stupid tokens to get a drink or something to eat.
  • Weather could have been a bit better.


What did I use on this airshow?
All photos were made with a Canon Eos 500N and a Nikon 950 digital camera. Lenses used, 19-35 mm and 75-300 mm fitted with a 2 times Teleconverter giving it a range of 150-600 mm. Shots were made in speed priority mode for the Canon Eos 500n. Lowest recorded speed was 1/350 with an aperture of 5.6 with 400 iso film (loads of dark clouds but no rain) highest was 1/1000 with an aperture of 9.5 with 400 iso film. Most used was 1/750 wit aperture 6.7, 8, 9.5 and 11 at 200 and 400 iso
Films used 200 iso Fuji Superia and Kodak 400 iso Ultra. I shot 7 rolls of film and about 120 digital shots (1600*1200 normal mode on a 64 mb card). 2 of the 7 were Fuji and 5 rolls were Kodak.
As I said lots of clouds but they were high. So photographic conditions were reasonable and at times even good. Though not great. Forecast for saturday was not good with predictions of rain and a low cloudcover.

Many thanks to all of the kind people who made The Royal Netherlands Air Force open days possible.

And now for the photos..... Click here