Twente 2003

Toms Review of the Royal Netherlands Air Force Open Days held at Airbase Twente

Click here to go directly to the photos !

(not online yet.... will come online in a few weeks)

The Royal Netherlands Air Force Open Days 2003 were held on two days for the third time now (it used to be only one day). Friday june the 20th and saturday june the 21st. The weather on friday was good with temperatures between 15 and 19 degrees celcius. Medium cloud cover, no rain and sunny spots. Nice photographic weather not hot, lots of clouds to give a nice bit of contrast. Windy aswell.
As last year I went on friday to stay away from the crowd. Which is wise, airshowwise. On friday 50.000 people visited Twente Airbase, on saturday there were 250.000 (!) So now you know why I went on a friday.
The airshow was very well organized. Lots of parking space near the base. About a 10 minutes hike to the airbase. A days parking costs 4 Euros which is a nice price 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. Nice spot on the flightline. Weather on saturday was hotter and less clouds than on friday. At some times friday was cold. So cold in fact that a friend of mine bought two T-shirts and wore them over eachother to stay warm. I made due with just one extra T-shirt, now you know why I allways buy a T-shirt on airshows, it's not just a souvenir.

The Airpower Demo stole the show. But it wasn't as good as on Gilze Rijen last year. I missed the explosions. Last year was great, dynamic, agressive, excellent and spicy. This year it looked routine. Allthought the decents from the Cougars was excellent, the whole demo lacked something. It was tame. Where the Gilze Rijen Airpower Demo was WOW. This one was "oh?" It started of great with the F-16's, then dropped off during the Apaches, went to great again with the Cougars and the Chinooks but dropped off again with the Hercules... it just used half the runway.... But still a very good Demo, I was spoiled by Gilze Rijen.

Fullcrum Mig-29 Demo. Just Awesome. Nice condens stripes, good paintjob and loads of afterburners. Dutch F-16, Excellent. Still one of the BEST demos around. And it was great to see Team Orlik (Young Eagles) again. This Polish team is definitly one of the best teams around. Frecce Tricolore, just couldn't stop touching that smokepod now could you? The Frecce Tricolore are one of my favourite display teams. Well thought of stunts great colors and in my eyes a direct competitor to the Red Arrows. But La Patrouille de Suise did one of their most loved stunts. All planes go straight up in arrow formation break and start shooting flares. The Starburst! Totally excellent and the coupe de grace for their show. Something I sometimes forget to mention but will do now is the little things on the show. For instance, at times the reporters ask that people wave to the pilots cause they wave back. And they are right! They do! Which is great! And one of the nicest bit is the Harrier, when it finishes its demo it makes a bow to the public. Which is great to see.


As allways, the Dutch Airforce open days are an event that you look out to for months. Not only is it well organized, but it is so much more. It is a smaller version of the English RIAT. But sometimes just that bit nicer. Because the RIAT is BIG, you don't have any feet left after a day. The Dutch Airforce open days is just big enough. It is well accesible (even has a shuttle bus for the parking lot), has humour, has loads of planes, has room and is just plain good FUN. I've said it before and I will say it again. I've never seen an angry face at an airshow. Everyone enjoys the planes. From the die hard numerologist to the "its a nice day lets go spotting" weekend spotter. There is even a place for a mad and insane photographer like me. So... Then it must be good. There then... It is Good. Go there... take the kids.. take the mother in law, show her where the afterburner is.

And now for the photos..... Click here (not online yet.... will come online in a few weeks)

The good things and bad things.

Good things

  • Great Demos from the Mig 29 Fulcrum, Draken, Frecce Tricolore, STARBURST of the La patrouille de Suise ( F5-Tigers ! ) Harrier, Apache and Dutch F-16.
  • Loads of afterburners that is what we like to see!
  • Great Airpower Demo.
  • Dutch Historical Flight, with Hunter, T33, F-86 Sabre and the DC-2 "Uiver"
  • Great display from the Dutch F16 (MLU) with the Black and White striped paintjob.
  • Several great displayteams, Red Arrows, Team Olrik (props), Frecce Tricolore, La Patrouille de Suise, Royal Jordanian Falcons, La Patrouille Aguila, La Patrouille de France, Fokker Four.
  • Very well organised airshow.
  • Loads of good souvenirs and other goodies.
  • Tom Tiger had gone shoot'n.

Bad things

  • The US airforce, Come on guys.... Just a couple of F-15's and NO A10 Demo. We bought the JSF, WE WANT A B1-B or B2 flyby!
  • No Grippen.
  • No Eurofighter 2000.
  • Too few Russian planes.
  • I don't want to buy stupid tokens to get a drink or something to eat.
  • Poor Tom was a cold, pity poor Tom, for if it not was for a T-shirt he now would be frozen.


What did I use on this airshow?

Canon Eos 500N
Fitted with a 75-300 mm which in turn was 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 1/500 with an aperture of 5.6 (loads of dark clouds) highest was 1/1000 with an aperture of 9.5. Most used was 1/750 with aperture 6.7, 8, and 9.5.

Fitted with an 8/500mm Rubinar Mirror lens. Aperture as with all mirrorlenses locked. This one was locked at fstop 8. Speeds, 1/500th and 1/1000th. In some cases I used a polarisation filter.

Nikon 950 Coolpix 2mp Digital Camera with 64 mb CF card.

Film used Kodak 400 iso Ultra.
I shot 4 rolls with the Zenit-AM2 and about 7 with the Canon 500n. And about 90 digital shots (1600*1200 normal mode on a 64 mb card).
Photoconditons, Reasonable to Good and at some times Great. Weather could have been a bit warmer and a few less clouds but I'm not complaining.

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