Texel Air Show

21 July 2007

The isle of Texel, famous with holidaymakers, hosted its first Airshow in six years last 21 july. Texel has a grass airfield used mainly for private flying and parajumping, thus the participants would be rather limited in weight and speed, or were they? As we will see, despite its modest size and facilities, the organisers fared rather well. Being surrounded by sea, Texel naturally attracted helicopters with a SAR background.

The yellow Royal Netherlands Air Force AB.412 is used exclusively in this role and naturally its demonstration centered around rescueing people in dispair. Their Navy colleagues with their now very well worn SH-14D Lynx have a more varied tasking alongside SAR, a task they share with the AB.412. Around the time the airshow took place a further delay in the Lynx´s successor delivery, the NH.90, was announced

Although it didn´t take part in the flying program, the AH-64D Apache combat support helicopter attracted plenty of attention. Apart from the Apache, the Royal Netherlands Air Force also sent an AS.532U-2 Cougar to Texel. Thus, only the CH-47D Chinook and the SE.3160 Alouette III were not shown. Not a bad score!

The flying program provided some nice things for the avid military enthousiast to see. A direct comparison of the display sequences by two widely used primary trainers could be made. The KLu's Pilatus PC.7 displayed to its usual standard, its show accentuated to good effect by the plane's smoke cannisters.

A slightly more powerful RAF Shorts Tucano T.1 was put through its paces flying from nearby De Kooy Naval Air Station on the mainland. The Tucano at one time turned so hard in the moist sea air that water vapour condensed in its tip vortices.

Fast jets were in evidence as well. The KLu's F-16AM solo demo team was present, as was an historic Hunter T.7. It was nice to see this combined display again, after having seen it for the first time at the KLu's Volkel Open Days a month previously. Texel benefitted from having been scheduled in the same weekend as Belgium's Sanicole Air Show. 

The Spanish Air Force could display over Texel flying from Kleine Brogel, Belgium. Note the vortex streaming even from the jets tailplanes. The Hornet is famous for clouds of condensation streaming from wings and strakes, but seeing it streaming from the tailplanes is not so usual.

The French Alpha Jet was the other foreign fast jet at Texel. This little Franco German trainer did quite a spirited display. Apart from the types shown above, Texel's show line up comprised many civilian types, among them the unique DC.2. The Royal Jordanian Falcons represented the military demo teams. 

Beside these display items, NATO and the Royal Netherlands Air Force showed some multi-engined hardware in a couple of low passes. To the left, the E-3A AWACS, now in service in the Airborne Warning and Control role for a quarter of a century. The KLu's KDC-10 tanker followed the AWACS with a few passes as well, showing its new grey colour scheme.

Although clearly biased toward civil aviation, there were dozens of private planes parked at the airfield, Texel's Air Show nevertheless did have some welcome military acts. It can only be hoped that the organising team did gain enough funds in order to stage an event like this in a few years time, as there are not that many shows like this in the Netherlands anymore.

All pictures (c) Hans Rolink