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July 3th was a truly historical day for our airborne photography! After months of hard work and some real challenges I managed to organise one of the best photoflights we have ever done. On this day, both the Belgian and Dutch F-16 demo aircraft together with their spare, had their ferryflight towards Koksijde airbase scheduled, location for the annual airshow of the Belgian Air Force. As their both native bases ( KB and Volkel ) are only some 5 minutes flying from each other, I came up with the idea of having both teams flying together towards the coast and joining up with the Skyvan photoship on the way. The idea was welcomed by the pilots with great enthousiasm , and thanks to the support of both Airforces we were able to produce some incredible photowork.
However, a lot of challenges had to be overtaken, and on the day itself the weather was not really superb....but so many people had worked so hard for it that we decided to go ahead. Only the evening before, my crewmembers Giel and Tom knew what the 'targets' would be, ending months of speculation with the strangest aircraft mentioned ;-) But nobody knew that a flight like this would ever be possible!
Exactly as planned at 9.50 sharp the two Belgian F-16's, flown by 'Mitch' and 'Smack', joined up on us over Semmerzake, one minute later followed by their two Dutch friends 'Sheik' and 'Bitch'. The view alone of four smoke-equipped F-16 was phenomenal!!!! So we knew now that is was perfectly possible to have a fast jet formation behind the Skyvan.
Altough we had a record join-up time of 40 minutes, the time passes so quickly when you have a chance to fly for photos like this.....all manoeuvres and breakes were carefully briefed and planned in advance, and they were perfectly executed by all four pilots. The only problem were the smokewinders on the spare aircraft producing only once and than a smoketrail...
We did not have a lot of sun, but it came out at the right moment, and we took on this flight several iconic images and already some 'classics' ; a lot of this photowork was later used in brochures, magazines and photobooks.
Our big thank you goes to Mitch, Smack, Sheik and Bitch for giving us such a fantastic view. Our special appreciation goes to Cdr. Luc Vanderfeesten, Col Frederic Vansina and General Claude Van de Voorde for granting us permission on this memorable photoflight.
 

 
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