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Malle Airfield was again the homebase for the second edition of the PhotoFlying Days and Air 2 Air – Academy 2011. This time both events were held in cooperation with the APCK Fly-in.

From Wednesday on some 40 aviation photographers from all over the world came together at the NATO reserve base, to share their passion and experience the thrill of Air-to-Air photography. Not much time was lost, as during the afternoon the first Skyvan flight was already planned. This warming-up photoshoot was the first time for the Aviation PhotoCrew shooting an Airliner out of the back of the Skyvan. Thanks to Jean-Michel Legrand, the Swiss company ‘Private Air’ opened the opportunity to perform a photoshoot of their Boeing 737BBJ. Jean-Michel himself, who also flies the famous Yak-18, had the difficult task to bring the Boeing in formation with the Skyvan, which is not something seen every day. The sight of the Boeing closing in on the horizon was truly amazing, especially with such a nice area as background. This resulted in some amazing pictures from different angles. The flight took us around Zeeland (The Netherlands) and ended with a nice flypast above the airfield of Malle.

So the first day was already a big success and after a well earned dinner, the preparations were completed in order to get the hangar ready for the theoretical day of the Academy.

On Thursday morning everyone was stunned by the make-over of the hangar, which was the main meeting point during the event for photographers and flying crew. Large print-outs of some of our best pictures decorated the walls. Many thanks goes to Geert Van De Put who turned over the hangar into an aviation hall of fame. Photoflying makes you hungry, so Jessie De Cooman took the challenge to daily provide everyone fresh breakfast, lunch and dinner.

During the morning everyone was welcomed and lectures were given by Daniel Rychcik and Tom Houquet. They gave the Academy photographers many interesting tips and tricks in Air-to-Air photography. From camera equipment and settings to photoflight planning, everything was cited. After lunch, arrangements were made for the photoflights that were planned to take place the next days.

Safety first, is one of the most important aspects in aviation. So all photographers were given a guided tour in the Skyvan. All safety measures were carefully explained and after fitting the safety harnesses, it was time for dinner and a social evening in the hangar.

By Friday morning the airfield started to come alive, with the arrival of the participating aircraft. Some second-year Academy photographers were treaded with a special surprise flight in the morning. The Skyvan was joined by two Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16’s from Volkel Airbase. Both sported freshly painted special tails for the anniversary of 311 and 312 Sqn. The morning light and the high humidity were a good recepy for some stunning action pictures.

The star of the show, the famous Sikorsky S-38, arrived on Wednesday afternoon, but on Friday afternoon a unique event took place. It was made possible for the S-38 to make some water landings on the close-by Albert canal, which is quite unique in Belgium. After a recce flight, the Sikorsky made several touchdowns on the canal, which provided excellent photo opportunities.

As we were expecting some very nice warbirds on Friday afternoon, the first warbird photoshoot was planned in the evening. Flight planners Peter Van Loey and Michael de Boer did an excellent job in getting the most out of it, in order to achieve the best photo results. Excellent weather made the first Warbird flight even more memorable. Flying behind the Skyvan were two Skyraiders, two T-28, T-6 Texan, Flammant and Nord 1011, Yak-18, the Stinson and the P-40.
The first public day was again blessed with sunshine and this resulted in a very busy airfield. Next to the many aircraft, the public could visit a unique collection of military oldtimer vehicules and authentic re-enactments performed by our friends of Spearhead and frontleven 40-45. Some aviation stands were erected around the aeroclub and the public could have something to eat and have a drink while enjoying the aircraft from the terrace. During the weekend our new book ‘Aviation Photography!’ was presented to the public, which was well received with many positive reactions. The event was also supported by the Belgian Air Force with static F-16, Sea King and A.109 and the Air Force stand.

Aircraft came and went the whole day, and two successful Academy photoflights were made during the day. Among the highlights of the day was the visit of the P-51 Mustang who later in the evening joined the Warbird photoflight. Next to that, no less then 5 T-28’s appeared at the event, and a unique formation was flown in the afternoon, what an awesome sight and sound.
On Saturday evening the second Warbird photoflight took place and again the low sun above the horizon created awesome light on these precious pieces of aviation history. The day ended with a large barbecue on the terrace of the flyingclub.
The Sunday weather predictions announced possibilities for thunderstorms in the region around the airfield. This resulted in an early departure of some warbirds to avoid them being stuck. Fortunately thunderstorm stayed away, and it stayed dry for almost the whole day with only 5 minutes of light rain in the afternoon. The last Academy photoflight took to the air in the early afternoon which positively concluded the PhotoFlying Days 2011.
During the long weekend more then 200 aircraft flew to the airfield, and a new record was set with around 25.000 people visiting Malle during the weekend. On Sunday afternoon most aircraft took to the skies again heading homewards, and the airfield slowly returned to its normal pace. Hereby we would like to thank everyone of the organisation, the sponsors, the photographers, the many volunteers and all the aircrew for their help. Without the excellent cooperation of everyone, this event wouldn’t have been such a big success!! Thank you all.
Below is a wonderfull selection of the best photographs made by the 50 guest photographers who were present during the PhotoFlying Days 2011. It was hard to chose from as the quality standard is so high, so enjoy!

 
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