2021 Through the lens of Tim Van den Boer


My first encounter with the new special painted F-16 for 31 “Tiger” squadron was also immediately a picture I had hoped for to make somewhere over the lifespan of this new special paint scheme.

Another picture I had already had in mind for a couple of years was one of a topside pass from a Belgian Air Force C-130H. I really had to wait to capture that shot till one of the final months of operational life for this old workhorse. This picture is made at the “Burenkijkdag” that was held at Kleine Brogel on Friday the 10th of September. 

Sanicole always succeeds in bringing some special or unique displays/aircraft to its annual airshow. This year I attended the sunset airshow and although I’m predominantly interested in military aviation, the Sanicole Sunset Airshow has surprised me the last couple of years with some awesome civilian airshow acts. This year they once again managed to surprise me with this display from a Grumman G-164A Ag-Cat from the Swedish Scandinavian Airshow “Catwalk” Wing Walkers team.

This year 2 spottersdays were organized at Kleine Brogel. One on the Saturday during the Sanicole airshow and another one on Monday when aircraft that participated at the Sanicole Airshow and the XTM celebration event returned back to their homebases.

Undoubtedly the most spectacular departure came from the TLG-74 pilots. I choose to include this picture of their special painted flagship in my top 10 as it was a departure every spotter hopes for during a spottersday, a nice and low topside pass.

Another shot that I choose was also made on the spottersday at Kleine Brogel on Monday. As I have a soft spot for Tornado’s I just had to include this one from the TLG-51 Tornado that departed Kleine Brogel. Shame that its wingman had problems and had to stay behind at Kleine Brogel. 

A picture from chance in progress. An overview shot from the military apron at Eindhoven when the RNlAF still operated the KDC-10, although it were the last few weeks. And its successor, the A-330MRTT, that’s already taking up most of the platforms’ space. 

Besides Sanicole Sunset airshow and the spottersdays at Kleine Brogel, the only other big event that I attended in 2021 was the SAR-meet that was held at Koksijde Airbase. Although the spottersday that was organized there was quite enjoyable, I made the nicest pictures during sunset and during the departure day. One of those pictures is from this Norwegian AW-101 resting on the platform on the night before its long flight back to its homebase.

One of the few positive things about the Covid-pandemic is that I did some little daytrips that I normally wouldn’t do. An example of this is visiting the GLV-5 nearby Eindhoven Airport. It’s a military area where also the DHC helicopters often train their low flying and brownout/confined landings. This picture is made during my last day of aviation photography in 2021 and what an awesome, action packed day it was. One of the many visitors at the GLV-5 that day was this CH-47F Chinook pulling up in front of us after a low fly-by.

On the same day that I made the previous picture, we also had a visit from a Cougar that entertained us for quite some time. Besides numerous low fly-by’s it also hovered nicely above the heath. 

To end my top 10 of 2021, I include my actually very last aviation photo that I made in 2021. It’s an F-16BM that just landed at its homebase Kleine Brogel on a late, sunny winter afternoon.

This is also a picture I had in mind for quite some years so I was very happy that I could end 2021 with this one in the pocket. 

Text & Photography: Tim Van den Boer