From 13th till 24th of April the annual exercise Frisian Flag in Northern Holland was held

again. The aircraft operate from Leeuwarden Air Base and this year the

participants came from Finland, Germany, Spain, Poland, USA and of course

the Netherlands.

The Finnish Air Force and the Spanish Air Force came with F-18 Hornets, the

German Air Force brought their EF-2000 Typhoons to the exercise, the Polish and

Royal Netherlands Air Force participated with F-16 Fighting Falcons and USA

participated with F-15 Eagles from the Florida Air National Guard.

The UK-based firm Cobham was also present with a Falcon 20C.


During the first week we visited Leeuwarden Air Base for 2 days to see the fighter jets which participated for Frisian Flag. They flew 2 missions each day, one before noon and one in the afternoon and each mission consisted out of ± 40 aircraft so there were enough possibilities to make some nice pictures from the aircraft when they taxied by, lined up, took-off and landed. On the second day we were there we even had the luck to see a visit from a Finnish Air Force PC-12NG and the German Air Force sent an extra Typhoon to Leeuwarden.

Since a couple of years there is also another exercise held simultaneously with Frisian Flag. This exercise is called the European Air-to-Air Refueling Training or EART and the aircraft that participate in this exercise fly from Eindhoven airfield. This exercise works very closely with the

participants from Frisian Flag because the tanker planes that participate in EART refuel most of the participating planes from Frisian Flag. This year the participating countries for the EART were Germany with an A-310 MRTT, Italy with an KC-767A, the Netherlands with KDC-10 and France with a C-135FR. During the first week of Frisian Flag and EART, Tim Van den Boer visited Eindhoven airfield for one day to catch the tanker fleet. Sadly the Italian tanker hadn’t arrived yet because it only participated during the second week. But all the other tankers luckily flew when we were there. When the tankers came back after their mission it was nice to see that, when they were about to land, they first performed a brake above the field instead of coming in via ILS.

Frisian Flag is an interesting exercise with a nice number of participating countries and aircraft and is worth visiting each year. That the exercise is held at Leeuwarden Airbase is a nice asset because the spotting possibilities at this base are very good.

And like already mentioned earlier in this report, it is also nice to see that the EART-exercise takes places during the same period as Frisian Flag which makes the Netherlands the place to be during the two week long exercise.

Text: Tim Van den Boer

Photography: Tim Van den Boer, Dirk Geuns, Lien Lamberts