An aircraft spotter used to be a very busy person, collecting as many registrations and/or pictures of aircraft as possible. When we were young, we used to spend a lot of our free time waiting outside the fences but close by the runways of Eindhoven Air Base . NL (also) hoping to spot some non/resident aircraft . Sometimes we were lucky, very often not. During holidays we therefore undertook many travels to nearby air force bases such as Volkel and Kleine Brogel (Belgium) or further abroad, where we could satisfy our needs. You can find the results of these activities under the titles “Aircraft-Spotting by lucky chance“ and “Arrival Days Spotting & other certainties“.
IMPORTANT NOTE : until the Seventies of the last century aircraft-spotting near military airfields could be a tricky hobby and even to-day there are countries where the authorities do not appreciate this kind of activities , so let this also be a warning to you !
A special celebration was organized by 314 squadron at Eindhoven AB on December 21st , 1970 to bid fare-well to the Dutch Thunderstreak and say hello to the Northrop NF-5. There were three surprises : parts of a Dutch F-84F were symbolically burnt and from the ashes arose an NF-5. Secondly there was the taxy-by of an F-84F painted up in gaudy “flower-power” colours and last but not least the last official flight of a Dutch F-84F. Hans was present as one of the photographers. (special thanks to Mr.R. Martaré for making this visit possible!)
In August 1970 RAF Alconbury , U.K. (now closed) was the home of the 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing (USAFE) , equipped with McDonnell RF-4C Phantoms . Hans and Frank visited the base during that month on different days , via official invitation and as aircraft-spotters. (special thanks to Mr. A. Wever, who was Hans’ travel-companion at the time)
In August 1970 (on different days) Hans and Frank made a trip to the U.K. to visit several USAFE -air bases , both via official invitation and in the quality of aircraft-spotters. One of the locations visited was RAF Mildenhall , which was – and still is -the main facility in the U.K. for USAF & USN -air transport operations. The “PG” and “”SR”-coded C-130 Hercules a/c were on deployment from the U.S. at the time. This is a photo-report.
In June 1970 Eindhoven AB saw a flock of Swedish Saab 105s coming in; a group of registered spotters (including Frank and Hans) was permitted to take a closer look. The Saabs were accompagnied by a Dakota and a Hercules and made an overnight stop on their route to the Paris Air Salon.
The very first Military Aircraft Spotting Days in Holland were organized on October 20th & 21st , 1969 at Eindhoven AB. At the end of the sixties the growing number of spotters was taking more and more pictures from outside the base , so the authorities chose for a simple solution : invite them all and let them take as many photos as they want to. In later years spotting days became more common . In 1969 Hans took his first colour pictures , which was still relatively expensive at the time. Our Thunderstreaks Album contains more (B&W) pictures of this Base Visit.
Hans made a number of pictures outside the fences of Gilze Rijen AB (NL) in the course of years especially of U.S. aircraft during deployments but also of other types in their landing patterns.
In the case of deployments it was still not certain beforehand if he would be successful and if yes to what extent.
A selection of these images are or will be included in this gallery.
In 1970 Hans and Frank made a trip to the U.K. albeit separately and visited several USAFE air bases and took a lot of pictures , most of them “near the landing lights”.
The pictures in this gallery are just a selection and some of them were certainly not easy to take!