GliderFX were thrilled to be invited back to Volkel, near Eindhoven and close to the German boarder, home to one of the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s biggest F16 bases.
The Volkel in de Wolken (Volkel in the Clouds) Airshow is away from the airbase on farmland near the town and is one of the biggest and longest running civilian air displays in Holland.
The Air Base, like so many others can trace its history back to the Second World War when the Luftwaffe constructed the airfield and used it both for aircraft and to launch V-1 flying bombs against allied targets.
The Dutch show is similar to many in UK with a spread of local teams, military jets and aerobatic aircraft, but with two fundamental differences. The Dutch display separation distances dictate that nothing may come closer than 150m from the crowd and the crowd line itself is marked with 8ft high security fencing that must detract from the view of the display.
The challenge for the glider team is to get the display equipment to the display site. In past years we have towed the glider by road and aerotowed across the Channel. The decision is complicated by the Airbase being closed the day before the show so Ian Gallacher and Paul Moslin joined the French Captens and positioned to the Goch-Asperden aeroclub in Germany.
This year we introduced banner towing to Volkel and had to be slightly creative with our Dutch “WELKOM” due to a mishap with our last letter “K”, and opened the show with the message “WELCOME BIJ VOLKEL IN DE WOLKEN 2011”, 36 x 5ft charters.
The 15-25kt winds made the banner pickup a challenge for Paul Moslin but the heroes of the day must be Paul Johnson and Ian Gallacher. Paul raced from the Southend airshow to bring the banner equipment by road along with our smoke oil supply and his cameras. Ian made the same journey in the Fox, clocking up over 7.5 hours on aerotow over the weekend in some strong winds and turbulent conditions
Particular thanks must go to Display director Hans van der Werf and deputy Wout Peterse who personally greeted the team at Goch, coordinating both hangar space and hotels.