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Frisian Flag 2016
Location: Leeuwarden Air Base, Holland
Closest City/town: Leeuwarden, Holland
Spotters tickets: No (though a spotter's day is organized but only for locals)
Frisian Flag is an annually occurring NATO exercise that is hosted by the Leeuwarden Air Base in Holland. It contains a mix of planes from different countries and the 2016 exercise contained Dutch F-16, USAF (Air National Guard) F-15, Finnish F-18, German Eurofighters, French Mirage 2000D, British Tornados, a Norwegian Dassault Falcon and a Dutch C-130.
As this is an exercise, what you get are take-offs and landings, with a morning and an afternoon sortie and each launch/landing of all aircraft takes about 45 minutes. Leeuwarden Air Base is a pretty good place, when it comes to spotting possibilities, with the "Spotter's Hill" as the most popular place. It's recommended that you get there early, if you want a good spot. Bringing a ladder is also recommended as will help you get better pictures. A more detailed description of the spotting/photo opportunities can be found here: http://www.scramble.nl/airfield-guide/leeuwarden Please note that the event is a bit weather-pending and if the winds blow in the "wrong" direction", you end up seeing all take-offs and landing in the same direction. What you want, is westerly winds, so that they start from runway 23 which give you some nice photo opportunities from Spotters hill.
This was my second year at Frisian Flag and I must admit that three days is about as much as I needed, before it got a bit boring. It's the same planes taking off and landing and there aren't that many different angles/shots you can get.
One difference (improvement) from last year was that the parking arrangements were better this year, as a field close to the spotters area was used for parking. Parking costed €3.00 and it was a nice change from the parking chaos from last year.
Will I go back next year? Well, it depends on what aircrafts will be there but as this is one of the few flying events happening early in the year, most likely this will be my season start next year as well.