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F-117A NighthawkWhere? Holloman AFB, NM, USA
When? 26-28/10/2007

2008 will be the last operational year of the unique F-117A Nighthawk. Last year 25 years in service of this remarkable Lockheed construction and an accumulated 250.000 flight hours were celebrated at Holloman AFB, NM in partnership with the X-Prize Foundation. This years Holloman Air and Space Expo (HASE) was most probably the last possibility for the public to see several F-117s before their retirement in April 2008. During the event an estimated crowd of 85.000 visited Holloman AFB.

Scheduled for the week-end of October 26-28, 2007, HASE was build up around the X-Prize Competition at Holloman F-117 in the Static DisplayAFB and seemed to be the perfect starting point for my trip to the US, of which more will follow later in the 'Trips' section.

The F-117A Nighthawk was the aeronautical highlight for the fans and its presence dominated the show, let alone that a 3-ship formation of this aircraft is surely not a common sight at other airshows. This was unfortunately only presented on Saturday, as only 2 aircraft took off on Sunday for the role demonstration. During this display the aircraft took off, showed several formation fly-bys and then splitted up to cross the show center at exactly the same time from different direction. A tactic commonly applied during combat and an impressive sight to see this precision.

Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk - Static Display & Details

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unique photo opportunity in front of F-22 and F-117Compared to aircraft developments nowadays the one of the Nighthawk unbelievable fast. After the contract award to Lockheed Martin in 1978, their Advanced Development Projects, the "Skunk Works," brought an aircraft based on completely new technologies to the first flight after only 31 months on June 18, 1981. Deliveries of 59 aircraft then took place between 1982 and 1990.

The first sorties were flown during operation desert storm, and afterwards it saw action in nearly every other war the USAF was participating in. And its history of action might not have been finished yet, as the airshow commentator mentioned each day during the show that "you never know when this aircraft will strike again for our nation"...
This, however, remains highly unlikely, as the first 10 aircraft have been flown into storage to Tonopah in 2006, and the last ones followed on April, 21st 2008, bringing the Nighthawk's era to an end.

F-117 Flight Display & Role Demonstration

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Meiringen WK 2017

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Meiringen Swiss Air Force WK 2017
Where? Meiringen, Switzerland
When? March 2017

Alpine Base Meiringen offers a gorgeous setting The airfield is nestled in a small valley in central Switzerland in the canton of Bern. Surrounded by mountains that partly rise up vertically for several hundred meters it is challenging flying terrain, but provides plenty of photo opportunities. Meiringen is the home of the Swiss Air Force's Fliegerstaffel 11 "Tigers", one of Switzerland three F/A-18 Hornet Squadrons, and is also home to the militia Squadron 8 "Destructors" ("Vandalos"), flying the F-5E Tiger II.

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Nyutabaru Air Festa 2012

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Nyutabaru Airshow 2012
Where? Nyutabaru, Kyushu, Japan
When? 02/12/2012

The annual airshow at Nyutabaru is always a safe bet to see some amazing aerial displays of the JASDF. Three Squadron, either equipped with F-4EJ Phantoms or F-15(D)J Eagles, amongst them the nicely painted Aggressors, assure a stunning and varied display even without any other participants flying in from other airfields.

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Phantom Pharewell Photo Phlight

(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

Luftwaffe / WTD61 F-4F Phantom II air-air
Where? Bavaria, Germany
When? 07/2013

The months of June and July 2013 saw the final operations of German F-4F Phantoms. With Jagdgeschwader 71 "R" at Wittmund officially putting Luftwaffe Phantom operations to an end and handing over the QRA task to the Eurofighter, the two Manching-based Phantoms were the last German examples to soldier on for some more days. During those final days also arose a unique photo opportunity - a Phantastic "Phantom Pharewell Photo Phlight"!

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