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Fighter Pilots Call 2006
 
by: Ron Kraan and Frank Peters
History..
callart_1.gif (43402 bytes)September 2005 saw the opening of an exhibition dedicated to "Jachtvliegers" (Fighter Pilots) in the Military Aviation Museum in Soesterberg the Netherlands. This exhibition shows the history of fighter pilots during the years, starting with the first pilot (flying the French made Farman plane and dressed in leather) to the modern day F-16 pilot dressed for operations in Afghanistan.

One of the invitees to the opening was former Netherlands Air Force Brig. Gen. Steve Netto. He noticed in the museum that aircraft and flight gear were well preserved. But the stories off brave actions, silly stunts, crashes and lost friends, were nowhere written down. Steve decided to do something about that omission in history. While collecting stories for the book he planned, he learned that these fighter pilots would like to have some sort of meeting. It was time for the first ever Fighter Pilots Call in the Netherlands!

The way to the Call..
Friday the 8th of September 2006 was set as the date this unique Call had to take place. Over 1300 (former) fighter pilots were tracked down and around 600 planned to attend, including some female jet jocks.

Flightgear Online was invited to take part in the festivities at the airbase as being one of the major contributors to the "Jachtvliegers" exhibition. HUD and Venz designed an appropriate patch, which was being produced and to be handed out to the pilots.

A week before the Call, Frank and me checked out the big hangar were the party was going to happen. Not really necessary to us, but the hangar chief told us the big helicopters inside would be moved out before the Call…..

callart_2_tn.jpg (33266 bytes)callart_3_tn.jpg (31448 bytes)callart_4_tn.jpg (24418 bytes)
Left and middle: Exhibition of flightgear and an ejection seat provided by the Flightgear Online team. Right: A bit of current flightgear

The Call in full effect..
The Friday started out early when a RNLAF truck picked up our items. After arriving at Soesterberg AB, we unloaded our items and started to build up our exhibition. Consisting of two mannequins (one F-16 and one F-104 pilot), 5 coveralls, 4 helmet sets, 1 ejection seat (F-86K), several decorated helmet covers and some small artifacts.

At 14:00 hours, a large group of participating (former) pilots met at the Military Aviation Museums "Jachtvliegers" exhibition. Around 16:00 hrs, most people found their way to Hangar 1 at Soesterberg airbase with the busses provided by the organization. The first patches were given to the pilots and the beer started to flow. The conversations were interrupted by the sound of a jet engine when a F-16BM landed and taxied close to the Hanger. The Fighting Falcon brought the team coach and a crew chief of the RNLAF F-16 display team.

16:45 sharp, the Solo Display F-16AM with tail number J-055 made a low pass over the runway. Everyone inside "scrambled" outside to watch the impressive display. After the display, the pilot and coach entered the hangar and we had a small talk. The rest of the afternoon and evening was filled with stories, songs, drinks and a good meal. Around midnight we drove home.

 We are proud to have been a part of this Pilots Call.

 

"Venz" /  "Hud" / "Bluelight" flightgear on-line 2002/2007