HOPSTEN FLYOUT: 15 December 2005
Because of its imminent closure in 2006, Hopsten Airbase honoured “Fluglehrzentrum F-4” one final time on 15 December 2005.
Always an impressive sight, a four Phantom formation box.
Several visiting units arrived in the morning for the official ceremony, including Belgian F-16BMs, F-4Fs from Wittmundhafen, and several Tornados from Schleswig, Nörvenich and Büchel. Also the CH-53s heavy helicopters from Bentlage paid there last respects to Hopsten with several formation fly-by’s.
Stopping a heavy Tornado on a soaking wet runway requires a lot of concentration.
Low and fast over Hopsten, Bentlage based Sikorsky CH-53G 84+75
The Belgian delegation was present with two F-16BM (FB-15 and FB-24) but unfortunately was the only foreign unit present at Hopsten. The expected Dutch F-16s and Swiss F/A-18s did not show up, most probably due to the very bad weather.
The Belgian delegation led by OCU CO Major "Patja" Stams arrives at Hopsten.
Although there was no public access to the base, lots of aviation enthusiasts turned up at the fence to see Hopsten Airbase’s F-4Fs one last time.
Around 15:20 the 6 F-4Fs started up their engines and performed several formation fly-by’s. Within the formation was JG72’s beautifully painted F-4F 37+11. Its colour scheme had been designed especially for the Hopsten Fly out ceremony.
Specially decorated F-4F Phantom II 37+11 performing a very "hot" take off.
The remaining aircraft at Hopsten will go either to Wittmund continuing flying, or to Jever to be scrapped.
Text and pictures by
Dirk Voortmans (12/05)
René Wilthof, informed us that on 20/12/2005 the last three Phantom's effectively left Hopsten for Wittmund. F-4F 37+11, the specially decorated machine will become a pole mounted gate guardian while 37-01 and 38+60 will continue to fly with JG71.
F-4F 37+01 taking off for its flight to Wittmund.
Last updated 23/12/05 18:00 Daniel Brackx