People and animals were shocked yesterday when F-16s flew over the Wildlands Zoo in Emmen from less than a hundred meters above the ground. According to the Air Force, these are important training flights for prestigious instructor training.
Eric van Oosterhout, Mayor of Emmen, calls low-flying fighter planes irresponsible over his town and Wildlands. “I understand the Royal Netherlands Air Force needs training, but flying fighter jets very low over a crowded zoo is irresponsible,” he wrote on Twitter.
His annoyance is widely shared by the inhabitants of Emmen and Drenthe. “La Défense does what it wants”, growls Johan Roland. “The air force should train, but not 20 meters above populated areas. It’s downright antisocial and it has to stop. Twitter user Eddechien filed a complaint. “They flew very low over my house. Now I have a beep in my ear.
The Royal Netherlands Air Force says it regrets the inconvenience and calls it regrettable. “Of course we try to avoid inconvenience as much as possible and we understand Mayor Eric van Oosterhout,” said Jayme Tol, spokesman for Leeuwarden Air Base.
Incidentally, the F-16 flew over at a height of about 80 meters, he explains, no lower. “But if you’re in the zoo watching the tigers and out of nowhere you see and hear F-16s flying overhead, it quickly seems our fighter jets are flying just 20 yards above,” Tol admits.
He underlines the enormous importance of the low-flying F-16s to the Department of Defense. The exercises take place as part of our Weapons instructor course, where our most talented pilots and those from Belgium and Norway are trained in tactics, weapons systems and air combat. They determine our tactics in our missions in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. It is very important for us, we are investing a lot in it.
In the first block, from late May to mid-July, the pilots trained for aerial combat in the North Sea. “In the second block which started this month, we are training with ground targets,” spokesman Tol said. ,, We simulate how you can take out targets with the on-board pistol. It is necessary to fly low from all directions.
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Normally, the Royal Netherlands Air Force does this at the training grounds at Vliehors in Vlieland and at Lauwersoog (Marnewaard) in Groningen. “However, sometimes we need more areas to practice. One of the few places where this is possible is above Emmen. We have always been allowed to fly there.
The Royal Netherlands Air Force says it is very cautious about thefts. “A few years ago, we did it for countless days, this year just Thursday and today.” He acknowledges that a number of complaints have been received. “One can imagine that, such a fighter plane makes a lot of noise for those who are not used to it.”
Nonetheless, the Defense promises to evaluate the exercises and see if Emmen Zoo can be skipped next time. The Wildlands vet was also contacted. “We spoke to him. The policy is to avoid nuisance for citizens as much as possible. “At the same time, our fighter pilots will have their final exams in three weeks.”
In the meantime, not all residents of Emmen and Drenthe have enough of the low-shear F-16s. “Everything will be fine, but at least I enjoyed it,” Brian Roeten replies to Mayor Eric van Oosterhout’s tweet. “And thunderstorms are also very frightening for some people and some animals. We can’t turn this off either. Start worrying if these devices are coming from hostile territory and are unresponsive.
By the way, attentive readers will wonder why the fighter jets at Leeuwarden Air Base are F-16s and not F-35s. After all, Leeuwarden Air Force Base recently waved goodbye to its latest F-16 fighter jet with much fanfare.
“Normally, we only fly from Leeuwarden with the new F-35s,” Tol teaches. “But as the Royal Netherlands Air Force, we still fly F-16s from Volkel in Brabant and will continue to do so until 2024. That’s why we also use a few F-16s for our instructor training. weapons. During the training period, the F-16s will still fly from Leeuwarden after all.
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