Oostwold (June 13th, 2011)
2011 is already the 6th consecutive (bi-annual) Oostwold airshow. Oostwold airport is a small grass-strip airport in the northern region of the Netherlands. It is a relatively “small” event, but they always seem to be able to attract some amazing aircraft. The airfield is owned by Tom Karst van der Meulen, who also owns the P-51D PH-PSI Damn Yankee.
Tom's father started a small crop dusting business in the Netherlands back in 1954. Came the 80s, his company was already one of the biggest crop dusting companies in Europe.
Stricter environmental legislation in 1995 was the cause of a serious setback in crop dusting over the Netherlands, so the van der Meulen family had to look for other means of business. Nowadays they maintain and restore aircraft, provide scenic tours over Holland, do all kinds of commercial and photo flights and offer skydiving services.
The P-51D Mustang was acquired in 1993 and began flying demonstration flights at several airshows. The first show at Oostwold airport was in 1999 and drew little public. The 2009 edition was already up to 15000 visitors!
No clear blue skies this year, but a great display sequence nevertheless.
The show always offers a whole array of aircraft and display teams. Although there were no jet displays this year, the organization more than made up for it in the number of warbirds present: 3 (three!) P-51 Mustangs, a Sea Fury, a Bearcat, a Spitfire and a Yakovlev Yak 3U.
First up on stage was the Fokker Four display team, showcasing some nice formation flying with 4 of the small Fokker S-11 tail wheeled trainer aircraft. Other aerobatic displays were provided by Daniel Ryfa in his Sukhoi Su-26, Frank Versteeg in the Extra-300, the Dutch Thunder Yaks with their Yak -52s, the Seagull Formation flying FWP-149Ds and a Saab Safir.
The Seagull Formation uses the Focke Wulf Piaggio 149D trainer aircraft. The team was founded in 1986 and they operate out of Hoogeveen.
Frank Versteeg has been competing in aerobatic championships from 1982 until 1994. He put on an excellent display in his Extra 300L.
Nevertheless it was the warbirds who really took this show to another level. First to display was the Sea Fury owned and flown by Frederic Akary. His Fury is an original Hawker Fury FB10 ISS (Iraqi Single Seater) originally intended for the Iraqi Air Force. Now, she's painted in the colors of the Royal Australian Air Force, who operated the type between 1949 and 1953. Frederic gave away a very high energy and spirited display in his Fury, battering the airfield fast and low from every direction and giving the public a bunch of topside views of his aircraft.
After the Sea Fury, the first of 3 P-51 Mustangs was due up. TF-51D Scat VII is owned by Jan van der Flier, but is regularly displayed at airshows by Frederic Vormezeele. It is a two-seater restoration of a single seat D-model, built around the serial plaque of Major Robin Olds' P-51D 44-72922. In its current configuration, it has full dual controls. As with the Sea Fury, Frederic Vormezeele treated the crowd with lots of photo passed, accented by the beautiful sound of the Merlin engine on each run-in.
The last editions of the Oostwold airshow are paired with a Stearman fly in, so it was only evidently that the AeroSuperBatics Breitling Wingwalker team was also present at the event. The Breitling Wingwalker team is the world's only aerobatic formation wingwalking team. Based in the UK, they are regular and welcome visitors to airshows both in the UK and abroad. They perform a breathtaking sequence of acrobatic manoeuvres, often a two-ship display, but the full team comprises of no less than 4 Stearmans.
Whilst the guys fly a series of manoeuvres, including loopings, barrel rolls and even stall turns, the girls are strapped on top of the top wing whilst twisting, turning and waving to the crowds below.
Next up was P-51D Mustang number two of the day, although the crowd had to wait until the early afternoon for it to arrive. Peter Teichman of Hangar 11, owner and pilot of the Mustang had flown a display in the UK earlier in the day, refueled, flown across the North Sea to Oostwold, landed, checked in with operations, refueled and displayed the Mustang in front of the crowd. An extremely busy day for Peter in other words! This did not show in his display though as he gave away an excellent show in the veteran P-51. This particular Mustang is a WWII veteran, having served with the famous Tuskegee Airmen Squadron and still wearing the battle scars of that time!
The third Mustang display of the day was given by Oostwold resident Tom van der Meulen in P-51D Damn Yankee. One would think that having 3 Mustangs over at the same event and having them all perform a solo display would become somewhat boring. The very opposite was through as all three pilots gave away a unique flying display, each of them adding their own twist. Always a nice sight for sore eyes…
Another addition from the other side of the Channel was The Old Flying Machine Company's Spitfire Mk. IXb MH434. It is perhaps the most famous of all Spitfires still flying today as it is still completely original and has never seen a full rebuild.
Last of the WWII “big gun” warbird to display was the Duxford based Grumman Bearcat, owned and operated by The Fighter Collection.
A great “on the moment” extra was a formation pass of the P-51D Jumpin Jacques, the Spitfire and the TFC Bearcat.
Between all of the low and fast WWII stuff, there was some tranquility in the form of a Tiger Moth formation, which was joined by a Piper Cub.
The DC-2 “Uiver” unexpectedly gave away one of the most beautiful displays of the day, making several high speed low passes and almost banking 90 degrees on run-ins.
To close the show, the Dutch formation team Thunder Yaks gave away a nice demonstration with 4 Yak-52s in tight forma-tion.
In the end, the Oostwold airshow organizers have, once again, succeeded in providing the crowds with a spectacular mix of displays. The small static display line was packed to its maximum capacity. See you all back there in 2013.