Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Serge Van Heertum, Jacques Vincent & Marc Arys - Translation: Marc Arys  İsbap 2020
 

The annual "Falcon Leap" exercise organized by Royal Netherlands Army 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade (11 Air Mobile Brigade) was held between September 7th and September 18th.
"Falcon Leap" was divided into two weeks with the first week (September 7th until 11th) dedicated to Cargo Delivery System (CDS) drops and the second week (September 15th until 18th) dedicated to the Para Jump Exercise (PJE).

Cargo drops can only be conducted on a few military installations and for the 2020 edition of the exercise both Deelen airbase (military reserve aviation terrain) and Oldebroek (artillery range 't Harde) were put in use. Three missions a day were scheduled with the airspace reserved in 'two hours' blocks: 10.00 - 12.00 / 14.00 - 16.00 / 18.00 - 20.00.
Both the French and USAF Hercules arrived the Monday September 7th. Because of bad weather conditions on Monday, the afternoon and evening missions were cancelled. On Tuesday and Wednesday all CDS drops were cancelled due to cloud ceiling. The French and Netherlands C-130's flew a local mission but the USAF Hercules departed back to Ramstein AB on Tuesday. On Thursday all three time blocks were used. The French KC-130J departed back home on Friday in the early afternoon.

The following week was dedicated to the para jump and the weather condition were pretty good to ensure all planned missions with 3, 4 or self's 5 aircraft together. Three missions per day were executed to the jump locations.
Except the members of 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade (11LMB - 11 Air Mobile Brigade) paratroopers from Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany and the United States took part in this para jump exercise.

Due to COVID-19 and for the first time in the history of the annually conclusion of the exercise the WWII Operation Market Garden commemoration didn't saw the traditional paradropping on the "Ginkelse Heide". For the same reason the RNLA and RNLAF decided to keep the information to a minimum in order not to expose the participating paratroopers and other personnel to non-participating people. Therefore, the maximum amount of paratroopers was 25 to 75 per aircraft and they were kept separate from the other airbase personnel and aircrew.

 
Welcome to Eindhoven Airbase
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Aerial view with the military side above
(Courtesy Eindhoven Airport media center via web)
 
Participating aircraft and units
 

Netherlands C-130H (c/n 4781) G-781 (336 Sqn) Eindhoven (25 years 336 Sqn special tail)
Netherlands C-130H (c/n 4988) G-988 (336 Sqn) Eindhoven
Germany C-160D (c/n D73) 50+51 (LTG 63) Hohn (1st week only)
Germany C-160D (c/n D103) 50+66 (LTG 63) Hohn (2nd week only)
France KC-130J (c/n 5890) 61-PR (ET 02.061) Orléans (1st week only)
Belgium C-130H (c/n 4476) CH-07 (20 Sqn) Melsbroek (2nd Week only)
United States C-130H (c/n 5619) 66-8611 (37 AS, 86 AW) Ramstein AFB (1st week only)
United States C-130H (c/n 5419) 95-6711 (130 AS, 130 AW) Charleston - Yeager AP, West Virgina
United States C-130H (c/n 5420) 95-6712 (130 AS, 130 AW) Charleston - Yeager AP, West Virgina
Czech Republic Short SC.7 Skyvan 3M (c/n SH.1932) OE-FDI (Pink Aviation Service lease) (2nd Week only)
Czech Republic Short SC.7 Skyvan 3M (c/n SH.1901) OE-FDK (Pink Aviation Service lease) (2nd Week only)
PZL-Mielec M-28-05 Skytruck (c/n AJE003-045) D-CPDA (PD Air Operation GmbH) (2nd Week only)
PZL-Mielec M-28-05 Skytruck (c/n AJE003-047) D-CPDC (PD Air Operation GmbH) (2nd Week only)

 
336 Squadron (NL) - LGT 63 (GE) - Escadron ET.02/61 (FR) - 20 Squadron (BE) - 37th Airlift Squadron (US) - 130th Airlift Squadron (US)
 
Early the morning, the Apron East is waiting for action
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
The A330 MRTT fleet was parked at the Apron West during the exercise
 (Serge Van Heertumİ)
The sun is coming
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Morning Hercules breakfast
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Stand by
(Jacques Vincentİ)
A first team preparing for a Special Forces jump
(Marc Arysİ)
Sits securely in the shoebox
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Skyvan start up
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Short SC.7 Skyvan 3M (c/n SH.1932) OE-FDI (Pink Aviation Service)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Short SC.7 Skyvan 3M (c/n SH.1901) OE-FDK (Pink Aviation Service)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
First mass jump of the day
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
First mission done, back to base
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Strange decoration, isn't it?
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Strange military operations combination...
(Marc Arysİ)
A second special forces jump will go
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Big smile...slurp!
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
PZL-Mielec M-28-05 Skytruck (c/n AJE003-045) D-CPDA (PD Air Operation GmbH)
(Jacques Vincentİ)
PZL-Mielec M-28-05 Skytruck (c/n AJE003-047) D-CPDC (PD Air Operation GmbH)
(Jacques Vincentİ)
PZL-Mielec M-28 is in fact the Antonov An-28 "Bryza" built in Poland
(Marc Arysİ)
First departure for the big anes
(Marc Arysİ)
Coming from Hohn airbase
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Crossing the Atlantic Ocean to take part of Falcon Leap 2020
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Take off for the learder
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
the Luftwaffe as number 2
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
And the USAF as number 3
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Arrival of the Belgian Air Force CH-07
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Took part on the exercice the wednesday 16/09 only
(Marc Arysİ)
Taxi to the Apron East
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Relaxing on the cargo door
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Lockheed C-130H (c/n 4476) CH-07 (20 Sqn) Melsbroek airbase
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Coming in for a tactical break: Koninklijke Luchtmacht
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Luftwaffe
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
USAF West Virginia Air Guard
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Final on the runway 22
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
(Serge Van Heertumİ) (Serge Van Heertumİ)
(Serge Van Heertumİ) (Serge Van Heertumİ)
(Serge Van Heertumİ) (Serge Van Heertumİ)
Taxi to the Apron East to pick up the second wave of paratroops
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Wainting the next mission
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
A special visitor
(Marc Arysİ)
Lockeed Martin F-16A Block 20 MLU J-508 (c/n 6D-147) currently attached to the 313 Squadron
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Mission accomplished for the M-28
(Marc Arysİ)
Back to the assigned parking
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Same for the second one
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Time for a refueling
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Partroopers waiting to get into the assigned plane
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
And here we go for the second wave
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Lockheed C-130H "Hercules" (c/n 4988) G-988 Koninklijke Luchtmacht (336 Sqn) Eindhoven airbase
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
C-160D Transall (c/n D103) 50+66 Luftwaffe (LTG 63) Fliegerhorst Hohn
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Lockheed C-130H "Hercules (c/n 5420) 95-6712 USAF ANG (130 AS, 130 AW) Charleston - Yeager AP, West Virgina
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
In line take off
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
(Serge Van Heertumİ) (Serge Van Heertumİ)
(Marc Arysİ)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Arrival of an Hellenic Air Force visitor
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
It was just for a night stop...
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Lockheed C-130H "Hercules" (c/n 4622) 741 Hellenic Air Force 336 MTM Elefsis Airbase
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Taxi to the assigned parking
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Closed for the rest of the day
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Next M-28 mission
(Jacques Vincentİ)
For the second one also
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Back to base and they will make a third mission
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Same for the venerable Transall
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
And for the West Virginia ANG also
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
One more Skyvan mission
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Boarding of he third wave
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Little technical problem for the USAF C-130H
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Back to base with the paratroopers on board
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
One more jump mission done for the "India"...
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
...and same for the "Kilo"
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Third jump mission accomplished...
(Jacques Vincentİ)
...back to base after an heavy day
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Military and civilian
(Marc Arysİ)
Landing priority
(Marc Arysİ)
The sun plays with the metal sheets
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Sunset flight flight above Eindoven on 18/09 to commemorate the "Market Garden" operation during World War II
 It was a reduced edition of "Falcon Leap" exercise, let's hope that 2021 will allow better opportunities
(Courtesy KLU media via webİ)
 

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