The NATO E-3 AWACS Component at Geilenkirchen Germany celibrated it's 30th anniversary with an Open House. Besides the aircraft there where also parades, music and other cultural events. We stick to the flying if you don't mind ! The Open House took place on the 16th and the 17th of June 2012. I thought it would be better to photograph the aircraft during arrival on Friday the 15th. Bad choice! Upon arrival at the spottersplace it was still dry but after a while it poored rain like hell. Dramatic weather. Only in the afternoon there where some dry moments. The last time I was at Gelenkirchen was the 2007 Open House. That was a great day with many interesting planes from 13 (!) different countries.

This time was different. Main reason are the cutbacks on Defence Budgets. We settled ourselves on top of the spottershill on the German side of the runway (the airbase is close to the Dutch/German border). There where a lot off spotters on that hill and we saw a lot off familiar faces.

The first aircraft to arrive was a Czech A.F. CN-295 which came in in heavy rainfall. Too bad. The next ones where a Dutch Alouette 3 and a German CH-53 from Rheine-Bentlage, which did a great low pass, together with a German Bo-105. After that a Polish CN-295 came in which meant that the all black Polish SU-22 Fitter serialed 305 would shortly arrive. It landed in very heavy overcast. After that great cold war relic a Norwegian Hercules arrived. Then the German invasion began with a Tornado IDS from Schleswig-Jagel, a F-4F from Wittmund, an EF-2000 Eurofighter from Laage and a C-160D Transall from Wunstorf. Furthermore a Belgian F-16AM with Tiger stripes, a Greek F-16D and a Danish F-16BM landed. To complete the F-16 invasion two Turkish F-16C's showed up. Also a Hungarian AN-26 and a civilian OV-10 Bronco (G-BZGK/'99+32') came in. The Bronco would crash just a month later in Kemble/England ! The last few planes where a duo of German WW-2 icons, a Messerschmitt Me-262 (D-IMTT/50124) and a Messerschmitt BF-109G (D-FWME). The last one to land was a USAFE C-130J from Ramstein.

So that concluded a very wet day but with some nice aircraft. So the final conclusion was that this trip was worth doing.