Yakkes Foundation Column and Blog

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Texel fly-out

For the first time in the history of Yakkes, we had to cancel an event, and than especially the one we were looking forward the most to, the Texel Fly-inn 2006. Texel always gives you a feeling like coming home. It’s the scenic or perhaps the hospitality of Ed de Bruin, anyway it was a pity to cancel. The Red Yak was still in Bonn Hangelar which I suppose to pick due to Nicole having a cold, the Camouflage Yak still had a technical problem, the blue Yak’s owner had other things to do and I could not fly the white one because I had to pick up the Red one in Bonn Hangelar. After all we could not go anyway due to the weather at Sunday.

Asking me dad to drop me of at Bonn Hangelar with his Mooney, gave me the opportunity to fly with him again since a long time. It was quite well, 78 years old and still flying like a razor blade, I’ll sign for that one.

Bonn Hangelar did look quite different as the week before, no VIP tents, all companies were in action, actually a quite busy airport in a very nice area. Last time I could not see the scenic due to the poor weather conditions, if you have the opportunity to go there, please do so.

Due to circumstances I decided to fly the aircraft to Budel EHDB this time, approaching Budel in a sporty kind of way gave me a couple of complains of the local neighborhood, boy they should come to spend a couple of days at our home base in Belgium, than they would know what an aircraft sounds like… what a %*&^#sss.. !!

Anyway not feeling to welcome, I was planning to do as much as damage control I could do and get the aircraft out of there ASAP, which actually was the next morning. The aircraft could be hangared that night, thanks Inge! I could have flown directly to our home base, but the 8 minute flight would not give me the satisfaction for the day. I knew there was a fly-inn with my friends at Zoersel EBZR, one of the most beautiful airfields in Belgium. I did not have to convince my passenger to much to go there, so off we went inbound Zoersel.

Sorry, no photo source available

Good fly-inn, pretty busy considering the weather. A lot of stands, old cars, aircrafts and off course those fat juicy hamburgers! Had one of those and off we went to Sanicole. Lining up at Zoersel, ATC requested me to conduct a low approach at the airfield. If you know Zoersel, they’ve got those fire lanes all over the field. I did not know were ATC wanted us to do the low approach at which altitude, so I did it everywhere through the fire lanes just to be sure and as low as possible not to disturb any local people… We are not the worst guys around !

Scared the hell out of this guy, zooming through his camera

Home sweet home, the Red Yak is in his stable now, waiting for maintenance next week.

Btw, did find some footage of Peter (one of the Yak flyers) having fun at Bonn Hangelar flying the B25 this time, enjoy: click it !

Talk to ya soon,


From a Yakkes volunteer

Hi, I am a Yakkes ground crew member.
I came in contact with Yakkes through the Atcbox forum. I made a donation to join them and a short time later I was invited to assist the ground crew at the first airshow of 2005. We had a lot of fun with the guys and girl of the crew. The Yakkes crew is also very close with the Duke of Brabant Air Force, the Dutch Classic Wings, Hanno T-6 and lots of other friends. It's always a good laugh.

The very special thing about the Yakkes ground crew is that we are always hanging around at our aircraft during airshows. We always try to be as close as possible to the crowd.

The main reason for this is to have interaction between the crowd and Yakkes. The public is free to ask any questions and we will always try to answer them as best as we can. There are folders and stickers available with information about Yakkes and their aircraft.
We also have the items from our Online Shop available there. A very special thing is the poster signed by the pilot, the children are always very fond of it. There are already hundreds of Yakkes posters hanging in childrens bedrooms. It's also possible to join the Yakkes Foundation.

Hope to see you soon at one of our airshows, feel free to stop by!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Flashing end of Bonn Hangelar

The airshow at Bonn Hangelar was a success with a sad end. The Camouflage Yak cancelled due to a technical problem, so we only had two Yak's to go to Hangelar. We were supposed to get airborne at 1400 hrs on Friday, to rendezvous overhead Belgium with the B25 Mitchell and to proceed via Maastricht tower to Bonn Hangalar. 100ft overcast and thunderstorms overhead Sanicole made a short story of this plan, too bad. As you know, the major part of flying is often waiting, waiting and then more waiting. Eventually the weather cleared at about 1800 hrs and we finally got airborne. The Mitchell was already in Germany.

So we had a pair of Yaks, me taking the lead, proceeding via overhead (actually below) Maastricht tower, on a direct course to Bonn Hangelar. We reckoned that if could continue this flight as planned, we could have dinner and a beer at 1900 hrs. We did not even had breakfast that day.
With only 7 more minutes to go and, a line of CB's, darker than dark loomed directly in front of us No way I would have taken my wingie into this crap. Overhead the "Old Crow", P51D was heard, is suffering from the predicament. However his high airspeed and greater range afforded him to reach destination along a more southern route. I decided to return to Maastricht, and boy what a hospitality. They fully understood our sad faces, and they were delighted to get two Yak 52's at Maastricht for the first time. We have had a bite to eat, a couple of drinks and fell down in bed. Next morning, yeahaaa, rain again, however with a slightly higher overcast, allowing us to continue to EDKB were we arrived at 1100 hrs.

Gennady Elfimov had arrived with the airliner the day before. He flew his first display at 13.30 hrs, and of course, he was a huge eye catcher, according to the AAAhhh and OOOhhh crowd. The show continued with a real nice demo of the B25 Mitchell, some very impressive glider demo together with a Suckhoi. What an energy management! And how bloody fast were those 450kts low passes of Frédéric Vormezeele with his P51D.

Once I had an air show at the Dutch Groningen which was very well organised. Everybody who visited that particular air show still speaks about the organisation and luxury where the air- and ground crew could bathe in. However It was nothing compared with Bonn Hangelar, this was class AAA, or SUPER as the Germans say. An unbelievable VIP place to stay, a huge Saturday evening party with live music, VIP dinner, entertainment, you name it, and it was there! Thanks Bonn Hangelar.


The organisation was quite impressed by the demo of Genna and asked him to perform two more displays on Sunday. to which he agreed. The weather was a bit better and the spectator numbers increased till approximately 15.000, however too few to cover expenses of the show.

But at least it was better than Saturday. After the second demo of Genna, hell broke loose. In the distance I saw a huge very, very dark cloud approaching. I told the ground crew to scramble ASAP and get into the VAN immediately. Initially they did not hurry much, however a lightning impact at the far end of the airfield was sufficiently convincing.

Once in the VAN with 7 souls, there was an impact only 70 yards away from us into the crowd, rendering 19 people seriously injured and causing the tragic dead of one spectator. The authorities took control over the airfield which made us stay put with our aircraft until Monday, no way to get out.

A tragic end of a very well organised Classic Wing Airshow...

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