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Sanicole Sunset & International Airshow

Hechtel-Eksel, 16-18 September 2011

The small airfield of aeroclub Sanicole near Leopoldsburg in Belgium would be unknown to most, if it weren't for the annual airshow there. In 2011, the show was held for the 35th time, on the 18 of September, 2 days after the second Sanicole sunset airshow.

Make sure to play videos in high definition (720p) and full screen for maximum effect.

The sunset show was being held for the second time and has already established itself as one of the highlights of the season. Even with more greyish conditions than 2010, the Sanicole Sunset Airshow 2011 offered superb photographic opportunities.

The Belgian F-16 had to cut its display short as night officially started while it was performing and therefore had to return to Kleine Brogel. With darkness completely set in, the US Army Golden Knights closed the sunset show, which had also seen performances by Melissa and Rex Pemberton, The Blades and Breitling Wingwalkers. There had aready been plenty of flare action with the Czech Gripen and Dutch Apache, a setpiece commemorating the 70 anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor including pyrotechnics and surprise fireworks from the Aerobatic Yakkers.

If you have never seen an evening show before, the Sanicole Sunset Show is just one of those things you have to see at least once, and you will wonder why you never visited it before.



The Sunday daytime airshow saw these acts performing again, but there was plenty more to see of course, with no less than 7,5 hours back-to-back flying action. The main act, Patrulla Aguila, had sadly seen itself forced to cancel a few days before the show as the leader's mother had died, but this did not diminish the quality of the show. From the Verhees Delta to the giant Airbus A330, from the Piper PA-28s of Formation Team the Victors to Soloturk, Sanicole had a little bit of everything to suit all tastes.

Wind conditions did not allow the Bleriot XI of the foundation Vroege Vogels to take to the air, but they did some engine runs to show this gem from the earliest days of aviation. A nice touch to get this foundation over to present themselves.

As always, Sanicole's show ran smooth as clockwork, not only in the air but also on the ground, providing an excellent visitor experience from the moment visitors arrived on the parking. Delays were minimal, catering in the now firmly established catering courts with tables and benches plentiful and no annoying side-activities like funfairs or music concerts.

This is an aviation event pur sang and long may it continue!


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Report by Chris Janssens

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Lay-out and content by Chris Janssens, 2005 - present