Squadron Exchanges 1976

8 till 17 March 1976

This month a squadron exchange took place between the German Navy MFG2, based at Eggebek and the French Navy 11F squadron, based at Landivisiau. It was a 2-way exchange. In total six Starfighters flew to France and six Etendards flew to Northern Germany. One of the aircraft seen at Landivisiau was 26+75 which received an 11F badge on its fin as can be seen on the photo beneath taken by Helmut Baumann in 1976.

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30 March till 8 April 1976

The Belgium Air Force 349 Squadron (1 Wing) based at Beauvechain exchanged with nr 43 Squadron, operating the Phantom FG.1 at Leuchars. It is unknown if the Phantoms flew to Belgium but at least the Belgium F-104s went to England. Aircraft seen at Leuchars included FX58 and likely aircraft FX25. Photo beneath by Pierre Schaffrath showing one of the "slivers" aircraft (likely FX25) being prepared for a mission from Leuchars.

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6 till 15 April 1976

This period a squadron exchange took place between the Royal Air Force 6 Squadron, flying the Jaguar aircraft, based at RAF Coltishall and the German Navy MFG1, based at Schleswig Jagel. It was a 2-way exchange. In total 6 Starfighters flew to the UK and 6 Jaguars flew to Germany.

11 till 20 May 1976

This period a squadron exchange took place between the Dutch Air Force 323 Squadron based at Leeuwarden, and the Italian Air Force 10 Gruppo based at Grazzanise flying the F-104S. It was a 2-way exchange . Dutch Starfighters seen at Grazzanise were F-104G D-8053, D-8110, D-8082, D-8293, D-8304, D8308 (323sq) and TF-104G D-5702 (TCA markings). At Leeuwarden four Italian Starfighters could be found being MM6823/9-43, MM6825/9-42, MM6826/9-44 and MM6878/9-40. All Dutch Starfighters received nice white 10 Gruppo badges on their tails. beneath a number of photos taken at Grazzanise (visitor platform) and Leeuwarden AB. The D-8053, D-8304 and D-8308 at Grazzanise thanks to Klaas Folkersma and MM6825 code 9-42, MM6826 code 9-44 by Gerrit Hiemstra and finally MM6878 code 9-40 by Gerrit Bouma. Both photos of MM6826 and MM6878 were taken on the arrival date May 11th.

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June 1976

This year a shifted squadron exchange took place between the Canadian 421 Squadron, based at Baden-Sollingen, flying the CF-104 and the Royal Air Force 17 Squadron, based at Bruggen, Germany, flying the Jaguar GR.1 aircraft. First eight Jaguars arrived at Baden from May 18th, lateron in June the CF-104 flew to Bruggen AB for their shift.

15 till 24 June 1976

This month a squadron exchange took place between the German Navy MFG2, based at Eggebek and the Norwegian Air Force 334 Skv, based at Bodo flying the CF-104. It was a 2-way exchange. In total six Starfighters flew to Norway and five CF-104s flew to Germany including CF-104D 104633. Seen at Bodo were RF-104Gs 21+25 and 21+29 (which received a yellow paintbrushed xx nr of flyinghours zapp at Bodo AB on its tail).
The biggest newspaper in Norway called VG (Verdens Gang) from June 1976 spent an article on this event (see attached, thanks to Tom Svendsen) They mentioned that this was the first time that a German squadron was allowed to stay for many days in Bodø due to political reasons. Previously only day visits were allowed. The photo shows that the German sqn leader Volker Liche was welcomed by German ground crew with a funny action using a red carpet, champagne and a parasol waiting for him.

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16 till 24 June 1976

This month a squadron exchange took place between the German Air Force WS10, based at Jever and the Belgium Air Force 350 Squadron (1 Wing) based at Beauvechain both flying the (T)F-104G Starfighter. It was a two-way exchange. The German Starfighters at Beauvechain were TF-104Gs 27+09 and 27+26 and F-104Gs 24+28 and 24+43. The four Belgium Starfighters in Jever were not identified yet but it is known that 8 Belgium pilots participated in Jever. Beneath a photo by Jean Luc Beghin via Serge Bonfond and also a photo via Col. Jean Buzin taken from a formation flight. Both were taken on June 23rd 1976, the day before departure.

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22 June till 1 July 1976

This period a squadron exchange took place between the German Navy MFG1, based at Schleswig Jagel and the Canadian 441 Squadron, based at Baden-Sollingen flying the CF-104. It was a shifted exchange. In total six Starfighters flew to Baden Sollingen and flew between 22 June and 1 July 1976, the Canadians came to Schleswig with six CF-104s lateron. They stayed at Schleswig between 3 and 12 August 1976.

8 till 16 July 1976

This month a squadron exchange took place between the Italian Air Force 18 Gruppo (part of 3 Aerobrigata), based at Villafranca and the USAFE 1 TRS/10 TRW, based at Alconbury, UK flying the RF-4C. It is unknown if it was a 1 or 2-way exchange. At least the following F-104G aircraft were seen at Alconbury: MM6514/3-08, MM6545/3-06, MM6565/3-11 and MM6586/3-03. Beneath a photo showing MM6565 at Alconbury (Klaas Folkersma collection).

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20 till 29 July 1976

This month a squadron exchange took place between the Royal Air Force 29 Squadron, based at Coningsby, flying the Phantom FGR.2 and the Dutch Air Force 322 Squadron, based at Leeuwarden flying the air defense version of the F-104G. It was a 2-way exchange where four Phantoms flew to Holland and an unknown number of F-104G aircraft to the UK. In Holland lots of DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) missions were flown. The Starfighter pilots had a hard time against the more agile F-4s. The tradition to burn a piano at the 29 Squadron premises ended almost in a disaster.

3 till 12 August 1976

This period a squadron exchange took place between the German Navy MFG1, based at Schleswig Jagel and the Canadian 441 Squadron, based at Baden-Sollingen flying the CF-104. It was a shifted exchange. In total six Starfighters flew to Baden Sollingen and flew between 22 June and 1 July 1976, the Canadians came to Schleswig with six CF-104s lateron. They stayed at Schleswig between 3 and 12 August 1976.

August 1976

This month a squadron exchange took place between the Belgium Air Force 42 Escadrille, based at Florennes, flying the Mirage 5BR and the Italian Air Force 28 Gruppo (part of 3 Aerobrigata), based at Villafranca flying the RF-104G. It was a 2 way exchange.

25 August till 3 September 1976

This period a squadron exchange took place between the Norwegian 331 Skv, operating the F-104G at Bodo and the Royal Air Force 23 Squadron, based at Wattisham flying the Phantom FGR.2. It was a two way exchange. Starfighters seen at Wattisham were 238, 239, 240 and 626. Beneath the three aircraft which flew missions on the 1st of September being 238, 239 and 626 (thanks to Adam Meijer). It was a shifted exchange where the Phantoms stayed at Bodo before the Norwegians stayed in the UK. Transport to Bodo was provided by RAF Short Belfast Hector XR365.

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14 till 23 September 1976

This month a squadron exchange took place between the Dutch Air Force 306 Squadron, based at Volkel, flying the RF-104G and the Danish Air Force 729 Eskadrille, based at Karup, flying the Saab RF35 Draken. It was a 2 way exchange where four Drakens flew to Holland. On September 20th an extra Draken came along. The Dutch aircraft flying to Karup were RF-104Gs D-8013, D-8112, D-8131, D-8273 and TF-104G D-5803. The pre-exchange toke place on August 30th, when a two-seater Draken Sk35XD came to Volkel. Photo beneath shows a Draken-Starfighter formation flight over Volkel in September 1976. (Photo: Frans van den Berk)

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20 September till late September 1976

This month a squadron exchange took place between the German Air Force JBG34, based at Memmingen flying the F-104G and the Dutch Air Force 315 Squadron, based at Twenthe flying the NF-5 fighter. It is unknown if it was a 1 or 2-way exchange but the 104s were seen for sure at Twenthe AB being F-104G 22+39, 22+44, 22+47, 22+63, 22+90, 24+57 and TF-104G 27+22.

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22 till 30 September 1976

This year there was a squadron exchange between the Belgium Air Force 23 Smaldeel (10 Wing), operating the F-104G from Kleine Brogel and Canadian Air Force 439 Squadron based at Baden-Söllingen, flying the CF-104. It was a one-way exchange. Only the Belgium Starfighters visited the Canadians in Germany.

28 September till 7 October 1976

This period a squadron exchange took place between the German Air Force JBG33, based at Buchel flying the F-104G and the Dutch Air Force 312 Squadron, based at Volkel  flying the F-104G as well. It was a 2-way exchange. Seen at Volkel AB were aircraft 20+62, 20+64, 22+03 and 25+52 and TF-104G 28+18. All belonged to the 2nd Staffel (blue badges). Aircraft 25+52 had a red badge, so this was used on loan probably. Dutch Starfighters which flew to Buchel AB were F-104G D-6695, D-8051, D-8245, D-8312 together with TF-104G D-5805. Beneath photos taken by Frans van den Berk of F-104G 25+52 with red JBG33 badges on its tail while landing at Volkel, a photo showing this 25+52 together with 20+64 and finally TF-104G 28+18 landing (two times). One year later this TF-104G was lost in a crash.

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October 1976

This year a squadron exchange took place between the Canadian 421 Squadron, based at Baden-Sollingen, flying the CF-104 and the Royal Air Force 3 Squadron, based at Wildenrath flying the Harrier GR1. It is unknown if it was a 1 or 2 way exchange but at least the Harriers flew from Baden in October (Patrick Martin / 421 Squadron information)

Unknown period in 1976

This year a squadron exchange took place between the Danish Air Force 726 Eskadrille, based at Aalborg, flying the CF-104 and the Italian Air Force 12 Gruppo, based at Gioia del Colle flying the F-104S. It is unknown if it was a 1 or 2 way exchange.

Unknown period in 1976

This year a squadron exchange took place between the German Air Force AG52, based at Leck, flying the RF-4E Phantom and the Italian Air Force 132 Gruppo (part of 3 Aerobrigata), based at Villafranca flying the F-104G. It was a 2 way exchange.

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