Squadron Exchanges 1981

10 till 19 March 1981

This month German Navy MFG2, 1st Staffel, from Eggebek, flying the RF-104G exchanged with the Italian Air Force 132 Gruppo, based at Villafranca, flying the F-104G. It was a two way exchange. Four German RF-104Gs flew to Villafranca and four F-104Gs (Iikely with Orpheus recce pods) flew to Eggebek.

7 till 15 April 1981

This month the Dutch Air Force 311 Squadron from Volkel AB, flying the F-104G, exchanged with the Italian Air Force 155 Gruppo, based at Istrana, flying the F-104S. It was a 2 way exchange where the Italians flew to Holland with four Starfighters. being MM6741/51-34, MM6744/51-35, MM6795/51-50 and MM6919/51-51. The two Starfighters MM6741/51-34 and MM6798/51-52 paid a pre-visit to Volkel AFB on March 2nd, 1981. The Dutch Starfigthers which flew to Istrana AB were D-8104, D-8244, D-8256 and D-8266. During the exchange all Italian Starfighters received 311 squadron badges on their noses which gave them a strange appearance. On the other hand, the Dutch Starfighters were zapped at Istrana with lots of paintbrushed panther claws.....The Dutch aircraft also participated in shooting exercises near Istrana, such as on April 13th. Photos beneath show All four F-104S Starfighters in formation over Volkel Air Base flying home again on April 15th (Eric Tammer), Another formation photo during the leave to Italy (Carlos Geurts), F-104S MM6744 code 51-35 while landing at Volkel on April 14th. with a big 311 squadron badge beneath the cockpit. (Carlos Geurts), Italian MM6795 code 51-50 landing together with Dutch Air Force D-8114 at Volkel. (Hans van Zeeland) and finally a photo showing D-8104 showing the 155 Gruppo zap (Jorgen Knizia). Finally two color photos taken at Istrana Air Base by Daniele Mattiuzzo showing the Dutch D-8256 and D-8266 taxying out of their used shelters for another bombing mission on the nearby range.

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Early till 15 May 1981

This month the Danish Air Force 723 Eskadrille from Aalborg AB, flying the F-104G, exchanged with the Royal Air Force 5 Squadron, based at Binbrook, flying the Lightning F.6. It is unknown if it was a 1 or 2 way exchange but at least two participating Danish Starfighters were seen on pictures being R-349 and R-699. During this exchange they decided to use JP-8 fuel for the first time on the F-104s due to limitations of availability of JP4. However it was very hard to get 104s started using this fuel and on the day the aircraft would fly back to Denmark it went wrong with R-349. While being started flames came out of the back covering the complete aft fuselage. This was horrifying but afterwards did not result to any damage to the aircraft gladly. (Photo by OS Richard Strube). On the photos beneath you see flames out of R-349 during engine startup at Binbrook on 15 May. (Photos by Richard Strube and 723 Eskader). Also a photo of F104G R-699 taxying to the runway at Binbrook. The nr 5 squadron has put their squadron badge on the F-104 tail which looks quite pretty. (Photo Jos van Nes)

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26 May till 4 June 1981

This period a squadron exchange took place between Italian Air Force 23 Gruppo from Rimini, flying the F-104S, with the Dutch Air Force 312 Squadron at Volkel AB flying the F-104G. Four Italian Starfighters came to Volkel. Participating aircraft at Volkel were MM6805/5-40, MM6708/5-42, MM6869/5-43 and MM6731/5-44. The two aircraft MM6826/5-31 and MM6767/5-45 paid a pre-visit to Volkel on April 28th, 1981. The Dutch Starfighters which went to Rimini were D-6695, D-6699, D-8268, D-8281, D-8312 and D-8337. Photos beneath show MM6805 with code 5-40 arriving at Volkel on May 26th. (Photo Eric Tammer) and two photos taken by Hans van Zeeland showing MM6869 with serial 5-43 wearing a 312 squadron badge on its tail and MM6731 with code 5-44 (and another S) while waiting for Dutch Air Force D-8138 taking off.. Also a photo showing D-8337 at Rimini.

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28 May till 4 June 1981

This period there was a squadron exchange between the Belgium Air Force 23 Smaldeel (10 Wing), operating the F-104G from Kleine Brogel and Royal Air Force 43 Squadron flying the Phantom FG.1 from Leuchars, Scotland. It was a two-way exchange.

2 till 12 June 1981

This period German Navy MFG1 from Schleswig-Jagel, flying the F-104G exchanged with the French Navy squadron 11F, based at Landivisau flying the Super Etendard. It was a two way shifted exchange where the French flew to Germany with three Super Etendards already in April and the Starfighter flew to France in June.

15 till 19 June 1981

This month there was a squadron exchange between the Dutch Air Force 306 Squadron from Volkel AB flying the RF-104G, with USAFE squadron 1 TRS/10 TRW, based at Alconbury AFB. It was a 2 way exchange In total 6 different RF-4C aircraft were seen at Volkel these days and the Starfighters which flew to the UK were: D-8013, D-8065, D-8066, D-8133 and TF-104G D-5803.

June 1981

This month a squadron exchange took place between Italian Air Force 12 Gruppo from Gioia del Colle, flying the F-104S, with the German Air Force WS10 (1st Staffel) based at Jever AB, flying the F and TF-104G. It was a two-way exchange. Four Italian Starfighters came to Jever but they could not be identified. One of them run off the runway after an emergency landing (hydraulic failure) on 15 June 1981 damaging the aircraft. Also the serials of the German Starfighters to Gioia are unknown.

7 till 16 July 1981

This year there was a squadron exchange between 156 Gruppo from Gioia del Colle, Italy with the Canadian CF-104s of 421 Squadron based at Sollingen. It was a shifted exchange. First the Italians came to Sollingen with 4 Starfighters and later on in October the Canadians flew to Italy. Seen at Sollingen were MM6759/36-34, MM6915/36-41, MM6785/36-44 and MM6921/36-45. Photos beneath show a the participating Italian Starfighters at or over Sollingen Air Base, by Peter Doll.

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16 till 24 July 1981

This month a squadron exchange took place between Turkish Air Force 192 Filo (within 9 AJU) based at Balikesir AB, flying the F-104S, with the German Air Force JBG32 based at Lechfeld AB. Five Turkish Starfighters came to Lechfeld being 6896/9-896, 6897/9-897, 6902/9-902, 6903/9-903 and 6904/9-904. There was a photocall on the 21st of July 1981 and these 5 aircraft were heavily photographed that day by many aircraft enthousiasts, some examples beneath showing all the four participating aircraft on the flightline. Some believe also F-104S 6900/9-900 has been at Lechfeld but we still need confirmation. Maybe it came later or has returned back earlier than the other five.

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25 August 1981 till 3 September 1981

This month there was a squadron exchange between 21 Gruppo from Cameri, Italy with 29 Squadron at Coningsby flying the Phantom FGR.2. At least the Starfighters came to Coningsby, 4 in total. Pre-exchange toke place at Coningsby on 20 August 1981 by MM6850/53-10 and MM6935/53-15. The participating aircraft during the exchange were MM6850/53-10, MM6717/53-12, MM6935/53-15 and MM6825/53-20. A C-130H Hercules transport aircraft with serial MM61994/46-08 came over as well.

3 till 11 September 1981

This month there was a squadron exchange between 22 Gruppo from Istrana, Italy with 20 Squadron at Bruggen flying the Jaguar GR.1. Four Starfighters came to Bruggen in this 2-way exchange. Pre-visit was on 13/14 July 1981 by MM6764/51-04 and MM6706/51-10. On 3 September 1981 the first two Starfighters landed at Bruggen (MM6764/51-04 and MM6775/51-06) and on 4 September the two others (MM6737/51-16 and an unidentified F-104S). Also C-130H Hercules MM61994/46-07 came to Bruggen, arriving already on 2 September.

October 1981

This year there was a squadron exchange between 156 Gruppo from Gioia, Italy with the Canadian CF-104s of 421 Squadron based at Sollingen. It was a shifted exchange. First the Italians came to Sollingen already in July while in October the Canadians flew to Italy. Sadly we do not have any serials of aircraft seen at Gioia.

Unknown period in 1981

This year there was a squadron exchange between the Italian Air Force 102 Gruppo from Rimini flying the F-104S, with French Air Force squadron EC 2/3 based at Nancy and flying the Mirage IIIE. It is unknown if it was a 1 or 2 way exchange.

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