Squadron Exchanges 1980

21 till 30 March 1980

This month there was an exchange between the Dutch Air Force 311 Squadron based at Volkel AB, flying the F-104G and the Royal Air Force 5 Squadron based at Binbrook flying the Lightning. It was a 2 way exchange where four Lightnings came to Volkel AB, one of them was replaced by another Lightning on the 24th. On March 21st six Dutch aircraft flew to Binbrook being D-8047, D-8048, D-8244, D-8257, D-8258 and D-8266. Two aircraft (D-8257 and D-8258) received 5 Squadron markings on their tails. Also one Lightning received 311 Squadron badges in return. (Note: It is very likely that one of the Dutch Starfighters has been replaced by D-8022 at the end of the exchange since it was noticed on photographs) Beneath some photos, Line up of Dutch Starfighters and English Lightnings at Binbrook. Note the 5 Squadron markings on the tail of two Starfighters. Aircraft in front are D-8022 and D-8047. (Photo: Documentatie Group Volkel Typhoon), Photo taken at Volkel Air Base showing one Lightning fighter together with two Starfighters just before the break.. (Hans van Zeeland) and finally Photo taken at Volkel Air Base showing one Lightning fighter together with two Starfighters on the runway. (Hans van Zeeland).

9 till 18 April 1980

This month the Belgium Air Force 350 Squadron (1 Wing) based at Beauvechain AB, flying the F-104G, exchanged with Italian Air Force 9 Gruppo based at Grosseto flying the F-104S. It was a 2 way exchange in which four Italian Starfighters flew to Belgium. One of them was F-104S MM6809 code 4-5 as can be seen on the photo beneath thanks to Serge Bonfond.

10 till 18 April 1980

This month there was an exchange between the German Air Force JG71 based at Wittmundhafen AB, flying the F-4F Phantom and the Italian Air Force 10 Gruppo based at Grazzanise AB flying the F-104S. It is unknown if it was a one or 2 way exchange but at least the Starfighters flew to Germany with 4 Starfighters including F-104S MM6811 code 9-46. Sadly the other 3 serials are unknown. Lateron MM6811 was seen carrying JG71 markings, likely received these during this exchange. Photo beneath was taken at Wittmundhafen Air Base, showing the MM6811 (Photo: Riccardo Vestuto)

28 April till 8 May 1980

This year a squadron exchange took place between the Dutch Air Force 306 Squadron, based at Volkel AB flying the RF-104G and Portugese Air Force (Força Aérea Portuguesa) Esquadro 103 based at Monte Real AB flying the T-33A. It was a 1-way exchange where Dutch Starfighters flew to Portugal. The aircraft were D-8107, D-8138, D-8273 and one unknown TF-104G. Transport was flown by Fokker F-27M Troopships from 334 Squadron (C-6, C-8, C-11, C-12). The starfighters flew to Portugal via Istres AB in France where they made a fuelstop.

May 1980

This month there was an exchange between the USAFE 50 TFW based at Hahn AB, flying the F-4E Phantom and the Italian Air Force 21 Gruppo based at Cameri AB flying the F-104S. It is unknown if it was a one or 2 way exchange but at least thee Starfighters flew to Germany. Sadly the serials are unknown.

6 till 16 May 1980

This month the Danish Air Force 723 Eskadrille based at Aalborg AB, flying the F-104G, exchanged with Italian Air Force 22 Gruppo based at Istrana flying the F-104S. It was a 2 way exchange. Four Danish Starfighters flew to Istrana being F-104G R-341, R-645, +unknown and CF-104D RT-654. Postcard beneath was found on Ebay.

27 May till 5 June 1980

This period there was an exchange between the Dutch Air Force 322/323 (645 composite) Squadron based at Leeuwarden AB, flying the F-104G, and the Belgium Air Force 1 Squadron based at Bierset flying the Mirage 5BA. It was a 1 way rotation. Four Mirage aircraft arrived at Leeuwarden the 28th of May. Beneath a picture of both teams at Leeuwarden during the event. The reason for this was the fact that the squadron in Holland was very busy converting to the new F-16 aircraft.

28 May till 6 June 1980

This month German Air Force JBG33 (likely 1st Staffel) based at Buchel, Germany, flying the Starfighter, exchanged with a French Air Force squadron (EC 2/13 or EC 3/13) based at Colmar flying the Mirage 5F. It is unknown if this was a one or a two way exchange.

19 till 26 June 1980

This month MFG2 based at Eggebek, Germany, flying the Starfighter, exchanged with French Navy squadron 11F based at Landivisiau flying the Super Etendard. It was a 1 way rotation where four RF-104G recce Starfighters flew to France.

2 till 11 July 1980

This month a squadron exchange took place between Hellenic Air Force 336 Mira "Olympus" from Araxos AB, flying the F-104G, with the Dutch Air Force 312 Squadron at Volkel AB flying also the F-104G. Four Greek Starfighters came to Volkel but did not fly much mainly due to the weather conditions. On July 4th only two Greek Starfighters flew a mission and on July 7th all Greek Starfighters flew a mission and that was it.. Participating aircraft at Volkel were TF-104G 62-12278/TF-278 and F-104Gs 62-12317/FG-317, 63-12715/FG-715 and 63-12720/FG-720. On June 19th the TF-104G 62-12278 visited Volkel AB for a pre-visit and stayed the night. The Dutch Starfighters which flew to Greece were D-6668, D-6681, D-8063, D-8282, D-8308 and two seater D-5807. Beneath a photo taken by Eric Tammer of Aircraft FG-715 and FG-317 lining up on the runway of Volkel Air Base on July 7th. Another photo shows 63-12715 landing at Volkel. Also two photos taken at Araxos (thanks to Andreas Staveris Polikalas).

16 till 25 July 1980

This month there was an exchange between the German Air Force JBG31 (1st Staffel) based at Norvenich AB, flying the F-104G and the Italian Air Force 156 Gruppo based at Gioia del Colle AB flying the F-104S. It was a 2 way exchange where four Italian Starfighters flew to Germany being MM6747/36-37, MM6789/36-42, MM6909/36-51 and MM6838/36-55. Beneath some photos. First thee (thanks to Peter Doll) show Italian Starfighters MM6909/36-51 and MM6789/36-42 flying formation with one of the Norvenich Starfighters over the Eiffel area. And also a photo showing F-104S MM6909/36-51 taxying at Norvenich. Next three photos (thanks to Gunter Grondstein, taken on July 23rd) show a nice line up of two German and two Italian Starfighters, a landing shot of the F-104S MM6909/36-51 and finally a taxy shot of F-104S MM6789/36-42.
The German aircraft seen at Gioia were F-104Gs 20+48, 23+40, 23+74, 24+03, 26+30 and TF-104G 27+24. The Commander was Staffel kapitän (Squadron Leader) Major Jertz. In Italy, on July 17th, Hptm Burmann and HFw Reifenrath planned a TF-104G trip to the Etna. During the take-off they encountered a bird hit and they had to break off the start….entering the cable with the hook. Everything finished ok. After the technicians had checked the aircraft carefully the aircraft was soon declared OK again and the two German pilots could again take off for the Etna. Beneath also three photos of German aircraft taken at Gioia by Helmut Baumann. It shows 20+48 and 27+24 taxying at Gioia and also a nice fly farewell photo taken during the departure of all aircraft back to Germany.

18 till 28 July 1980

This month 23 Gruppo from Rimini, Italy exchanged with RAF 19 Squadron based at Wildenrath and operating the Phantom FGR.2. It was a 2 way exchange where at least four Italian aircraft were seen at Wildenrath being MM6942/5-35, MM6805/5-40, MM6714/5-41 and MM6767/5-45. On July 4th two F-104S aircraft made a pre-visit. They were MM6792/5-15 and MM6942/5-35. Beneath pictures showing MM6805/5-40 holding for another mission (by Michiel Vogelpoel) and a picture showing MM6942 code 5-35 and MM6767 code 5-45 in front of a shelter at Wildenrath (by Peter Doll) and a photo showing the 5-40 taxying out for another mission following 5-41 seen in the background (by MJ Gerards). AMI Support on the 18th July was done by C-130H MM61994/46-08 of Gruppo 50. The Phantoms flew to Rimini also on the 18th of July.

4 till 14 August 1980

This period 331 Skv and 334 Skv from Bodø AB, Norway, flying the F-104G and CF-104, exchanged with RAF 17 Squadron based at Bruggen flying the Jaguar GR.1. It was a 2-way shifted exchange. First the Jaguars visited to Norway from July 22nd till 30th. and from 4 till 14th of August the Starfighter flew to Bruggen for their shift. The 331 Skv brought F-104G 633, 785 and TF-104G 263 while 334 Skv brought CF-104 717, 759 and 850. Transport was performed by Norwegian C-130 957 which arrived July 22nd. Beneath photos of aircraft 633, 717, 263, 759 and 850 and finally a photo showing the Norwegian 104s on the Bruggen runway during their departure back home on August 14th. All photos thanks to Hans van Zeeland. The formation photo was made by Bjørn Nybø. (Information thanks to Hans-Jürgen Breuer)

11  till mid August 1980

This month German Air Force JBG34 based at Memmingen AB, flying the F-104G, exchanged with RAF 41 Squadron flying the Jaguar GR.1, based at Coltishall. It was a 2 way exchange. Seen at Coltishall were for example TF-104G 27+27, 27+39 and F-104G 26+13 (see photos beneath thanks to Peter Mühlböck). A formation of five Jaguar jets arrived at Memmingen on August 11th, so it looks like this is the day that the exchange started (picture thanks to Heribert Mennen). The German Starfighters were zapped by Coltishall personnel as can be seen on the fuselage and tiptank fins.

15 till 29 August 1980

This period a squadron exchange took place between the Canadian Armed Forces 441 Squadron, based at Baden-Sollingen AB (but temporary from Lahr AB due to runway maintenance at Sollingen), operating the CF-104 Starfighter with the USAF 32TFS, flying the F-15C at Soesterberg. It is unknown if this was a 1 or 2 way exchange but at least a large group of Starfighters came to Soesterberg being: CF-104D 104658 and CF-104s 104743, 104747, 104762, 104776 (arrived August 18th), 104806, 104835, 104841, 104859, 104873, 104883 and 1o4899. On August 27th aircraft 104835 and 104899 made a visit to Leeuwarden Air Base. One extra information to note is that aircraft 104859 was lost during this event on August 27th. It crashed in the North Sea off the island of Terschelling, Holland, during practice bomb delivery on the range. The pilot Major Rob W. Porter safely ejected. It happened at 13.40 PM local time. It was No. 3 in a 4-plane section flown out of Soesterberg. Aircraft was on a 5 degree, 500 knot, flap up (BDU-33) delivery at Noordvaarder Range, Terschelling. As the aircraft reached bomb release point parts were observed to be coming off the aircraft. The aircraft rolled 100 degrees left then rolled back level and the pilot ejected at approximately 100-200 ft AGL and 400-450 knots. Parachute opening and water entry were almost simultaneous (1 second). The pilot landed 1-2 km off shore and was picked up by Royal Netherlands Air Force Alouette III SAR helicopter 5.5 minutes later.  See more information on our 1980 accidents page here. Beneath some pictures, first shows 104806 still carrying the C code applied during the 1980 Tactical Air Meet and 2nd picture shows unlucky 104859 which was taken on the day that it was lost during the morning mission, and so very unique (thanks to Peter Elzinga).

Summer 1980

This month the Royal Air Force 15 Squadron based at Laarbruch, Germany, flying the Buccaneer S.2B, exchanged with German Air Force JBG32 (1st Staffel) based at Lechfeld flying the F-104G.  It was a one-way exchange, no F-104G to Laarbruch.

27 August till 5 September 1980

This period MFG1 based at Schleswig Jagel, Germany, flying the Starfighter, exchanged with Royal Air Force 29 Squadron based at Coningsby flying the Phantom FGR.2. It was a 2 way exchange where five F-104G Starfighters flew to the UK and the Royal Air Force brought five Phantoms to Germany as well.

5 till 15 September 1980

This month the Canadian Air Force 439 Squadron based at Baden-Sollingen AB, flying the CF-104 exchanged with the Danish Air Force 725 Eskadrille at Karup flying the F-35 Draken. It was a shifted exchange where the Drakens first were flying from Sollingen from June 13th with 5 aircraft and the Canadians flew to Denmark in September with 8 Starfighters.

13 till 23 October 1980

This month 155 Gruppo from Istrana, Italy exchanged with the Belgium 23 Smaldeel (10 Wing) at Kleine Brogel AB still flying the F-104G. Italian aircraft seen at Kleine Brogel on the 14th of October were : MM6837/51-32, MM6749/51-41, MM6835/51-42 and MM6944/51-55. It was a two way exchange, sadly the serials of the Belgium Starfighters at Istrana are unknown.

14 and 23 October 1980

In September 1980 the Dutch Air Force 316 Squadron at Gilze Rijen AFB paid a visit to Villafranca with a number of NF-5 aircraft. In October 1980 the Italians from 28 Gruppo paid a visit back to Gilze Rijen with four Starfighters being MM6504/3-44, MM6535/3-47, MM6582/3-35 and MM6595/3-36. All together this makes it a 2-way delayed exchange. Beneath a photo by Pieter Groenendijk showing 3-47 and 3-44 landing at Gilze in October and a photo showing the MM6595/3-36 during take off.

20 till 28 October 1980

This month the Canadian Air Force 421 Squadron based at Baden-Sollingen AB, flying the CF-104 exchanged with the Royal Air Force 31 Squadron, operating the Jaguar GR.1 at Bruggen. It was a 2 way shifted exchange. First the Jaguars visited Sollingen in June and in October the Starfighters visited Bruggen. The Starfighters arrived the 20th at 15:10 in the afternoon in a 4 and 3 ship close formation. These were 104706, 104749, 104761, 104790, 104848, 104865 and two-seater 104658. All Starfighters did not have any squadron markings while the two-seater had 439 squadron markings. All were in the new grey color scheme except 104706, 104865 and 104658.  On the 21st CF-104 104847 (no markings and green) arrived while both 104706 and 104865 flew back to Sollingen but returning again the next day. On the 23rd again new aircraft arrived being 104788 and 104824 (both grey). The 1o4824 left the same day again together with 104706, 104790 and 1o4865. The 104706 arrived back at Bruggen on the 27th. Finally the available CF-104s at Bruggen finished their exchange on the 28th and flew back to Sollingen. Crew ferries were performed by CT-133 133069 on October 22nd and an unknown CT-133 on the 27th. (Information thanks to Hans-Jürgen Breuer)

24 October till 3 November 1980

This period 154 Gruppo from Ghedi, Italy exchanged with RAF 3 Squadron based at Gutersloh flying the Harrier GR3 aircraft. At this RAF airbase in Germany the Italians participated with 4 aircraft : MM6532/6-03, MM6559/6-06, MM6546/6-10 and MM6558/6-24. It is unknown if the RAF aircraft also flew to Italy. Beneath a photo taken at October 28th showing MM6559 code 6-06 and MM6532 code 6-03 over Gutersloh with one of the based Harriers. Also a picture of aircraft 6-03 on the flightline (W. Zetsche).

3 till 11 November 1980

This month the Danish Air Force 726 Eskadrille based at Aalborg AB, flying the CF-104 and F-104G, exchanged with German Air Force JBG32 (2nd Staffel) based at Lechfeld flying the F-104G. It was a two-way exchange where 6 Starfighters flew to Germany and 6 Starfighters to Denmark. Aircraft participating at Lechfeld could be R-703, R-646, R-647 and RT-684 because these aircraft were all seen afterwards zapped with 2nd Staffel badges. German aircraft at Aalborg are still unknown today.

Unknown period in 1980

This year a squadron exchange took place between the French Air Force EC 1/3 and EC 2/3, both based at Nancy, flying the Mirage IIIE and the Italian Air Force 132 Gruppo, based at Villafranca flying the F-104G. It was most probably 2 way exchange but we still need confirmation. While both EC 1/3 and EC 2/3 were involved, it is unknown which unit went to Villafranca and which unit hosted 132 Gruppo in Nancy.

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