Air Defender 2023

Early 2023 Robert and I discussed the plans for 2023. At first we thought about visiting an airshow somewhere in Europe, but a few days later my eyes fell on a message about an exercise in Germany with rumours of A-10s participating. Schleswig-Jagel was the place to be, a name that brought me back to my teenage years as the first model I ever built was a Tornado from the Marineflieger, based at: Schleswig-Jagel.

So I started preparations, booked a flight and hotel, arranged some bikes and soon it became clear this was not just some exercise: this was going to be big! 

We arrived at Schleswig in the late afternoon on Tuesday and concluded flying activity was still ongoing, in the distance we saw A-10s doing a circuit well over 6pm. And with the excellent weather predicted we were anxious to get going. 

The next morning we collected the bikes, did some shopping and went on our way. And as soon as we arrived at the base we were treated to our first Tornado, the one with the special markings too! 

After some location scouting we settled at the fence and had a blast with all the take-offs and landings. Then activities died for a while and we decided to move to another spot to be better placed for the direction of the sun in the late afternoon.

After a long day in the sun we went back to the hotel for dinner and beer, what a start!

We planned to travel to Rendsburg in the afternoon on Thursday and since the weather was a bit less in the morning we decided to stay on the east side of the base. Not the best spot to be, but I managed to get some nice shots.

When we dropped our bags in the hotel in Rendsburg we went for a walk towards the enormous Rendsburger Hochbrücke. That steel giant, built in 1913, is impressive and the floating Schwebefähre sure is something you have to see. 

On Friday we went to Hohn airbase, or Fightertown Hohn as it could be called. Thanks to a tip from a Dutch spotter over breakfast we found an awesome spot next to the runway. A spot close enough to feel the afterburner in your stomach.

An added bonus was that we could witness the preflight checks and although there was a constant threat of rain, we kept dry for most of the day. 

The day started slow, but at the end of the day almost all aircraft had been in action. Air Defender 2023 sure ends up in my top 5 of spotter trips!

The small digital camera mounted on top of my Sony Alpha recorded some moving images as well. The quality is average at best but it gives a nice impression with sound and moving images.

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