Four years ago two dutch F-16’s made a planned stop at Schiphol International Airport. The Royal Netherlands Air Force got acquainted with the regulations on a big international airport like Schiphol and also civil parties got acquainted with militairy fighterjet operations because of this visit.
Lessons learned from four years ago were needed on the 10th of june 2020, when Schiphol became the temporary home of a Dutch F-16AM fighterjet which suffered a birdstrike during a trainingflight and made precautionairy landing at Schiphol Airport.
After the F-16 landed, using its dragchute, it taxied towards a huge runup area between runway 22 and 27. After some checks it was towed into hangar 3 owned by Jetsupport.
The F-16AM with serial J-631, belonging to the 322 sqn based at Leeuwarden needed a new engine after some inspections.
The next day, june 11th, was used to get the new engine and other materials at Schiphol. Security at Schiphol is and was tight and brought some issues to get transport vehicles and militairy personel into restricted areas without any pre warning.
June the 12th was the day to change the engine and in the early hours of the day security issues got solved by personel of the Militairy Police working at Schiphol Airport and militairy personel were able to enter restricted areas without any problems. Four hours were needed to remove the old engine from the Viper and replace it with the new engine. Because all kind of mechanics were on site, the F-16 was able to make a testrun around 13:00 at the runup area. After the testrun which was a succes the F-16 was towed away and got parked at parkingspot K35 at Schiphol-East. The F-16 pilot ” Rebel ” was the lucky one to fly the Viper back to its homebase. Not fully known with the procedures at Schiphol, Rebel got some help of a Follow-Me driver explaining the procedures which are being used at Schiphol and Schiphol airspace.
After startup and cleared by the crewchief, the F-16 followed the Follow-Me car backtracking runway 22 and 24 to get its takeoff position. Rebel got runway 06 for its takeoff and after selecting full afterburner the F-16 went airborne and made a succesfull landing at Leeuwarden some time later. With some 50 flying hourse on the Viper it will not take long before the F-16 will be withdrawn from use.
A big operation was needed to get this wounded bird home again and although all of this happend at a civil airport with lots of parties involved, it resulted in a succesfull operation and cooperation between the ministery of defence and all civil authorities of Schiphol Airport, just pure Teamwork.