Again Spottertrips.eu was present during exercise Anatolian Eagle 2016 at Konya in Turkey.
The 2015 report can be found HERE.
With a very mixed group of up to six different nationalities (Belgium, Netherlands, Malta, Germany, UK and USA) , we were ready for the spotterdays.
Unlike in 2015, they’ve changed the registration system for the spotters, but again that didn’t go smoothly.
An email with a list with some of our participants was missing, so that 6 people of our group were still not in possession of their barcode 1 week before departure, that gave them access to the base during the spotterdays.
So after sending a number of emails and personal calls to get everything right, everyone received their ticket at only 6 days before the event.
Like in 2015, this trip was also offered in different packages to make it more accessible for everyone in terms of price and or vacation days. People could choose from 1 day (free to choose), 2 days (free choice) or the full package of 3 days .
Each package was provided with bus transportation to bring people to and from the airport. They could also choose to departure from different airports towards Istanbul.
On Tuesday June 7th we left with a group of 4 people from Brussels Airport and a group of 10 people from Schiphol towards Istanbul.
But Turkish Airlines had been cancelled many flights after booking the airlinetickets and rebooked them for our group, so the people who left from Belgium landed at Istanbul Ataturk Airport and people with departure from Schiphol were flown to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen, which lies on the other side of town .
At Istanbul Atatürk the people who flown in on their own from Germany and Malta were already waiting to join the group.
Due to the rebookings from Turkish Airlines, both groups arrived therefore at different times at the Konya airport where the bus was waiting patiently to get everyone to the hotel.
At 06h00 everyone was already present for breakfast and 45 minutes later we drove with our bus to Konya AFB, home of the 3ncu AJEÜ.
They had put so much work in their new registration system, but nevertheless it didn’t went as smoothly as they expected.
After 3 times to be send around the waiting room, they finally started checking the names and the material.
Luckily it was more fluent on day 2 and 3.
Participating countries this year were: Saudi Arabia (Tornado), Pakistan (F-16), Turkey (F-16, F-4, B737 AEW&C), the Netherlands (KDC-10) and NATO (E-3 AWACS)
Wednesday June 8th
The weather forecast for day 1 didn’t look very promising.
Cold for the time of year and a chance of rain.
And so it began, overcast with a cold wind that gave us a wind chill of 15 degrees.
Most of us didn’t really feature this cold weather and many spotters were walking around in shorts and t-shirt with short sleeves.
Fortunately, we could warm us a little a bit with the hot air coming from the engines of passing aircraft.
But the closer we got to the afternoon, the more clear skies and we could warm us at the sun breaking through the clouds.
We were then taken to the other side of the field by coaches during the lunch break of the pilots, so we got the sun in the back to take pictures during the afternoon.
But we saw no Saudi Tonka’s and or Turkish Spooks :(.
Thursday June 9th
Day 2 was identical in terms of weather as Wednesday.
But there were fewer shorts and short sleeves to see ;).
But fresh weather disappeared for many spotters like snow in the sun at the sight of the Turkish Phantoms who took part in the morning mission, the only mission for that day.
Nice surprise just before we were taken to the other side was the arrival of a Saudi A330 MRTT tanker aircraft.
After this landing we were again brought to the other side of the field, just in time, because there was a Turkish A400 inbound to land.
For the rest there was almost no flying activity during the whole afternoon till around 17h00 when most of the aircraft departed to their homebases.
Friday June 10th
With the participation of the F-35 Lightning II at the Open Days at Leeuwarden, a part of the group already left us early Friday morning to return home.
But they might haven’t done that, if they had know that we started the day with very beautiful weather and with later in the morning the arrival of up to two interesting airplanes, namely a Jordanian Il-76MF and a Saudi KE-3A (707-300) tanker. We also finally saw the Saudi Tornadoes in action, which returned to their home country.
Despite the fact that there were already left quite a few planes on Thursday (Italian Tornados, Turkish F-16s and F-4), and on Friday morning the Pakistani F-16’s while everyone was still outside the base, we certainly weren’t bored.
However, they may try to improve some things, but we’re confident that this will happen.
Spottertrips.eu also wants to thank the people who participated in this trip for their trust and cooperation to make this trip to a good end.