Articles

My work has been published in aviation magazines around the world since 2008. Below are some examples for which I did both the writing and the photography.

Feel free to download some of my work in PDF format for non-commercial purposes or read a selection of the article on this website.

Dirk Jan de Ridder

FIRE BOSSES & SUPER SCOOPERS

Croatian Air Force CL-415

Dirk Jan de Ridder spent a week with the pilots of the Croatian Air Force’s Firefighting Squadron, who are among the most respected in their field.

An action-packed week shooting the Croatian Air Force’s firefighting aircraft at a variety of photo spots, with the pilots flying exactly according to instructions given to them over radio by the deputy squadron commander, who accompanied us every day. My first taste of the aerial firefighting role and definitely not my last!”

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Training NATO's Finest

Royal Canadian Air Force CT-155 Hawk

Dirk Jan de Ridder visits NATO Flying Training in Canada, where military pilots from around the world are trained.

“My photo flights with the Hawks of NATO Flying Training in Canada rank among the best I have ever made. Rarely do all photos turn out exactly as -or even better than- planned but they did in Canada. Two four-ship sorties were made to take all photos and have the opportunity to improve, translating into publications that exceeded everyone’s expectations.”

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Flying Psychologists

Swedish Air Force Sk60B

The Swedish Air Force Flying Training School at Malmen air base near Linköping might have created the world’s most efficient military pilot training system, despite flying a very old platform in the Sk 60, as Dirk Jan de Ridder reports.

“When it comes to pilot training, the Swedes do almost everything regarded as common practice by other air forces differently, and with great success rates. For example, they appoint students to their eventual aircraft type before they even get to fly and their personal instructor pilot is just as responsible for them to become a good pilot as they are themselves. A must-read for those involve in pilot training.”

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Croatian Warriors

Croatian Air Force OH-58D Kiowa Warrior

Croatia reached initial operational capability with its OH-58D Kiowa Warriors less than a year after receiving them as part of the Excess Defense Articles program. Dirk Jan de Ridder visits the new Croatian Kiowa Warrior squadron to find out how this was achieved so quickly.

“In order for me to do my job well, I depend on the cooperation of the air arm I visit, and Croatian Air Force personnel know exactly how to do just that. Even without getting to fly with the Kiowa Warriors, we managed to take astonishing photos at locations you normally only see in holiday brochures.”

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Back to the Future?

Swedish Air Force JAS-39C & JAS-39D Gripen

The Swedish Air Force’s most northerly fighter wing is dealing with new and resurgent threats and employing Cold War tactics in a fresh guise, as Dirk Jan de Ridder reports.

“My visit to this remotely located airbase offered a great insight into the Swedish Air Force’s unique defence concept which suits the JAS-39 Gripen more than any other fighter jet. A well prepared and executed photo flight with amazing backgrounds made it an unforgettable visit.”

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Island Hoppers

Spanish Army AS332B1 Super Puma

While thousands of European tourists celebrated their holiday on Lanzarote, they saw formations of Spanish Army helicopters fly over the island’s beaches multiple times a day. For pilots and maintenance crew of BHELMA VI their week at Lanzarote was far from a holiday, as Dirk Jan de Ridder reports.

“Taking photos during an exercise can be challenging, but five days of flying and access to training locations more than made up for that. Spain probably hasn’t got a more photogenic location than the volcanic island of Lanzarote.”

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Turkish Training Revolution

Turkish Air Force T-38M Talon

As one of NATO’s largest air arms, the Turkish Air Force has a large demand for new pilots. Dirk Jan de Ridder finds out how they are trained at Izmir Çigli with brand new KT-1T turboprop aircraft and recently modernized T-38M jets.

“An amazing photo flight with a KT-1 and two T-38s, on my knees on the runway while Talon jets are taking off, a night shoot at the end of a very long day.. Nothing beats Turkish hospitality, which translated into wonderful photo opportunities and a great publication.”

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