Dirk Jan de Ridder

Dirk Jan de Ridder is a renowned photojournalist specialised in military aviation. He is one of the few media representatives visiting air forces around the world and qualified to fly all sorts of aircraft, including supersonic fighter jets.

On this page he explains more about his job.

What I do

I have built up a reputation for both the quality of my photography and being able to publish it in aviation magazines along with articles written by myself. Air forces from around the world invite me to photograph their aircraft and helicopters. I could probably write a whole book about it, but this video on the right says more than 1000 words.

Photography is the element that makes or breaks a publication. I prefer to shoot aircraft in their natural environment. Rather than visiting air shows and other public events, I therefore prefer to arrange private visits to air forces. For that same reason I generally take my photos up in the air, in a secondary aircraft. This is called air-to-air photography.

“I sometimes jokingly say that I work for air forces but that I’m paid for it by the magazines that publish my work.
Many air forces have benefited from the exposure I provide them.”


My work is frequently published in aviation magazines around the world. An average article is published in at least two or three magazines and contains between four to eight pages.

Magazines that currently publish my work include:

Air Forces Monthly (United Kingdom)
Combat Aircraft (United Kingdom)
Flymag (Denmark)
Global Aviator (South Africa)
JWings (Japan)
Koku Fan (Japan)
Lotnictwo (Poland)
Ptisi (Greece)
Rotorblatt (Germany)
Vortexx en Combate (Chile)

These are read by heads of arms, military air attaches, procurement specialists, military personnel and well-informed enthusiasts.

Read an interview with me in one of Great Britain’s leading photography magazines, Practical Photography, by clicking the image below:

“Being able to spend several days with an air force and focus on a single aircraft type really improves my photography.
I normally spend between three to five days on a single air base.
This enables me to get familiar with local procedures, make arrangements and pick the best moments for photography.”

Flight Experience

10 hours // Fast jets
BAe Hawk, F-5 Tiger II, MiG-21 Fishbed, Saab 105.

50+ hours // Helicopters
AS532 Cougar, AW101 Merlin, Bell 412, Bo-105, CH-47 Chinook, Mi-17 Hip, NH90, S-70 Black Hawk, Sea King, UH-1 Iroquois, etcetera.

10+ hours // Trainers
BAe Hawk, KT-1 Woongbi, Saab 105, T-6 Harvard II, T-25 Universal, T-27 Tucano (illustrated).

20+ hours // Other aircraft
Airbus A310, An-26 Curl, C-130 Hercules, C-130J Super Hercules, EADS C-295, KC-135 Stratotanker, etcetera.

Brazilian Air Force T-27 Tucano

As of May 2018, I have visited 26 armed forces on four continents, logging nearly 100 flight hours in my log book. This includes six flights in fast jets, including the BAe Hawk, F-5 Tiger II and MiG-21 Fishbed, and over 50 hours in all sorts of helicopters.

My experience includes flying supersonic fighter jets, ejection-seat equipped training aircraft, helicopters and transport aircraft with cargo doors opened both during photo flights and operational training flights.

I have visited and flown with the following air arms:
Belgian Air Component | Brazilian Air Force | Bulgarian Air Force | Croatian Air Force | Czech Air Force | German Army | German Air Force | German Navy | Hellenic Air Force | Hellenic Navy | Hungarian Air ForceMacedonian Air Force | Portuguese Air Force | Romanian Air Force | Royal Air ForceRoyal Canadian Air ForceRoyal Netherlands Air Force | Serbian Air Force | Spanish Army | Swedish Air Force | Swiss Air Force | Turkish Air Force | Turkish Army | United States Air Force | United States Army

“Air-to-air photography is not just about getting some planes airborne and taking a few shots.
Preparation is key. Getting everything right -including composition, lighting, timing- is all but coincidence or luck.

Dirk Jan de Ridder

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Dirk Jan ‘DJ’ de Ridder | dj@ridder.aero