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Annually, the Royal Netherlands Air Force hosts exercise Falcon Leap in connection with the commemoration of Operation Market Garden. During this tragic WW II operation paratroopers were famously deployed to conquer bridges across the main Dutch rivers and liberate cities across the rivers from German occupation.


To train today’s paratroopers and in remembrance of their many fallen colleagues, Falcon Leap 2020 was organised in September 2020.


Although the covid-19 pandemic prevented a public commemoration this year, the paratroopers found a way to train safely from Eindhoven air base.


The West Virginia Air National Guard sent two of its Hercules to Eindhoven, having been deployed to Europe in time to participate in the exercise.


Since many years, Germany participates not only in the exercise but also in the commemoration of Operation Market Garden, showing how things have changed over time.


This weathered looking Transall C-160D made a welcome appearance.


As the host nation, The Netherlands participated with two Hercules from Eindhoven’s local 336 squadron.


Ramstein air base is the USAFE’s primary air transport unit, and its RS-coded C-130J-30 took many paras into the Dutch skies, releasing them over several designated exercise areas.


The German army has leased a number of these PZL M28 Skytruck for para training. Despite their small size, the aircraft proved good training value and are regular participants in Falcon Leap exercises.


The Czech based company Pink Aviation provided two Short Skyvans for Falcon Leap, this former Ghana Air Force aircraft sports a very attractive paintscheme.


Although social interaction was limited during the exercise due to covid-19 restrictions, the bond of paratroopers was highlighted during the entire exercise.