Russian jet plane landed in the Netherlands…….not quite!
At the end of March 1966 Lt. Westerveld of the Passengers and Freight office at Ypenburg airbase released the news:
‘that a Russian jet fighter had landed at this location by a deserting Russian pilot. The plane would be shown at a location visible from a nearby highway on April 1st’.
So far the news. It attracted a lot of visitors and they were at first sight not disappointed when the saw a jet fighter carrying a Russian red star and the logo ‘CCCP’.
However, at closer inspection it became clear that the ‘enemy jet fighter’ was in fact a Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu) Republic F-84F Thunderstreak.
It was all a well-organized 1 April fool’sday joke. The photographs released by KLu even showed a ‘pilot’ wearing a Russian-style leather flying cap handing over his papers to a KLu officer!
The plane used for this joke was F-84F no. P-263; at that time already in use as a static exhibit at Open Days and promotional campaigns! P-263 still exists today at a private aircraft collection at Baarlo in the southern part of the Netherlands…