Dash Four

Dash Four F-84F Thunderstreak. 1956 paint scheme. Drawing by K.W. Jonker

The “Dash Four” were a Royal Netherlands Air Force aerobatic display team.

In December 1955, an aerobatic team flying with F-84F Thunderstreak fighters was established from Soesterberg air base. On January 4, 1956, the team performed its first training flight and then on July 14, they flew their first public display at Leeuwarden. Two weeks later, the team's planes were painted in white, red and blue colors, while the fuselage was left in unpainted metal; a paint scheme which was very similar to the USAF “Thunderbirds” paint scheme. Later this Dutch team received the name of “Dash Four”.

The following year, the team's planes were left totally unpainted but were equipped with white smoke generators.

On July 5, 1958 after incredible displays at the aerobatic teams championship at Soesterberg, the “Dash Four” were invited to display at the “World Congress of Flight” exhibition in Las Vegas, USA from 12 to 19 April 1959. By this time the team's own aircraft were again painted with blue and red accent colors.

On 22 March 1959, only team's pilots left for the USA, as it had been arranged for them to borrow USAF aircraft for their exhibition displays. The team first began training at Luke AFB, but, after 3 April, they moved to Nellis AFB. On April 9, during a practice flight, two of the “Dash Four’s” borrowed aircraft collided, causing one pilot to eject and forcing the other to land his Thunderstreak with heavy damage. But finally on 12 and 15 April, the “Dash Four” performed with USAF F-84F's painted with orange stripes over bare metal.

On 6 May, the team's pilots returned to Netherlands and then on June 19, 1959, the “Dash Four” performed for the last time at Parents Day at Volkel airbase, using their own standard F-84F Thunderstreak fighters.

Dash Four F-84F Thunderstreak. 1958 paint scheme. Drawing by K.W. Jonker Dash Four F-84F Thunderstreak. 1958 USA visit paint scheme. Drawing by K.W. Jonker Dash Four F-84F Thunderstreak