Twente Airport Opened

On Thursday 30 March 2017 Twente Airport was officially opened as a civilian airport. During a ceremony the authority was officially transferred from the Dutch Ministry of Defence to the Province of Overijssel.

Colonel Apon officialy hands over the authority to Eddy van Hijum

More than 250 guests attended the ceremonies surrounding this transfer of authority, one of them was Sharon Dijksma, secretary of Infrastructure and Environment. In her speech she referrred to the pioneering powers for which the Twente region is well known. “Twente Airport will be a regional airport with regional characteristics and a national innovative agenda”.

Secretary Dijksma issues the safety certificates to airport director de Groot

Twente Airport will focus on 3 aspects of aviation: business and small aviation, testing and the settling of aviation related companies. This was already shown earlier with several tests that were executed at Twente Airport (see The Runway is Wet and NLR Tests at Twente Airport) and after the opening the NLR also announced that it would start testing large scale drones at Twente Airport. The settling of companies has also started with AELS. AELS is a company that specializes in the dismantling of aircraft and selling the reclaimed parts. They will use Twente Airport as a location to dismantle wide-body aircraft, such as the Airbus 340 and Boeing 747. The dismantling of aircraft like this takes approximately 2 months per airframe.

The signing of the handover documents between Colonel Apon and airport director de Groot

After a round-table discussion the moment came for Colonel J.P. Apon to officially transfer the authority to respresentative Eddy van Hijum. During this transfer the Koninklijke Luchtmacht said goodbye in a fitting way, two F-16’s made a fly-by over the runway that they had used for many years.

Airport Director Meiltje de Groot was hopefull for the future and commented: “The last couple of months we already received several requests to land at Twente Airport. Now we are really open for business! We already have several aircraft booked for the coming months and for example, the NLR will use Twente Airport to test their X-calibur drone.”

One of the visiting aircraft was this O-2 from Teuge

Earlier on the day several aircraft had already landed at Twente Airport to take part in the official opening. A special visit was made by a CH-47D Chinook from the Koninklijke Luchtmacht, it gave a small performance show for the spectators that had gathered on the Spotters Hill.

A Gallery of visiting aircraft:

The runway is wet

On 21 and 22 March 2017 Twente Airport hosted an Airbus A.400M to perform wet runway tests together with the Netherlands Aerospace Center (NLR). Niek van der Zande Photography was there to witness these tests.

The A.400M waits at the platform for the next tests to begin.

The fact that Airbus would send an A.400M to Twente only became known to the outside world on Monday 20 March, when a NOTAM (NOtice To AirMen) was issued and the Grizzly was airborne out of the facty airport in Sevilla, Spain. Twente Airport already knew of these plans for a long time, but was not allowed to mention anything before.

The Grizzly’s crew is ready for another mission.

Upon arrival in Twente, the crew first circled the airfield for a considerable time, as the crew was not yet sure whether the meteorological conditions were good enough for them to land. There are no ILS facilities in Twente, which means that conditions need to be good enough for a visual approach.  Luckily, Twente Airport has its own meteo station on site, so the most accurate information could be passed on to the crew, after which they considered it safe to land.

Various calibration marks on the A.400M

The reason behind this unique visit is that Twente Airport has the facilities to perform wet runway tests, something that cannot be performed just anywhere. Twente has the unique situation that it has a long runway with the right surface. Next to that, the runway is prepared to create a water basin through which the aircraft can perform high speed taxi runs. In 2016 the first tests were already performed with a NLR Citation ( see: NLR tests at Twente Airport ), these tests were now performed on a larger scale. For this a set of grooves of 1cm wide and 3cm deep were cut into the runway. In these grooves large rubber slats were inserted so that a basin was created. This basin could be filled up with up to 3 centimeters of water, which resembles a heavy downpour of rain during a storm.

The Grizzly taxies out for another series of tests.

The A.400M then taxied through the water basin in order to measure the brake performance under various circumstances. IN order to get a clear picture, a total of 16 runs were executed, all at different speeds and with different braking profiles. The maximum speed at which the runs were performed was 110 knots, which guaranteed a big splash of water around the aircraft.

Splash! That’s the result of 8mm water on the runway.

The tests themselves were initiated by the European Commission, in order get further information on aircraft performance under extreme conditions. These results will be used to further expand regulations and certifications and thus enhance the safety in aviation.

After this succesful series of tests, the A.400M left for Sevilla on Thursday 23 March. Twente Airport hopes to see more of these tests in the future, they are now talking to the Chinese manufacturer COMAC in order to see if tests with the COMAC C919 can be held at Twente Airport. This will get easier when ownership transfers from de Dutch Ministry of Defence to the Province of Overijssel on the 30th of March 2017. From then on the restrictions on the usage of the airfield will be lifted and visiting aircraft can be accepted at a 24 hours advance notice (24Hr PPR). This 24Hr PPR was introduced since the airport does not have a fixed staffing of Air Traffic Control, Fire Brigade etc. These will be hired on a need-be basis.

In order to facilitate operations outside of daylight hours, a GPS appraoch system will be introduced in the fall of 2017. This means that pilots can fly to and from the airport under Instrument Flying Rules (IFR).

NLR tests at Twente Airport

The Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) has chosen Twente Airport as the location of several tests with it’s airplane, a Cessna Citation businessjet.

The NLR flight crew, ready for another mission.
The NLR flight crew, ready for another mission.

On the 13th of September brake tests were held, whereby the runway was artificially soaked. The tests will continue on 15 and 16 September, but now brake tests will be performed in a water basin, which will be purposely built on a section of the runway. The NLR was looking for a location where some special tests could be executed; plenty of space and a runway with a special coating were required.

The top layer, Antiskid from the Possehl company, increases security when landing on a wet runway. These tests are held to measure exactly what the friction of the runway is in rainy conditions. The runway will be soaked with the use of six large tanker trailers that will spray a large amount of water on the runway. The testplane will then land shortly after.

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On 15 and 16 September another set of braking tests were performed but now in a so-called waterbasin, that will be constructed on a part of the runway.

Preparation of the water basin on the runway
Preparation of the water basin on the runway

The amount of water in this basin represents the amount of water that can accumulate on the runway during a heavy downpour. The purpose of these tests is to see how the aircraft brakes perform in these extreme conditions. The knowledge that is gained will be used to adapt rules and regulations, which will then in turn increase flight safety. The tests on 15 and 16 September were performed in the light of a European study to increase flight safety.

PH-LAB landing on the soaked runway
PH-LAB landing on the soaked runway

 

 

Open House Brandweer Hengelo

On the 3rd of September 2016 the Fire Brigade of Hengelo organised an open House. The occasion for this event was the 25th anniversary of the Stichting Historie Brandweer Hengelo (SHBH), a foundation that preserves the history of the Fire Brigade in Hengelo.

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Part of the Open House was a parade with historical fire engines through the city centre of Hengelo.

Besides this, visitors were able the have a look of the present material of the fire brigade and several demonstrations could be watched. Children could also play with the hose and extinguish “fires”.

ExpoRIC safety exposition

On 2 June 2016, eRIC (expo Rampenbestrijding, Incidentmanagement & Crisismanagement; Disaster planning, Incident management & Early warning and response coordination fair) threw open its doors at Vliegveld Twenthe. 

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For three packed days, the former military airbase was transformed into the ultimate meeting place for product and service providers, operational relief workers and industry organisations.

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Guests could attend to forge networks and do business, creating public-private partnerships to work towards a safer country.

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Twente Airport re-opened

The 1st of May 2016 was a historical date for Twente Airport with the arrival of the first commercial flight since 9 years.

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With the departure of the Koninklijke Luchtmacht on 7 December 2007 military use of the airport ceased. As of 1 January 2008 the airport has been closed for civil aviation as well, pending governmental agreement on the future of the airport. On 16 June 2010 the province of Overijssel agreed on a spatial plan including an airport.

On 1 December 2010 the ownership of the airport grounds was transferred to the Twente region and the city of Enschede. Though it was attempted to find a party interested in operating the airport commercially, it was announced on 4 December 2012 that despite three parties showing interest in this proposal, none of them made a bid to operate it. In March of 2014 the government proposed that the airport could re-open for General Aviation users in 2015, and commercial traffic in 2016. Movements would be limited to 22.000 a year under the proposal primarily for noise abatement. However, in June of 2014 both the provincial government and the city of Enschede abandoned the plan to re-open the airport for commercial traffic. The future of the airport remained uncertain.[8] In August 2015 it was announced that Belgian aircraft recycling firm Aeronextlife intended to start using the airport to scrap aircraft. As part of the plan, Aeronextlife would become responsible for the costs of certain vital services required for airport operation, such as a fire fighting presence during aircraft operations.

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Besides the arrival of Boeing 737 aircraft for scrapping, additional traffic allowed at the airport include cargo aircraft to transport airplane parts, business charter aircraft of a number of operators that requested permission to use the airfield, a limited amount of smaller general aviation aircraft and gliders. Approval was granted, and flights to Twente Airport resumed one the first of May 2016 with the landing of Cessna Citation Sovereign PH-HGT, owned by ASL – Air Service Liège, coming from Manchester, which departed for Aosta later that day. Plenty of enthusiasts were present on the newly erected spotters hill to witness this historical moment.

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President Obama visits Hannover

On 24 and 25 April 2016 the U.S. President Barack Obama visited Hannover, Germany. The main purpose of his visit was to open the Hannover Messe but next to that he also had meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as with the Prime Ministers of France, Italy and the United Kingdom.

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President Obama greets the crowd at Hannover Airport

The pictures on this page were taken during President Obama’s arrival at Hannover Airport on 24 April and his departure on 25 April. Obviously there was a large number of security staff from both German and US authorities.

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Security Forces

The Beast

Airforce One

Leaving Germany

Other visitors

Large fire destroys desserts factory in Hengelo

 

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In the early morning of 30 March 2016 the DE Dessert Meesters factory in Hengelo (formerly van der Poel Desserts) was destroyed by a massive fire. Fire engines from the whole region were alarmed to battle the fire. Several appartment blocks were evacuated because of the flames and the presence of tanks containing nitrogen.

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Police investigation has now revealed that the fire was started by arson.

Exercise Trial Embow XV

Between 28 September and 15 October 2015 the exercise Trial Embow 2015 was held at the range of WTD 91 in Meppen (Germany). This item gives some insight into the participants and purpose of the exercise.

The Belgian armed forces participated with their brand new NH90 helicopter.
The Belgian armed forces participated with their brand new NH90 helicopter.

The purpose of the Embow excercises is to familiarize aircrew with the self-defence tools that they carry against ground-based systems. The main aim of Embow is to allow aviators to test, under live and monitored conditions, the capacity of their aircraft to evade infrared-guided surface-to-air missiles, from basic Manpads to more advanced surface to air short-range systems (SHORADS). As a cherry on the cake, the Embow trials are always performed in highly instrumented areas so that the participants can take a close look at the actual efficiency of the systems they field. Any noticed discrepancy is then funneled, in a second move, back to the industry for updating and improvements.

A Danish C-130J deploys flares over the Meppen Range
A Danish C-130J deploys flares over the Meppen Range

For this year’s edition the WTD 91 range was chosen as the location. The range is the largest instrumented range in Europe and with dimensions of 7 by 31 kilometers and a reserved airspace up to an altitude of 5000 feet. Next to that the facility has its own airfield and helipad, which was very useful for the helicopters participating in the exercise.

Meppen Range (EDR34) in Northern Germany, as shown on aviation charts
Meppen Range (EDR34) in Northern Germany, as shown on aviation charts
Down on the Range

During a typical sortie, the range was booked for the duration of 30 minutes. Sorties were only flown by single aircraft, as the whole mission had to be measured. The aircraft would then fly a pre-determined set of patterns (radials) upon which a flare would be dropped after a count down from the ground station. These missions were also flown with different types of flares per aircraft type. Evaluation of the measurements would then show if the flare behaved in the same way as specified by the producer.

A very rare participant was this Spanish Chinook
This Spanish Chinook was a very rare participant, something not very often seen in this part of Europe
At the airfield

Trial Embow XV saw participation from all over Europe with various types of aircraft, ranging from a Belgian A.109 Helicopter to the British C-17 transport aircraft. Particpating countries were Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

A French Mirage 2000 banks low over the range
A French Mirage 2000 banks low over the range

Most helicopters were temporarily based at Meppen’s airfield, whereas most fighters operated from Nörvenich and Leeuwarden airbases. Most transport aircraft flew directly form their homebase. Upon arrival at Meppen (EDR-34), they would change their normal radiocallsign to a callsign ranging from Outlaw01 to Outlaw10.

A C-27J Spartan from the Italian Air Force's RSV test unit was testing some new defensive systems.
A C-27J Spartan from the Italian Air Force’s RSV test unit was testing some new defensive systems.

 

Royal Netherlands Air Force Historical Flight

The Royal Netherlands Air Force Historical Flight Foundation, in Dutch ‘Stichting Koninklijke Luchtmacht Historische Vlucht’ (SKHV), was first started in 1969 as an aero club (Stichting Vliegsport Gilze-Rijen) by a group of former Air Force and Navy fighter pilots. The commander of the Gilze-Rijen Air Base at that time supported the renovation of a small hangar in which a Harvard and a Piper Super Cub were restored. The initial aim of this aero club was to provide private pilots with the possibility of advanced flying training. In the following years several historical aircraft were added to the fleet after having been carefully restored to an airworthy condition. From 1976 onwards the club has dedicated itself to the restoration and the maintenance of propeller-driven aircraft formerly used by the Royal Netherlands Air Force and Navy.

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The Beech 18 being put through her paces overhead Gilze-Rijen airbase

In 1998 the Stichting Vliegsport Gilze-Rijen and the Dutch Spitfire Flight merged to form the Royal Netherlands Air Force Historical Flight (SKHV) thereby bringing the only airworthy Dutch Spitfire and a Beaver into the collection. On September 24th 2004, during the 35th anniversary, the merge of the Duke of Brabant Air Force (DBAF) and the SKHV was announced. Since then the DBAF flag-ship, the B-25 Mitchell, has been part of the SKHV fleet.

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The SKHV are the proud owners of Sarinah, a B-25J painted in the markings of the former Royal Netherlands East-Indies Air Force

During the past few decades the SKHV has grown into a leading aircraft museum with a unique collection of airworthy historical military propeller-driven aircraft. The professional and enthusiastic contributions of the many volunteers and the co-operation with the RNLAF ((Royal Netherlands Air Force) is the sound basis of its existence.

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Formation flying practice with the Piper Super Cup and the Fokker S.11

The SKHV has contributed to the making of several feature films, such as A Bridge Too Far, Soldaat van Oranje, De Aanslag, the musical Joe and the film Zwartboek directed by Paul Verhoeven. Various SKHV aircraft and participants appear in these films. The SKHV is also a regular participant in air shows in the Netherlands and abroad.
The Spitfire and the Mitchell but also various other types of aircraft are shown.

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The SKHV Spitfire waits in front of the group’s own maintenance hangar

The SKHV organises aviation events giving the spectators the opportunity to be introduced to historical aviation. An elucidation of aviation history, the sight of formation flights, and the smell and sound of droning engines often leaves behind an indelible impression, and a flight in one of the historical planes is invariably perceived as a unique experience.

(Source: www.skhv.nl)

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