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.
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.
Guests could attend to forge networks and do business, creating public-private partnerships to work towards a safer country.
The 1st of May 2016 was a historical date for Twente Airport with the arrival of the first commercial flight since 9 years.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Police investigation has now revealed that the fire was started by arson.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On the 1st of November 2015, the annual Twenterally was held in the surroundings of Hengelo, The Netherlands.
During this day the rally teams competed on 9 KPs, of which 3 were organized on an industrial area in Hengelo. This was also the place where most spectators could watch the rally, as an arena was layed out through which the cars passed three times.
Next to modern World Rally Cars, classic cars could be seen as well, since a Classic Rally followed the main Twente Rally. These classics could be almost everything, ranging from a Wartburg to a Citroen DS.
On the 2nd of October 2015, 5 A-10Cs from the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron arrived at Spangdahlem Airbase in Germany.
The A-10s assigned to the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron are in Germany to conduct training as part of their Theater Security Package mission in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
Operation Atlantic Resolve are ongoing efforts in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, namely the War in Donbass. All U.S. efforts in support of NATO fall under the umbrella of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The U.S. took several immediate steps to demonstrate solidarity with NATO, such as augmenting the air, ground and naval presence in the region, and enhancing previously scheduled exercises. The U.S. is taking measures to enhance NATO military plans and defense capabilities and remains committed to maintaining a persistent presence in Eastern Europe.
Spangdahlem Air Base (IATA:SPM, ICAO: ETAD, former code EDAD) is a United States Air Force base constructed between 1951 and 1953 and located near the small German town of Spangdahlem, approximately 30 km NNE of the city of Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate. Spangdahlem is home of the 52d Fighter Wing, which maintains, deploys and employs Lockheed Martin Block 50 F-16CJ. In total, 4,800 military personnel, 840 German nationals and 200 US contractors are working at the base.
During the first weekend of September 2015 hosted the World Harbour Days. Every year hundredthousands of people take the chance to get a glimps behind the scenes of Europe’s largest port. The visitors can pay a visit to several ships, admire demonstrations on the water and watch presentations from the many companies that use the Port of Rotterdam. The main stage is next to the Erasmusbridge.
One of the demonstrations was hosted by the Royal Netherlands Navy. In this display, a vessel was attacked by “pirates” in small motorboats. Once the ship was captured, they hoisted their piratesflag in the mast.
In order to recapture the ship, the Royal Netherlands Navy came into action. First a FRISC with 6 marines aboard was deployed to capture the ship again. At the same moment a NH-90 from the Defence Helicopter Command (DHC) entered the scene and dropped marines, via the fast-roping technique, right onto the deck of the pirated vessel. The ship was consequently liberated.
At this point the demonstration was cut short. The reason was that a body was seen in the river, close to the display area. Next to police, fire brigade and ambulance services, all available boats from the display as well as the NH-90 moved to the scene to assist in the search operation. Shortly after, the remains of a person were recovered in the waters near the Koninginnebrug. More information (in Dutch) can be found HERE.
After the first of many rain showers, a rescue operation was displayed. In this scenario a fire had started aboard a tanker vessel, causing injuries to the crew. This meant that assistance was needed to extinghuish the fire and to evacuate the wounded. First on the scene was the KNRM Jeanine Parqui lifeboat, normally based in Hoek van Holland. This lifeboat was followed by one of the Port Authority’s tugs, which used its massive watercanons to stop the fire. Finally a Noordzee Helikopters Vlaanderen (NHV) SA.365 Dauphin helicopter arrived to rescue the people from the burning tanker. NHV performs Pilot and SAR duties on behalf of the Dutch government from their heliport in the Pistoolhaven on the Maasvlakte.
In the evening of 28 August 2015 a flight of four F-22 Raptors from the Tyndall based 95th Fighter Squadron arrived at Spangdahlem Airbase in Germany for what will be the F-22s first training deployment in Europe.
The Raptors will train with U.S. services and allied air forces through mid-September. This deployment is part of European Reassurance Initiative, which saw U.S. based A-10s, F-16s and F-15s deploy to Europe in order to train with allies. Obviously, this is also a show of force against the Russian aggression in Eastern Europe (even though this is not said with so many words).
Earlier on, a 60th AMW C-17 Globemaster III arrived with the 60 airmen and associated equipment who will support this deployment. During the coming weeks, the Raptors will combat air training will be performed with F-16s and F15s, in order to see how this 5th generation aircraft performs in the European Theatre and if all the infrastructure is suited as well.
“This deployment advances our airpower evolution and demonstrates our resolve and commitment to European safety and security.” said General Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander.
It is not yet know which other airbases will be visited during this deployment, but there are rumours about Lakenheath and Eastern Europe. Time will tell…..