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Two’s a company, three’s a crowd

After the arrival of the first two Lufthansa Boeing 747s at Twente Airport (see http://niekvanderzande.nl/two-cranes-park-in-twente/ ), a third one arrived for storage at Twente Airport on the 29th of June.

Boeing 747 runway lights
D-ABTK approaches the airfield

Because of ongoing cost reductions, Lufthansa has decided to put 6 Boeing 747-430s in long term storage at Twente Airport. In order to facililtate this, several dedicated aircraft parking platforms have been created next to the main platform.

D-ABTK on base leg for runway 23

The third Lufthansa 747 to arrive was D-ABTK, which is 18.5 years old. It was initially withdrawn from use at Frankfurt in March 2020. After some rescheduling, it was then ferried to Twente on the 29th of June.

D-ABTKs ferry flight from FRA to ENS (source: www.flightaware.com )

Upon arrival, D-ABTK was initially parked at the former Runway 11 platform. Later that week she was moved to the newly created parkingspots.

Boieng 747
Boeing 747 runway lights
D-ABTK shortly before touchdown

Two Cranes park in Twente

On the 6th of June two Lufthansa Boeing 747-400s arrived at Twente Airport for long-term storage. More aircraft will follow in the near future.

Lufthansa Boeing 747 parked at Twente Airport
Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 Mülheim a.d. Ruhr parked on the main apron of Twente Airport

Airplane enthusiast faced an early start on Saturday 6 June for the arrival of two Lufthansa Boeing 747-400s that will be stored at Twente Airport. Initial rumours on the ever-reliable internet mentioned that these aircraft would be dismantled with AELS, but AELS was quick to mention that this was not the case.

Boeing 747 Twente
D-ABVO is about to touch down at twente Airport

These two aircraft are the first of in total six Boeing 747s that will be stored at Twente Airport for Lufthansa. Whilst parked here, the Cranes (nickname for Lufthansa aircraft) will be maintained by Lufthansa Technik, so that they can be restored into airworthy condition at any given time.

Due to the loss in demand and the many travel restrictions, Lufthansa has to keep a large part of the fleet grounded. Initially this was done at their hubs like Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg. However, these airports are now slowly starting up their operations again, which means that some of the parking space over there is needed for other purposes.

Lufthansa Boeing 747

Because of this, Lufthansa came to an agreement with Twente Airport for the storage of 6 aircraft. Since Twente has a runway that is wide and long enough (almost 3000m), it is able to handle large aircraft like the Boeing 747.

Earlier this year, two factory fresh Airbus 220s were already parked at Twente Airport whilst the lease company was looking for a new customer.

Lufthansa Boeing 747
D-ABTL is on the base leg for Twente Airport’s Runway 23, whilst sister D-ABVO is already parked

The first aircraft to arrive on 6 June was D-ABVO named Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, which landed shortly before 8 am. This 747 arrived directly from Beijing, where it was ferried earlier this year for a C-Check. However, because of the Covid-19 crisis, this check was postponed and the aircraft was flown to Twente. The crew was not that confident that this particular airframe would fly again, as it is already more than 23 years old and the demand for large aircraft is less.

D-ABVOs flight from Beijng (source: Flightaware)
Cockpit Boeing 747
The Cockpit of Mülheim a.d. Ruhr

Two hours later her younger sister D-ABTL arrived from Frankfurt, which was with a flighttime of 45 minutes a lot shorter. After arrival, she was directly parked at the former runway 11, where Lufthansa Technik will prepare her for the long term storage.

D-ABTL’s much shorter flight (source: Flightaware)
2 Lufthansa Boeing 747s
D-ABTL lands on Twente Airport’s Runway 23, whilst D-ABVO is already parked

After parking, there was a quick moment for a group picture, after which both crews flew back to Frankfurt in a Piper 34. That’s also one of the perks of storing aircraft close to home; you can fly back with a small aircraft.

Lufthansa Crew
The crew of both Boeing 747s before their flight back home

At this moment, it is not yet known when the other 4 Boeings will arrive. In order to park them, first the new parking positions that are currently under construction at Twente Airport need to be ready.

Lufthansa Boeing 747
D-ABTL is parked at Twente Airport’s former Runway 11
Lufthansa 747 parked at Twente Airport

Lifeliner 5 stands down

After a period of almost 2 months, Lifeliner 5 made the last operational flight on 20 May 2020. This flight between Hamburg and Venlo ended an intense period during the COVID-19 crisis.

Lifeliner 5
Lifeliner 5 on the helideck of the Medisch Spectrum Twente in Enschede

As of the 24th of March the fifth Mobile Medical Team (MMT) took to the air with an additional trauma helicopter to quickly transport intensive care patients. This helicopter was deployable throughout the Netherlands.

Lifeliner 5

In view of the growth in the number of patients infected with the coronavirus, it has been decided to use this helicopter in addition to the existing MMT service to get patients to the right hospital even faster and thus relieve the burden on road transport.

Lifeliner 5

The helicopter (type H145) was made available by the ANWB Medical Air Assistance (MAA) and has been fully equipped by Radboudumc for the transport of intensive care patients. The team flew in protective gear to avoid getting infected. The helicopter was completely disinfected after each transport.

The helicopter, which is normally in use as an ambulance helicopter to serve the Wadden Islands, was temporarily based at Volkel Airbase and available from 7 in the morning till 7 in the evening. Between the 6th of April and the 2nd of May the second “Waddenheli” was also put in use as an MMT Helicopter, this Lifeliner 6 was based at Groningen Eelde Airport. During this period a NH90 of the Royal Netherlands Airforce was on stand-by to carry out ambulance duties for the Wadden Islands.

Lifeliner 5

The helicopter crew consists of a pilot, a specialized MMT nurse and an anesthetist-MMT doctor. This helicopter is larger than the regular helicopter used by MMTs and offers more space to transport a patient and to provide proper care.

Lifeliner 5

Lifeliner 5 transported the last COVID-19 intensive care patient on Wednesday, May 20. Due to the decreasing number of corona patients, long-distance interregional intensive care transport is no longer necessary. IC patients can also be transported by road over a short distance from 22 May.

A patient is loaded into the Lifeliner 5 at the Medisch Spectrum Twente in Enschede

Lifeliner 5 was made available by ANWB Medical Air Assistance at the time of increasing demand for MICU transport, and was fully equipped by the ANWB together with Radboudumc for the transport of intensive care patients with the COVID-19 virus. The medical crew consisted of members of the regular MMT of the Radboudumc. Lifeliner 5 transported 66 corona patients and 2 non-COVID intensive care patients from the Volkel site. Most of the patients came from hospitals in the south of the country and were brought to the north of the Netherlands and to Germany, and vice versa.

The Lifeliner 5 last flew with a corona patient from Hamburg to Venlo on Wednesday 20 May. This patient had spent six weeks in Germany – without a visit – at the ICU and was allowed to return to Venlo that day. Lifeliner 5 returned to its regular location in Lelystad on Friday 22 May, where it will be used as a backup ambulance helicopter for flights between the Wadden Islands and the mainland.

P2000
The last P2000 pager message for Lifeliner 5

Exercise Épervier 2019

From August 23 to 30, 2019, six Mirage 2000-5 of the Groupe de Chasse 1/2 “Cigognes” participated in exercise Épervier 2019, from Payerne air base in Switzerland. This is an air training that allows French air defense pilots, to perform complex missions with the Swiss F/A-18 Hornet.

Mirage takeoff at Payerne during exercise Épervier 2019
An Armée de l’Air Mirage 2000-5 departs from Payerne’s runway

Arriving from Luxeuil Air Base, the 79 airmen joined the town of Payerne in northwestern Switzerland on August 23rd. For the 2019 edition of the exercise “Épervier”, the fifteen pilots of the “Cigognes” trained missions of a very high tactical scenarios alongside Swiss F/A-18 Hornet pilots of Fliegerstaffel 11. Organized by the Swiss Air Force, on their largest military air base, this bilateral exercise aims to consolidate the existing links between the two nations but also to carry out joint air defense missions: the main mission of the Mirage 2000-5 and Swiss F/A-18 Hornets.

Mirage and Hornet at Payerne during exercise Épervier 2019
Mirages and Hornets return after a mission
Mirage 2000-5 at Payerne during exercise Épervier 2019
A “Cigognes” Mirage in front of Payerne’s famous church

To ensure the “first-in-first” air defense mission, the fighter jets trained four rounds a day for one week to deal with air-to-air threats during complex-level missions. mixed fighter forces operation (MFFO), also known as mixed patrols, composed of both Mirages and Hornets.

Mirages taxi out for another mission during exercise Épervier 2019
Mirages taxi out for another mission
Hornet landing with traffic sign
Watch out for low flying aircraft

Fighting over the snow-capped Swiss mountains, the pilots, whether they are young qualified or more experienced patrolmen, play blue air (friendly forces) and red air (enemy forces) in turn.

Airbus A.400M during exercise Épervier 2019
Transportation support was delivered with an A.400M

On Friday 30 August one more mission was flown before the French contingent returned to their homebase in Luxeuil.

75 years Market Garden commemoration

The month of September is traditionally the period when Operation Market Garden is commemorated in the Netherlands. This year was the 75th anniversary of this failed operation.

Airborne soldiers dropped over the Ginkel heath

On Friday the 20th of September the Ginkelse Heide area was the scene of the rehearsals for the 75 Years Market Garden commemmorations.
Since I had the idea that the crowd would be immense on the Saturday, I decided to have a look at these rehearsals.

That day three waves of paradrops were flown. I missed the first wave, since it was decided to close the N224 road at that point. I was then stuck in the forest, 600 meters away from the drop zone.

When the 2nd wave was flow, I quickly realised that light conditions were terrible, looking straight into the sun. I therefore decided to relocate and was able to face the drops from the front when the 3rd wave was flown.
All in all it was a very impressive sight to see all these paratroopers jump from the planes.

One of the international participants was a United States Marines Corps Hercules
Soldiers jump from a Koninklijke Luchtmacht Hercules

A short hop to the final destination

After a short flight from Brussels-Zaventem, Brussels Airlines Airbus A330-223 OO-SFY landed at Twente Airport on Monday 19 August 2019.

Brussels Airlines A330 OO-SFY landing at Twente Airport
Flight BEL9901 touches down at Twente Airport

This morning former Brussels Airlines Airbus A330-223 OO-SFY arrived at Twente Airport, coming from Brussels-Zaventem Airport. At Twente Airport, the Airbus will be dismantled by Aircraft End-of-Life Solutions (AELS).

Source: Flightaware.com

This Airbus with Manufacturer Serial Number (MSN) 229 made her first flight in August 1998 and was delivered to Swissair in September that year as HB-IQA. The aircraft flew with Swissair and its successor Swiss until September 2011 and was transferred to Brussels Airlines under a lease contract in October that year, still carrying the HB-IQA registration.

Brussels Airlines A330 OO-SFY after landing at Twente Airport

She carried the registration OO-SFY since January 2012 and made her final flight commercial flight from Entebbe to Brussels on 17 August 2019.

Brussels Airlines A330 OO-SFY after landing at Twente Airport
OO-SFY on the tarmac of Runway 23

Today she made her final flight after 21 years of service. Her landing marks the arrival of the 11th aircraft to be dismantled by AELS at Twente Airport.

Brussels Airlines A330 OO-SFY after landing at Twente Airport
OO-SFY is parked on the AELS platform and the crew awaits the stairs

Technicians from Brussels Airlines will now dismantle the engines, after which the ownership of the aircraft is transferred to AELS and the demolition can start.

Brussels Airlines A330 OO-SFY after landing at Twente Airport
OO-SFY parked next to the former Qatar Airways A340-600

The arrival of OO-SFY marks the 11th arrival for AELS and the second arrival of an A330, after a TAP A330 arrived in July of this year. Aircraft parts can be aquired through www.a330stock.com

The Dutch-Portuguese Connection

Tuesday 30 July 2019 saw the arrival of the 10th aircraft for dismantling with AELS at Twente Airport.

Airbus 330-223 CS-TOI
CS-TOI on short final for Runway 05

After AELS had already obtained and dismantled several Boeing 747s, 737s and Airbus 340s, it was now a new aircraft type that arrived, the Airbus 330. In this particular case A330-223 CS-TOI from TAP Portugal flew from Lisbon to Twente.

CS-TOIs final flight from Lisbon to Twente

Recently TAP has started to take delivery of the A330-900neo. This newer version of the Airbus 330, equipped with newer engines is more fuel efficient and therefore the “classic” 330s are phased out, with CS-TOI being the first airframe.

The Pratt & Whitney PW4168A engine

The 22 year old aircraft with constructionnumber MSN195 was the second prototype for the Airbus 330-200 subversion, which was developed after the original A330-300 and is shorter. The aircraft’s first flight with registration F-WWKJ took place in December 1997 at Airbus’ Toulouse facility.

About to land

In May 1999 Austrian Airlines took delivery of the aircraft under registration OE-LAN with the name Arlberg. TAP – Air Portugal then took delivery of the aircraft in July 2007, where the aircraft got the name Damião de Góis. The last flight in service of this airline was on 29 July 2019 when it returned from Luanda in Angola.

Touchdown

The next day, the aircraft that still carried full TAP colours was flown by a crew of 2 to Twente Airport as flight TP9757. There it joined an ex-Qatar A.340 and an ex-Kuwait Boeing 747 that are already in various stages of dismantlement with AELS.

The crew that ferried CS-TOI from Lisbon to Twente

A nice thing to know is that there actually is a connection between this particular Portuguese Airbus and The Netherlands. As mentioned before, the aircraft is named Damião de Góis. This philosopher lived in the Netherlands between 1523 and 1544 and was also known as Damiaan van der Goes.

CS-TOI after the final engine shutdown at Twente Airports runway

Exercise Orange Bull

Between 1 and 5 July 2019 exercise Orange Bull was held in the Netherlands. Part of the exercise took part at Twente Airport.

C-130 Hercules Koninklijke Luchtmacht
A 336 Squadron Hercules takes off from Twente Airport

Between 1 and 5 July 2019 exercise Orange Bull was held at Twente Airport. Orange Bull is an exercise from the Royal Netherlands Air Force 336 Squadron, based at Eindhoven Airbase. During this exercise several special forces like Commandos and the 11th Airmobile Brigade took part as well.

C-130 Hercules Koninklijke Luchtmacht

As part of the exercise, Twente Airport was the location for Tactical Air Landing Operations. This meant that that army pathfinders would guide the aircraft to the runway, where they had indicated the landing zone with orange markers. The loading crew would then quickly load and unload troops and vehicles, after which a tactical departure would follow.

C-130 Hercules Koninklijke Luchtmacht
Tactical departure from Twente Airport’s runway 05

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A unique boeing makes her final flight to Twente

On the 24th of May 2019 Twente based company AELS received a unique aircraft; the sole Kuwait Airways Boeing 747-400M 9K-ADE arrived directly from Kuwait.

Boeing 747 9K-ADE shortly before landing at Twente Airport
9K-ADE shortly before touchdown

Little information was given prior to the arrival of this Jumbo. The reason behind this was that when a Qatar Airways Airbus 340 arrived earlier in May, the nature reserve surrounding the airport was “invaded” by people who wanted to see the arrival. These persons did not stick to the rules and wandered off the paths into areas where birds were breeding.

Qatar Airways Airbus 340-600

Since this was an undesirable situation, this time it was chosen not to make any public announcements prior to the arrival of the Boeing .

Boeing 747 9K-ADE shortly before landing at Twente Airport
Al-Jabriya is about to touch down on Twente Airport’s runway 23

This was not the first Boeing 747 to arrive at Twente Airport, as AELS had dismantled two KLM 747s before. But why is this Kuwait Airways airframe so special?

Boeing 747 9K-ADE Towed to the AELS platform at Twente Airport

The aircraft is so special because this was the only Boeing 747-400M that was ever operated by Kuwait Airways. From an airline’s perespective, this makes no sense at all. If you have only one example of a particular aircraft type in your fleet, then you will have a rather high operational cost for that airframe. You will have to maintain a stock of spare parts, need qualified engineers and tools, just for this single aircraft.

Boeing 747 9K-ADE Towed to the AELS platform at Twente Airport
The Kuwait 747 is towed along Twente’s Runway

The reason that Kuwait Airways operated this Boeing 747 (which was delivered in 1994) is that it was previously used by the State of Kuwait. In this role, it was part of the fleet of aircraft that was used to transport the Emir, Royal Family and other government officials. After the Kuwait Government obtained a new Boeing 747-8, this particular aircraft was handed over to Kuwait Airways.

Boeing 747 9K-ADE Towed to the AELS platform at Twente Airport

Little was changed on the interior, so that it was still available as a back-up plane, in case needed. The interior therefore sports some special features that you will not find on a regular Boeing 747.

Boeing 747 9K-ADE Towed to the AELS platform at Twente Airport

The upper deck, for example, was strictly off limits to regular passengers. This upper deck was reserved for the VIP guests, with a lavish seating area, a bedroom and a bathroom equipped with shower.

Kwait Airways Boeing 747-400 9K-ADE on touchdown at Twente Airport

Passengers on the lower deck could note that there was a large portion of the centre section that was walled off. In a normal 747, this area would house the centre rows of seats. However, in 9K-ADE this area houses an operating room. Surely, that is not something you see every day.

In January 2019, the aircraft made the last commercial flight from Doha to Kuwait City, after which it was withdrawn from use. On the 24th of May Al-Jabriya departed Kuwait City for last time, for a flight of 5 hours and 23 minutes to Twente Airport. There she arrived shortly after 20.00 local time.

Boeing 747 9K-ADE Towed to the AELS platform at Twente Airport

After engine shutdown on the runway, she was towed to the AELS platform, where she now awaits her fate next to the Qatar Airways Airbus 340-600.

Boeing 747 9K-ADE parked at the AELS platform at Twente Airport