Tag Archives: KLu

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
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Helicopter action in GLV-V

Throughout the Netherlands, there are several dedicated Low Flying Areas (Gebied Laag Vliegen – GLV). This report focuses on Low Flying Area 5, also referred to as GLV-V.

Just north of Eindhoven Airbase, the Oirschotse Heide can be found. The Oirschotse Heide is a large training area used by the Dutch Ministry of Defence next to the Generaal-Majoor De Ruyter van Steveninck Kazerne. The area is used by both the Royal Netherlands Army, as well as by the Royal Netherlands Airforce (RNLAF).

The area consists of woodlands, heath and sandplains, which offer a good training ground for both land- and airforces. A unique feature of this area is also that it is freely accessible for the public. There are no fences and you can freely walk around, as long as you stick to the rules mentioned at the entrances.

The Oirschotse Heide is used by both the army and the airforce
The Oirschotse Heide is used by both the army and the airforce

The RNLAF uses GLV-V to train helicopter crews. Apaches, Chinooks and Cougars of nearby Gilze-Rijen Airbase are very regular visitors to the area, where they either practice alone, with multiple helicopters, or together with ground forces. The terrain offers various options to practice landings in confined spaces, brown-out landings, or terrain masking techniques.

The loadmaster of a Chinook is on the lookout during a landing at the Oirschotse Heide

During my visit, the area was visited by a Chinook and an Apache. Both of them used the whole area of the GLV-V to practice their skills and frequently came close enough for good pictures. Sometimes they were even so close that a 100mm lense was too much. However, changing lenses with al the sand blowing around was not a very good idea. Instead, I just enjoyed the sights and sounds at that point.

The crew of BAT74 during a low level hover
The crew of BAT74 during a low level hover

The Chinook was the first helicopter to arrive in the morning. After some exercises further away, the crew moved to the area where I was located. This meant they came very close, which resulted in very nice photo opportunities. After about 40 minutes the Chinook left for Gilze-rijen, returning later in the afternoon.

CH-47D Chinook “Corona3”

Corona3 hitting the deck during a flight in GLV-V

The sandy environment of the Oirschotse Heide gives pilots a realistic training opportunity for missions in Mali etc.

After the Chinook had left, BAT74 came onto the radio. This was an AH-64D Apache from Gilze-Rijen based 301 Squadron. The crew of this Apache showed their terrain-following capabilities to the fullest, sometimes flying at an altitude of just 2 meters.

AH-64D Apache “Bat74”

Bat74 up close and personal

The Oirschotse Heide can be used to practice useful skills, such as hiding between the trees

Kicking up some dust on the sandy areas

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A Blast from the Past

Recently I had the opportunity to scan some of the slides that I took at Twenthe Airbase in the nineties and the beginning of the new Milennium. Looking at those pictures brings back nice memories, so why not share those pictures as well.

1996 Open House

The Open House usually brought many nice visitors to Twenthe and 1996 was no exception.

PC-7 L-04 of the EMVO taxiing in for the static display
PC-7 L-04 of the EMVO taxiing in for the static display

2003 Open House

The 2003 Open House was a great success, but it was also the last Open House for Twenthe Airbase. The day after the show, Defence Minister Kamp announced that Twenthe would be closed because of budget cuts.

Members of the Airmobile Brigade are being dropped off by a Hercules during the 2003 Open House.
Members of the Airmobile Brigade are being dropped off by a Hercules during the 2003 Open House.

General Visitors

Over the course of the years, Twenthe was visited by many aircraft. Some were spectacular and unique, some a bit less.

This Sukhoi 22 was temporarily based at Hopsten and flew missions to HSA in Hengelo. This was done to test the HSA's new SMART-L radar. After one of those flights, a fly-by was made at Twenthe.
This Sukhoi 22 was temporarily based at Hopsten and flew missions to HSA in Hengelo. This was done to test the HSA’s new SMART-L radar. After one of those flights, a fly-by was made at Twenthe.

A Venezuelan Hercules in 1998. This aircraft visited Twenthe to pick up goods from HSA in Hengelo.
A Venezuelan Hercules in 1998. This aircraft visited Twenthe to pick up goods from HSA in Hengelo.

When the F-16's from Twenthe were deployed to Villafranca and later Amendola, freuquent visits were made my Belgian Hercules aircraft. Together with the Dutch transport fleet they supported the Belgian/Dutch F-16 deployments.
When the F-16’s from Twenthe were deployed to Villafranca and later Amendola, freuquent visits were made my Belgian Hercules aircraft. Together with the Dutch transport fleet they supported the Belgian/Dutch F-16 deployments.

Night Flying

One of the things F-16 pilots had to practice was flying by night. This video shows some take-offs in the beginning of the evening, during the final months of Twenthe’s active period.

F-16AM J-141 deploying the dragchute. This dragchute helps the F-16 to stop at a shorter stretch of runway.
F-16AM J-141 deploying the dragchute. This dragchute helps the F-16 to stop at a shorter stretch of runway.

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Former RNLAF AB.412SP heading for Peru

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On the 26th of May the first former RNLAF AB.412SP destined for the Peruvian Navy was delivered from Liège to Gilze-Rijen Airbase in the Netherlands.

After 303 Squadron at Leeuwarden was de-activated in January because of budgetcuts, the 3 AB.412s were flown to the Agusta-Westland facility at Liège Airport. Over there the helicopters were completely refurbished and painted in the colours of the Peruvian Navy.

On the 26th of May 2015 the former R-03 was the first of the 3 helicopters that was flown to Gilze-Rijen. The helicopter had a sticker with the old serial on the door. This was due to Dutch legislation, as the helicopter was formally still part of the RNLAF; it had not been handed over to Peru yet.

Once all 3 AB.412s have arrived and have been tested, they will then be prepared for shipment to Peru. At this stage it is not know whether this will be done by sea or by air.

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