Tag Archives: RNLAF

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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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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