Tag Archives: twente

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:

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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).

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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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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.

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Twenterally 2015

On the 1st of November 2015, the annual Twenterally was held in the surroundings of Hengelo, The Netherlands.

The rear-wheel driven classics were a spectacular sight with plenty of "tail waggling"
The rear-wheel driven classics were a spectacular sight with plenty of “tail waggling”

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.

Not all the cars survived unscaved, as can bee seen on this Citroen. At least it could still drive.
Not all the cars survived unscaved, as can bee seen on this Citroen. At least it could still drive.

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.

Ford Escorts were still going strong during the Classic Rally
Ford Escorts were still going strong during the Classic Rally

 

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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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Jet Noise over Twenthe

On the 5th of July 2015, old memories were relived when the Twente region woke up to the sound of Jet Noise.

The reason was, that on this day, the Good Cause Rally was held at the former Twenthe Airbase. During this event, children with a serious disease and their family, are invited to spend a day where they do not have to worry about their disease. Amongst others, they are taken for a drive in various fast cars, along the runway of the former airbase.

This year’s event was opened with some fly-pasts from 2 Hawker Hunters belonging to the Dutch Hawker Hunter Foundation based at Leeuwarden Airbase. To make it extra special, sponsors could bid on a flight in the 2-seat Hawker Hunter T.8C. The minimum bid had to be €7,000.- to cover the costs.

Hawker Hunter F.6A N-294
Hawker Hunter F.6A N-294

Apparently somebody made a good bid, as both aircraft showed up around 10.15 in the morning. In the next 15 minutes, they treated the audience to the sight and sound of this classic fighter. The Typical sound of the Rolls Royce Avon 207 turbine brought a smile to many faces.

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Large Fire in Enschede – May 12th 2015

In the evening of May 12 2015, the company Van der Wurp in Enschede fell victim to a large fire. It took several hours and 12 Fire Engines/Ladders to conquer the fire. The Fire Brigade could not save the building and concentrated on preventing the fire to spread to other buildings.

 

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