A European Wrecks and Relics trip.


A recent airshow at Nordholz in Northern Germany provided a few of us with an idea for a quick W&R trip over the bank holiday weekend. As it transpired, we were all busy on Saturday, so we would be unable to leave until Sunday, this allowed us to tailor our travel plans accordingly.


            So, just after midnight on Sunday, 3 WAG members set off from Suffolk to catch the dark o’clock Eurotunnel from Folkestone. Arriving at Calais early on Sunday morning we headed via Antwerp and central Germany, up to the Northern naval base, as the clouds loomed ever darker. Nordholz is home to a German Navy wing, MFG-3, which operates Super Lynxes, P-3 Orions, Atlantics, and Do.228s.


            I won’t go in to the details of the show which have been well reported elsewhere, suffice to say it was wet, but there were plenty of aircraft on static display even if the thunderstorms put paid the majority of the flying display. This beautifully painted Super Lynx will give a small flavour of the static (actually, this was the only aircraft I photographed as I was wary about getting my camera gear expensively soaked in the deluge – memories of Lake Zeltweg 2005!).


            Anyway, following the airshow, we made our way round to the co-located Museum “Aeronauticum”, and this has a reasonable collection of aircraft types on display, with a Tornado and Atlantic being among the newer additions. Residents noted included:-


366 Su-22

22+98 F-104G

43+55 Tornado

54+08 Pembroke

59+19 Do.28 white

59+22 Do.28 grey

61+14 Atlantic

"91+02" PFW.149 (really 90+77)

94+01 Mi-8

94+14 Mi-8

D-AXDB VFW.614 ex 17+02

RB+363 Sea Hawk

"SC+601" Magister (really AdlA 388)

UA+113 Gannet (ex XG853)

VB+134 Sea Hawk (also ex IN238)

"WE+543" Sycamore (really 78+16)


            After the museum we decided to curtail the day’s activities and made our way to our pre-booked hotel in Bremen to dry off and sample the local delicacies. (The nearby strip clubs weren’t open yet so we ate (and drank) in the hotel restaurant before deciding on an early night as we had a long day ahead of us in the morning).


            Monday morning opened reasonably bright as we set off Southbound around 06:30. Our intention was to take in some of the flying action at Norvenich, home to JbG-31 and their Tornadoes, but as we proceeded further South the weather started to markedly deteriorate.


            First stop was at the German Army base at Bentlage, near Rheine. We caught the gate guard Alouette II and H-34, as well as the G.I. Starfighter and a couple of the active CH-53Gs.


            Then, onwards again, deviating off the Autobahn to see the Noratlas 52+37 which is in use as a bar near Schwelm.


            By the time we got to Norvenich, the weather was pretty poor, and there was no sign of any flying, so we decided to cut our losses and re-plan for a Wrecks and Relics day. The nearby Boelcke Kaserne in Kerpen has a recently repainted Starfighter on display, F-104F 29+19 is dramatically mounted in lizard camouflage, and is easily seen from the main gate.


            A quick look at our GPS system showed that Duren was not too far, and that another Starfighter is located at the “nearby” Kaserne. Unfortunately, there is no clear view of the F-104F 29+14 from the main gate here at the Gurzenich-Wald Kaserne, but a quick chat with the base commander allowed us access to photograph the machine.


            Next on our plan were the large collections at Baarlo and Kessel in the Netherlands. These have a very regular turnround of airframes so is worth regularly visiting to see what is new. Amongst the newer inmates at Baarlo were the pair of Atlantics from Erding (61+08 and 61+10), an Su-22 from Manching (98+16), and some ex Czech AF MiG-23s.


            Kolonie was our next location, situated a few kms from Lommel in Belgium. An outlet here has a Jet Provost (XN512) mounted on a pole, whilst stored outside is ex Czech AF MiG-21 4407.


            With things still proceeding well we headed to the light airfield at Leopoldsburg (Sanicole) and found that the F-84 (FU-177) is still in primer, and that the ex Soviet AF An-2 LY-TED was parked out on the grass. The aeroclub and hangars were all shut by the time we arrived there, so were unable to confirm any other residents.


            A quick stop at Peer to photograph another Starfighter, FX-94 is dramatically pole-mounted on a roundabout, and then on to see the preserved frames at Kleine Brogel (F-84 FU-66, F-84 FS-17, F-104 FX-86) before heading for Calais and home.


            Hope that gave an insight into an easy European trip, pretty much standard fare for us really and typical of our regular jaunts.


Have a good European Map (or a great GPS system like we use with all the locations pre-programmed in), take European Wrecks and Relics with you, and for up to date information check out http://www.eurodemobbed.org.uk