Goodbye Kiel!

The relocation of Marineflieger Geschwader 5 to Nordholz Air Base is on schedule. Nordholz Air Base is already the base of Marineflieger Geschwader 3, operating the P-3C Orion, Dornier Do-228 and the Sea Lynx helicopters. To mark the pull-out, an official day was organized in June at Kiel-Holtenau. There was a SAR display by a Kiel-based SeaKing that had been given a special livery to mark the end of military operations at Kiel-Holtenau. The city of Kiel’s skyline was painted in black on both sides of the fuselage and special orange paint was used to create a sunset look with an ever changing colour depending on the angle. “Goodbye Kiel’ was clearly visible underneath the fuselage.

A very unusual visitor was a CH-146 Griffon of the Royal Canadian Air Force. The CH-146 is operated by 424 (Search and Rescue/Transport) Squadron based at Trenton, Canada. The helicopter was flown in by C-17 Globemaster at Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel, the rotor blades were reattached and it flew on to Kiel-Holtenau. The Griffon stayed at Kiel-Holtenau for eight days and practiced a variety of missions together with the home based Sea Kings Mk41s of Marineflieger Geschwader 5. Another helicopter that received a lot of the attention from military personnel was the NH-90 from Holzdorf operated by  Hubschraubergeschwader 64. This is the only squadron within the German air force that operates helicopters. The first NH-90 for the air force arrived on 1st of October 2010 at Holzdorf. A variant of the NH-90 (MH-90) might replace the ageing fleet of Sea King helicopters. A version of the S-92 Helibus, the MH-92, is preferred by many but the decision is still pending.

Russian built helicopters were present in the form of a rare Mi-14PL from the Polish Navy and a Lithuanian Mi-8T, a regular during past SAR Meets. A Dutch Lynx helicopter from the Defence Helicopter Command (DHC) still wearing navy titles, was present. This was slightly re-markable as there were then only three Dutch Lynx helicopters left in airworthy condition. This particular helicopter, serial 261, just returned form its last mission onboard the supply ship HNMLS Amsterdam in the Caribbean for counternarcotics operations and coast guard duties and received special markings.

German military helicopters present were three Bo-105Ps, including two with a special livery, an EC135 and four UH-1D Hueys (just try to imagine the sound when the four Hueys left for their homebases!) The Bundespolizei participated with an AS.332L2 Cougar and a Danish company, Bel Air, showed up with an AW139.

A Royal Navy Type 23 frigate, the HMS St. Albans, was anchored in the harbour nearby with a Royal Navy Merlin HM1 embarked on deck. It did not fly to the airfield due to official commitments during the Kieler Woche. The history of the airport goes back to 1913 when a provisory runway was made. Ninety-nine years later the military use of the airport ends and Kiel-Holtenau remains a civil airport. Thank you and goodbye Kiel!