The sound of freedom


This article it is not about Bob Sinclar’s fourth single, released in May 2007! There are different interpretations of ‘the sound of freedom’, for example the sound of jet-fighters above the soldiers on a battlefield: For some this may induce terror, for others it might appear to be the sound of helicopters arriving for a Search and Rescue mission. In this piece, the latter comes closest. Each year, on the 4th May, the Netherlands traditionally stops at eight o´clock PM for a two minute silence, to commemorate the fallen, to remember and to honour all the casualties and all the heroes that gave their lives during the Second World War, in order to liberate Europe. One day later, on the 5th May, we celebrate the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945, with a variety of activities throughout the country. Music festivals are organised in cities throughout the Netherlands. Many music bands are present at the festivals in cities all over the Netherlands and some of these music bands have been chosen to be the ‘Ambassadors of Freedom’ for that particular year. Their schedule of the day is filled with several performances at several festivals all over the Netherlands. This is where having a helicopter available comes in handy! During the 2010 festivals, a pair of CH-47D Chinooks were used to transport the bands. In this year’s celebrations there were a total of three AS.532U2 Mk2 Cougars that were used to fly the musicians from festival to festival.


One of the crew-members (a musician himself) even played along with one of the bands on stage. This was a day of celebration for all the citizens of the Netherlands but sadly it was a strange day for the crews of the Cougars. Recent Defence cuts resulted in the decision to completely axe the fleet of Cougars within the Defence helicopter Command. That Thursday was for most crew-members the last operational day of flying with the Cougar helicopter. On Monday 11 May, fourteen out of seventeen Cougar transport-helicopters were phased out. Three Cougars will remain in service for a short time. Hopefully, the helicopters of the Defence Helicopter Command will still be flying the music bands from festival to festival next year! To continue the sound of freedom, which is probably the best sound ever.




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The sound of freedom

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