Since the closure of Valkenburg NAS, this is the remaining naval aviation base in Holland. Because the harbour of Den Helder is the main base for Dutch navy ships, the NH90 helicopters are based here. The airfield attracts visiting helicopters from other countries, both civil and military, and the occasional transport aircraft. Part of the field is civil and houses several helicopter companies and some general aviation. Dancopter and CHC perform the majority of movements and are off-shore flights.
The terrain is flat and open with a lot of canals and ditches. With some moving around on several sides of the airport anything parked outside or flying should come into view.
By car, use any of the three major roads coming together just southeast of the field to reach the area. Do not take the main road N250 towards Den Helder, but take the feeder road which starts at the McDonalds. Drive on this road called Doggersvaart to drive along the airport. There is an exit towards the civil terminal and another one towards the military area. Public transport gives two options. Den Helder Zuid train station is about a 25 minute walk from the field, and the Interliner bus from Den Helder's main railway station stops at the base.
Around the Airport
At the Doggersvaart, take the first left onto Luchthavenweg. At the next crossing take a right and then left again. Park your car at the end. There is a practice helicopter landing and hover area east of the beginning of runway 03. From here you have a nice view on that area. Furthermore, when using runway 21, the departing traffic can be seen here. You can walk along the perimeter to a better spot.
2Civil terminal area
From the Doggersvaart, take the second left towards the civil terminal. Most of the civil aircraft and helicopters can be seen between the buildings. Photography is difficult here but the numbers can be scored. You can also have a view onto the most westerly part of the military apron from the parking spots near the buildings.
Follow the Doggersvaart to this spot. Park your car at near the crash gate. You can stay at the gated area. At this spot, one can stand at either side of the centreline for landing or take-off shots (depending on the wind) and to read off the helicopters on the military apron. Due to the fences you will need a small step to photograph over the fence onto the heli spots, especially with easterly winds. Most of the time, with easterly winds, smaller helicopters will use the heli spot near this spot. Bigger ones will use the mid runway heli spot but will depart on runway heading and will not be too high. With westerly winds, all traffic will cross this spot while the smaller helicopters, like the Lynx, will use the taxiway close by to fly towards the apron with a nice turn. If you walk a bit to the south, towards the military gate, you will have a view of some parts of the military apron.
4Northern platform view
From the Doggersvaart, a bit west of the runway centreline, one has a good view of the military apron and the helos can be spotted from here, despite looking into the sun. Those on the civil part are further away but may be read off too. It is best to use the parking spot related to the cycling training grounds.
This side of the runway gives a clear view over the base. This is also an alternative to watch the practice areas along the runway and the beginning of 04 during the afternoon. While driving around the airport onto the Kortevliet, take the road towards the radar station.
This spot is no longer available as this is private ground.
A bit less known is spot number 7. From spot 1, take a left at the crossing and take the next right again. mid part, south of the airfield one can turn a car onto a hardened dirt road and follow it to the end. From there a short walk leads to the spot with a very good view on the practice area and runway 03.
British Wildcat arriving at De Kooy for a fuel stop, enroute to Nordholz. (Edwin Daalder)
This Norwegian NH90 was visiting its Dutch colleagues and captured near the terminal, spot 2. (Martin Schmitz)
|379.750||Ground / Tower|
|372.150 / 124.230||Arrival|
|359.100 / 123.305||Spare|
|301.200||De Kooy Operations|
|264.325 / 132.350||Dutch Mil|
|'118/D'||Actually WV828, this former Royal Navy Sea Hawk is painted in Dutch colours.|
|'235/K'||Also a former RN example, the serial of this Wasp is really XT795. Both are preserved inside a building at the base.|
|220||AB204, in front of new building, visible from the main gate|
|216/V||SP-2H, former gate guard from Valkenburg has moved to an area close to the military gate.|
|184||CS-2A, preserved on base|