This former F-16 base in the south of the country is situated between the cities of Breda and Tilburg. For a long period, it was only used by the Apaches of 301sq. Other traffic has slowed down since the departure of the fighters. Late in August 2008, 300sq (Alouette III) moved to Gilze-Rijen AB. During the rest of the year, all other helicopters from Soesterberg arrived here as well. All helicopter squadrons report to the DHC (Defence Helicopter Command).
Gilze's main runway is east-west. It is crossed by another runway with a north-south orientation. South of the main runway, most of the old shelter areas can be found. There is also one in the northeast corner. To the northwest of runway 20, helicopter maintenance hangars can be found. The Apache 'barns' are north of the main runway as is the visitor's ramp. The northwest corner is home to the historic flight. Lastly, there is a small shed used by the glider club, this is in the southeast opposite the airfield on the other side of the road.
To get to the air base, take exit Gilze (exit 12) from the A58. Follow the directions towards Rijen on the N260. Turn left at the traffic lights which brings you to spot 1 after 150m. The parking lot is to your right. The airbase is on your left.
Around the Airport
1East side approach
Along the road, there are plenty of good spots to take pictures. As the threshold of the runway is only a couple of metres from the road, traffic lights are placed there to stop the traffic. From this spot, you also have a nice view of the base, but because there are many trees, you cannot see a lot. To the left of the runway is the former USAF reserve base, which is no longer in use. To visit the spot, you can park your car at the designated parking lot just on the opposite side of the road (near the gilder club hangar).
2Along the N282
Here you will have a good view of aircraft landing at runway 20. The Historical Flight are one of the few who use this runway for fixed-wing aircraft. From this spot, you are also able to see the phase maintenance hangars of the Chinooks and Cougars. The hangars for the Chinooks are the ones directly along the road. Those for the Cougars are behind it. There are also some openings in the bushes which enable you to have a peek into the hangars.
3The main gate
At the gate a NF-5, a Bo105 and a F-84 are preserved.
4Southwest side view - runway 10
Along the small road you can park your car and from there you have a nice view of runway 10. Due to a lot of trees you only can see the perimeter of the airfield. Landing aircraft can easily be seen here, but departing aircraft from runway 28 are often too high or noticed too late due to the obstructed view.
5Historical Flight apron
From the dead end road you can see the RNLAF Historical Flight apron.
6The slopes - runway 02
Along this road, you have various spots from where you can see the aircraft on runway 02. On your left you can see parts of the RNLAF Historical Flight apron. The most famous spot is along the fence near two very small hills inside the perimeter. These are called 'The slopes' and the air force is training here often. Because the land between the road and the airbase is a cornfield your view can be completely blocked when the corn has grown too high.
Spot 1 is a good one for photography. This AH-64D turns to the ramp at the end of runway 10. (Jaco Haasnoot)
Another great shot from spot 1. This AH-64D is coming in straight over runway 28. (Jaco Haasnoot)
|278.125 / 121.680||Ground|
|277.350 / 125.330||Tower|
|123.580||Arrival / RAPCON West|
|343.325 / 254.875||298sq / 299sq Operations|
|281.600 / 355.750||300sq / 301sq Operations|
|264.325 / 132.35||Dutch Mil (outside tower hours)|
|GRAS||The Gilze-Rijen Aviation Society|
Order of Battle Netherlands
|Royal Netherlands Air Force/Navy|