As part of the RAF 100 celebrations an RAF Odiham based Chinook helicopter has visit a number of former RAF air stations in Germany. The helicopter’s primary reason for being in Germany was to take part in the Berlin Airshow.
Co-Pilot of the Chinook, Flight Lieutenant Andy Donovan said: “We are incredibly proud to be visiting Germany in the 100th year of the Royal Air Force, firstly in association with the show, but also as a good proportion of our service operating Chinooks was spent here between 1981 and 1997 so this gives us an opportunity to reflect on a little bit of history as part of the RAF100 celebrations.”
Lifting from RAF Odiham on the 24 April, the first leg of the route saw the crew drop into the one time RAF Geilenkirchen, now a NATO Air Station and the main operating hub for the Alliance’s E-3A Sentry airborne early warning and control aircraft.
The second visit of the tour was the former RAF Wildenrath, once home to eleven RAF squadrons over the years, but now the Wegberg-Wildenrath railway test and validation centre. Unfortunately, unable to land, the pilots of the Chinook acknowledged the history of Wildenrath with an over-flight of this once impressive RAF Station.
It was then on to former RAF Brüggen and RAF Laarbruch. The latter once being home to the Chinook that was making the flight. Later Flight Lieutenant Andy Donovan said: “It dawned on me as we climbed out that we may well be the last crew ever to land an RAF aircraft at Brüggen. A sad thought for a base with so many years of service behind it.”
Finally it was on to the former RAF Gütersloh where again the helicopter could not land but once again the locals saw a RAF Chinook in the sky. Flight Lieutenant Stuart Kynaston, the pilot: said; “It was really good to be able to bring RAF aviation back to some of our former stations, especially returning the Chinook to its former home at RAF Laarbruch. The reception we received at all the bases was great and the active airfields did everything they could to help this happen. It was really interesting to see the remains of our past infrastructure at various sites.”