Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Patrick Brouckaert - Translation: Marc Arys  ęsbap 2020

"Oirschotse Heide" was formerly known as the "White Mountains" and was a much visited recreation area, comparable to the dunes of Loonsche and Drunensche, despite the presence of a small military camp at the start and which gradually grew. Enlarged, so increasing the use as a maneuvering ground.
The reserve includes many reliefs with wooded heights and cup-shaped depressions. Heather is strongly present there and the reserve is also an interesting place for bird lovers, we can observe European Nightjars (Caprimulgus Europaeus), Black Grouse (Lyrurus Tetrix), Red-breasted Wheatear (Oenanthe Bottae), or also Red Crossbill (Loxia Curvirostra). Amphibians are also present in this natural place; we find the Alpine Newt (Ichthyosaura Alpestris), the Field Frog (Rana Arvalis) and the Calamite Toad (Bufo calamita). The reserve is also one of the most important butterfly areas in the Netherlands and it is not uncommon to observe the Silver-studded blue (Plebejus Argus), the Alcon Alue (Phengaris Alcon), the Comma Butterfly (Hesperia Comma), the Gatekeeper (Pyronia Tithonus), the Chequered Skipper (Carterocephalus Palaemon) and the Ilex Hairstreak (Satyrium Ilicis).
The "Oirschotse heide" located near the city of Eindhoven is also known as the GLV5 training area and the ground is used very intensively for exercises. While walking around this reserve one can be faced with practicing soldiers who sometimes move heavy armored vehicles and possibly at high speeds. In addition to the movements of motorized troops, pyrotechnic agents are also frequently used. The means used vary between blank cartridges, tripwire light signals, smoke cannon imitators or tear gas.
The Dutch Air Force uses part of the reserve for training Chinook and Cougar pilots and crews. In the past, the Apaches would also have trained there but have abandoned this place for some time now.
One of the exercises designed for the chinook is the sling cargo transport process: the chinook disembarks equipment and soldiers. Then he returns to take the cargo, leaves in flight, returns to drop the load, and so on for about an hour. At the end of the exercise, the pilots make rapid passages at low altitude. Finally, the Chinook returns, picks up the men left on the ground, picks up the cargo with a hook manipulated through a hatch and then, the impressive CH-47 returns to its home base of Gilze Rijen.
Aviation enthusiasts and other photographers are welcome but must wear a fluorescent jacket and must position themselves either to the left or to the right of the helicopter, but never in front of the machine so that the crew is not disturbed. It's not hard to imagine that it's a very nice place to see KLu in action, but it's never a certainty to have a helicopter in action and the enemies of the camera, dust and sand are generously present...

Today it's the D-103 dedicated for the exercice session Boeing CH-47D 'Chinook"
The concept of the CH-47 model "D" dates from 1979 A reliable and impressive tactical transport helicopter
The D-103 is owned by the 298 Squadron
Securing the load Cargo sling
Face to face with the Chinook The D-103 is nicknamed "Dragonfly"
The 298 Squadron celebrates its 75 years (1945-2020) Chinook: the utility of ground troops
The pilot is guided by the loadmaster Great job!
A big, surprisingly flexible machine This is called having complete confidence in pilot control.
Sand and dust, the photographer friends!

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