emergency landing strips in Belgium

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JOM4021
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Re: emergency landing strips in Belgium

Post by JOM4021 »

It has most probably more to do with the fact that they are leftovers of a bygone era now, and so forgotten. As they would have become operational only in case of a "hot" war with the USSR, even pilots most probably had only a passing knowledge of them, all details being kept at headquarters, where they are certainly now buried into piles of archives of that era. We would need the insight of someone having worked over there to tell us more. Call for help !!! :)

aerobel
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Re: emergency landing strips in Belgium

Post by aerobel »

I've been investigating this issue on the N377 in Stalhille and checked some rumours. You can read the conclusion in my article (in dutch) at the Hangar Flying website http://www.hangarflying.be/nl/content/n ... ogvliegers
http://www.fototbr.be [Freelance press photographer]

jan_olieslagers
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Re: emergency landing strips in Belgium

Post by jan_olieslagers »

A good article, Tom, thanks for sharing!

airazurxtror
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Re: emergency landing strips in Belgium

Post by airazurxtror »

Such sites obviously are classified : no need to give them away to the enemy.
I quote David Morgan, a former Harrier pilot in Germany during the cold war :
"The German Harrier Force was trained to be able to deploy within hours of an alert and my first job in the theatre had been to plan the off-base sites that the aircraft would use in the event of hostilities. These sites were highly classified and varied a great deal in nature, some hiding the aircraft in farm buildings, other utilising strip of urban roads and supermarkets."

David Morgan : Hostile skies - Phoenix, London, 2006 - page17

smokejumper
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Re: emergency landing strips in Belgium

Post by smokejumper »

In the case of Harriers, landing sites can be classified as any small field will suffice for a landing base, so long as fuel, ordinance and supplies are available.

But in the case of fixed wing aircraft requiring long hard runways, the need for secrecy is less important. If I were a potential enemy, I'd have identified all long, straight and, wide sections of highways long ago and would bomb them early in any conflict.

jan_olieslagers
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Re: emergency landing strips in Belgium

Post by jan_olieslagers »

The comparison to Harrier operations sounded little convincing to me, too. On top, we had already been told that Germany was in another category than Belgium, being much closer to a possible theatre of military operations.

regi
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Re: emergency landing strips in Belgium

Post by regi »

aerobel wrote:I've been investigating this issue on the N377 in Stalhille and checked some rumours. You can read the conclusion in my article (in dutch) at the Hangar Flying website http://www.hangarflying.be/nl/content/n ... ogvliegers
Thank you for the efforts and the report. But I have to make some remarks ( not to prove that I am right and you are wrong, I am not so childish ;) )
The excercise: confirmed by a former Rijkswacht member who attended the excercise: 1989 or 1990, not sure. So, much later than the mid 1980'ies. No airplanes were involved. But the excercise was joined by airforce staff, not the army.

Use: confirmed again: would have been just an emergency landing strip for AFB Koksijde. But to be used as a real take off AFB is doubtfull - as you confirmed in your report what I also said: the middle section.
The trees: just a matter of some hours.

But look at the time frame. Before AFB Koksijde would have been taken out by a Russian bombardment ( most likely by a cruise missile ) there would have been a period of high tension before. So this road could be prepared weeks / months before any actual event happens.
And as I said, a local farming contractor told me in person that they would be involved to pull the trees straight out of the soil by their strong tractors. Simple job, done within some hours.

Wind direction:
the 2 airstrips at AFB of Koksijde were in a cross...

We have to put ourselves in the mind of the cold war people. AFB Koksijde would be the centre, with Ostend to be upgraded to a full military airport as well. But the conversion of the express way N377 into a military airstrip would not be to make it a full AFB, just an emergency landing strip in case Koksijde and Ostend would have been taken out temporarely.
I assume that some parts of the E40 highway would serve the same purpose. But I have no information about that.

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earthman
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Re: emergency landing strips in Belgium

Post by earthman »

In the eastern part of Poland, the A4 highway currently under construction includes an emergency military airstrip: a 3+km long stretch where the two halves of the road are built as a single 36-meter wide piece, with a movable concrete barrier in the center (the builders are not allowed to drill any holes in the road there), and airplane parking areas at the beginning and end.

This is something being built right now, not decades ago. Although not in Belgium of course.

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