On October 17, an F-35 of the Royal Netherlands Air Force conducts practice flights near the former De Peel Air Base. By conducting these flights, residents living near the former air base get an indication of the aircraft noise and its impact on the residential environment.
There is no actual take-off and landing at the airport because it is not yet possible. The flight routes will correspond as far as possible to the routes that will be flown after the intended reopening of the airport.
A new airport decision is needed for a reopening. In order to arrive at an airport decision, a fair amount of consultation is required between the defence, regional and local authorities, local residents and other stakeholders. There were various information evenings in 2019 and in January this year about the intention to reopen the air base. This contact has shown that there is a desire to experience the sound of the aircraft through experience flights, as with the arrival of the F-35 at the Leeuwarden and Volkel air bases.
On October 17th, and possibly October 18th as a free day, an F-35 will fly arrival and departure routes. These routes have been developed in consultation with the Ministry of Defense and the Netherlands Aerospace Center (NLR) and mimic future flight patterns as closely as possible. The current runway is outdated and unsuitable for safe landing and take-off. The F-35 flies low over the runway, but there is no actual takeoff and landing. In addition, the sound the aircraft makes also depends on its weight and there will also be a difference between “landing” with a full tank and actually landing after a training mission with an empty tank. The location, direction and height of the aircraft above the surrounding residential areas will be representative. To make the experience as realistic as possible, local residents are expressly advised to experience the flights from their normal living and/or working environment and not to come to the air base.
Measurements and research
At the request of the surrounding municipalities, NLR also carries out noise measurements at a number of locations in the area. The location of the measuring points is determined in consultation with surrounding municipalities. NLR publishes the results. In addition, the analysis agency Invior conducts a perception survey. This independent investigation is carried out on behalf of the Ministry of Defense and in cooperation with the surrounding municipalities.
Reopening of De Peel
The Defense Force wants to reopen De Peel Air Base. This requires an airport decision. With an airport decision for the lieutenant-general Best Kaserne in De Peel, this army barracks can also be used as an airport again.
Due to the worsening security situation in the world, the defense has to practice more. As a result, the number of military flights increases. Due to, among other things, the closure of the Soesterberg, Twenthe and Valkenburg air bases around 16 years ago, the Ministry of Defense has little (noise) room to expand the number of flights. All airbases are ‘full’ or nearly full. Reopening De Peel air base helps to solve the lack of space at air bases.
The Ministry of Defense’s target is for 12 combat aircraft to take off a maximum of 1,800 times and land 1,800 times at De Peel each year. That’s 3,600 flight movements per year. The defense has indicated that it wants to fly 3 periods of 6 weeks or a period of 24 weeks each year. The airbase is then open from Monday to Thursday from 07:00 to 23:00.
With the reopening of De Peel, the Ministry of Defense wants to retain the current licensed sound space, but not expand it. During his recent visit to De Peel, on Friday 16 September 2022, State Secretary Van der Maat emphasized that the Defense will now, as a first step, make a nitrogen calculation, for an application for a permit under the Nature Protection Act. This will be followed by other studies in preparation for an airport decision, including the assessment of the effects on the environment. During the visit, good agreements were made on close consultation between the surrounding municipalities, the two provinces and the national government on the preparation of the airport decision.
More information about the planned reopening can be found at:
Flight movement exercise Basic Strike week 40
From Tuesday the 4th to Friday the 7th in October there are flights over Peel. The training focuses on applying for air support.
The military personnel who request air support are also referred to as Joint Terminal Air Controllers (JTAC). The JTAC is a skilled operator capable of directing combat aircraft, attack helicopters and armed UAVs over the deployment area from a forward position. JTAC is often seen as a mission essential function due to the importance of close air support in today’s special operations.
In week 40, civilian aircraft will be flown, including the L-39 Albatros and the SIAI-Marchetti SF-260.
From Tuesday to Thursday there are several flight blocks in the morning and afternoon. On Fridays, flights are only available in the morning.
Operational, but also climatic conditions can ensure that exercises proceed differently than previously announced.
Complain about noise nuisance from airplanes or helicopters
The Ministry of Defense endeavors not to create more noise with its planes and helicopters than is strictly necessary. It’s just not possible to prevent every kind of sound.
To lodge a complaint
For complaints about military air traffic, you can use the online complaint form.
Information in advance
If possible, the Ministry of Defense will inform you in advance of which military flight movements deviate from the usual flights. This information is on the page: https://www.defensie.nl/onderwerpen/vlieggedragen