Airliner storage in the Lowlands: Woensdrecht
In February 2003 I undertook a quick trip to Woensdrecht (IATA code: WOE), an airport much out of use except for storage of airliners. Stork Aircraft Industries has their maintenance facilities for Fokker-manufactured airliners here.
While I have been at various airports in the US where aircraft are stored, awaiting the scrapper or a new lease on life, I had never undertaken a phototrip to Woensdrecht and this had to be corrected. For photography over the fence one needs steps.
John Dyer of Gatwick (UK) published a complete report (I had concentrated only in taking some photos) on the aircraft present on 01Mar03 (only 2 weeks after I had been there):
B737s - OY-KKY plus two other SAS machines between hangars, which I am assuming from previous reports were OY-KKE and SE-DNX.
Fokker 28s - N800DH, SE-DGI, SE-DGL, SE-DGR, SE-DGT, SE-DGU, 5H-CCM
Fokker 50s - EC-GJY, EC-GKE, EI-FKC, EI-FKD, PH-JXC, PH-JXL, PH-KXN, PH-KXS,PH-KXU, PH-KXX, PH-PRI, PH-WXH, SU-YAI
Fokker 100s - G-BYDN, N107ML, N109ML, PH-MKH
All were white overall, with the following exceptions - the SAS 737s were still in full scheme, 5H-CCM had the Tanzanian flag on the tail, EI-FKC/D were still in Aer Lingus scheme, SU-YAI carried Palestinian A/L tail markings, N107ML was in full Midway markings and PH-MKH was still marked as the Fk100 demonstrator.
For those thinking of popping along to Woensdrecht, it is worth mentioning that the track through the woods from the car park is probably impassable now. Judging from tyre tracks, they seem to have been running some heavy plant equipment along the first part and the ruts are now so deep that a car would probably end up being grounded.
Thanks John !
The history of this air base started in 1934. During W.W.2 the Germans built it into a military base, complete with hangars and fortifications. It was bombed heavily by the Allied forces.
After the war it saw use as a military initial training base and in 1953 a factory for jetengines started it swork here. Since 1955 Fokker Aircraft Industries made use of the airport.
In 1968 the air base was closed for military traffic and the status changed to reserve base; but Fokker remained as the main user.
In 1988 the military returned with the initial training course. Pilatus PC-7 Porters are presently being used.
The main gate will lead to the military side of the airport and no aircraft can be viewed from there (well, there is a T-33 on a pole behind the sentry...). To get to where I was, take the exit from the highway with direction Woensdrecht but note shortly afterwards a small sign "Stork Aerospace Industries" which dictates a lefthand turn; follow the road (with another lh-turn somewhere) and park the car at the far corner of Stork's carpark; then follow the fence, you cannot miss.
Woensdrecht is indicated by the red dot, near Bergen op Zoom.
Comments and/or additions are very welcome !
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