De Kempen / The Campine
The Campine (French) or De Kempen (Dutch) is a natural region situated chiefly in north-eastern Belgium and parts of the south-eastern Netherlands. It is a rather dry, infertile region of sandy soil and gravel, with pine woods interspersed among meadows of thin grass and heather. Since it was a region with a poor sand soil, one finds only a few old or large cities in the region. Most of those cities are located at the outer rim of the region. The major town in De Kempen is Turnhout.
From Lelystad to Brasschaat
On Sunday, 22 June 2014, Veleda and Rene made a trip to the Campine in Belgium. We first flew to Brasschaat airfield, formerly the base of the Belgian Army Flying Service and oldest air base in Belgium. In 1910, it was decided to construct the first military airfield at the Artillery shooting range in Brasschaat. The first official military Flying School of the Belgian Army opened its doors there on 1 May 1911. In September, the aircraft of Brasschaat, only two in total, proved their military worth in practice by taking part in army manoeuvres for the very first time. In 1912, firing tests with a machine gun fixed to an airplane were carried out on ground targets in Brasschaat. The success of those tests showed that the military use of planes was not limited to merely observation and reconnaissance.
Rene at Lelystad airport
Veleda and Rene at Brasschaat airport
Glider flying at Brasschaat airfield
From Brasschaat to Zoersel
After Brasschaat we flew to Zoersel or (Oost)Malle airport. The airport was constructed as a NATO reserve airfield in the 1950s. Although the airport was funded by NATO, there have never been military aircraft besides some NATO exercises.
Approaching Zoersel airport
Landing strip at the end
Veleda at Zoersel airport
From Zoersel to Weelde
Following Zoersel we flew to Weelde air base. It is a NATO reserve airfield constructed in the early 1950s. Weelde air base is operated by the Belgian Air Component that has no military flight operations at that location, besides aircraft arriving to be stored or leaving storage, for example retired F-16 aircraft. The Belgian Air Component also uses the airfield for the activities of the Belgian Air Cadets. It is also the home of the glider club Kempische Aero Club, of which club house we visited.
Landing at the end of the runway
Veleda with Piper at Weelde airport
Veleda at the Kempische Aero Club
From Weelde to Lelystad
After Weelde we flew back to Lelystad. We overflew the Gilze-rijen CTR, that on Friday and Saturday the day before had hosted the airforce open days. North-east of Gilze-rijen we passed the amusement park the Efteling. We also overflew Amersfoort, and then we continued to Lelystad airport where we landed on runway 05.
Passing the Efteling
Veleda and Rene at Lelystad airport