International airborne exercise Falcon Leap at Twente Airport

From September 4 to 15, 2023, the international airborne exercise Falcon Leap will be held from Eindhoven Air Base. The exercise is organized by the '11 Air Mobile Brigade' of the Royal Netherlands Army. The transport aircraft of the 336 squadron of the Air Mobility Command will provide the airborne transport together with international partners. During this exercise, international cooperation with 12 different countries takes center stage.

Air Mobility Command, together with international partners, is training cargo and paratrooper dropping during the annual exercise Falcon Leap.

During the first week of the exercise, cargo dropping (Container Delivery System [CDS] drops) will be practiced over Marnewaard, Ginkelse Heide and over locations in Belgium. The second week is devoted to dropping paratroopers. The paratroopers will land at various locations in Gelderland, North Brabant, Groningen and Belgium.

Exercises at Twente Airport

Twente Airport is one of the Departure AirFields (DAF) for the exercise. Drops of cargo and paratroopers will not take place here. Tactical Air-Land Operations (TALO), such as approach procedures (approaches) and touch-and-go's with a C-130 Hercules, will be practiced at Twente Airport.

The C-130 can be deployed in an area where an enemy is active. It is then possible that the aircraft may come under fire during landing. If the aircraft will always land in the same way and via the same route, at some point an enemy will know where best to place a weapon. The C-130 is capable of a so-called tactical approach at an airfield. The aircraft approaches the airfield from an unpredictable side and then initiates a fast landing. A short turn can be made after which the aircraft descends rapidly. These tactical approaches will be practiced at Twente Airport (see below). 

Planning Twente Airport (with reservations)

Tuesday, September 5 through 8: with the C-130 and C27J
Wednesday, September 13: with the C130, C27J and C295.

During the flights the aircraft fly at a low altitude and are therefore visible and audible. From September 5 to 8, there will also be evening flights until approximately 8:30 p.m.

Laurens Esveldt, harbor master Twente Airport: "Since the closure of Twenthe Air Base, the Ministry of Defense still occasionally uses the airport for (combined) exercises. During this exercise, several ground and air units of Defense work together. Due to the nature of the exercise, Defense is looking for "shielded" locations to train independently. Twente Airport meets those conditions. Exercises like this are necessary to keep the skills of Defense personnel up to date. As an airport, we are pleased to be able to contribute in this way to the exercise capability of Defense. "

C-130 Hercules

A C-130 Hercules is a four-engine transport aircraft used to transport military personnel and equipment. The aircraft (40.5 meters wide and 11.7 meters high) does not necessarily need to land on an airfield. Thanks to its robust landing gear and four strong engines (4,591 hp per engine), the aircraft can use so-called "dirt strips," such as a beach or a flat stretch in a desert. If there is no way to land, the aircraft can drop military personnel or cargo. A tailgate is opened at the rear of the aircraft, after which pallets of cargo leave the aircraft and land by parachute at an agreed-upon location. Paratroopers can also leave the aircraft this way, in addition they can use doors on the side of the aircraft.

Besides military deployment, the C-130 can also be used for humanitarian assistance in disaster areas where an airfield is unavailable or partially destroyed.

For example, the aircraft was deployed after Hurricane Irma that swept devastatingly over St. Maarten, among other places. Recently, C-130s have been deployed during evacuation flights from Kabul Afghanistan and to help earthquake victims in Turkey.

Military exercises are carefully prepared. This is essential for the exercising units, but also for the surroundings of the exercise sites. It is possible that people may nevertheless experience nuisance during this exercise. Any complaints should preferably be submitted via the complaint form on www.luchtmacht.nl/geluidshinder. If you would like to know more about flight movements, see www.luchtmacht.nl/vliegbewegingen.

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