Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields in Europe

Belgium - province: Limburg

This collection of airfields is © 2010-2013 by RonaldV
(Disclaimer).

 

Zutendaal updated 24 Jun 2011 - St. Truiden Updated 09 Feb 2013

Zwartberg - Asch (Y29)

As - Leopoldsburg

Ophoven (Y-32) - Hasselt - Neerpelt Corrected 09 Feb 2013

 

____________________________________________________

 

Zutendaal

 

50°56'59"N 005°35'36"E

 

Runway: 06/24 - 9777x148feet/2980x45meters - concrete/asphalt

 

Reserve air base Zutendaal (Dutch: Reserve vliegveld Zutendaal, ICAO EBSL), near Genk in the province of Limburg, was built ca. 1953 in reponse to a NATO requirement for reserve air bases.

The airfield is not in use, and has never had units assigned to it.

In the winter of 1944/1945 the logistics site north of the runway was the location of airfield Y-29 (Asch), which is not to be confused with the much earlier airfield of As, which was a about 3.5 kilometers to the northwest.

Zutendaal has been used in support of ReForGer and similar exercises.

A few years ago the Belgian Air component had some F-16s land at the runway, but the pilots found it to be in such a state they left and never returned.

 

Zutendaal suports the US Army depot on the north side of the runway.

As of 2009 the airfield also has a civilian glider club, the LZC (Limburg Glider Club, or "Limburgse Zweefvlieg Club" in Dutch).

 

Map of Zutendaal airfield ca. 1995 (Source).

 

Zutendaal reserve air base, ca 2009 (Via GoogleMaps).

 

____________________________________________________

 

Zwartberg

 

51°00'54"N 005°31'32"E

 

Runway: 03/21 - 799x23meter - Asphalt

 

Airfield Zwartberg (Dutch: vliegveld Zwartberg), is an airfield in Genk, in the province of Limburg, Belgium.

The airfield was founded in 1957 and is the home base of a glider club, a model aircraftclub and an aeroclub.

The airfield began with an airstrip of sand, but it soon became unusable.

After trail and error a grass was found that allowed for the frequent use as a runway.

In 1998 the runway was upgraded to the current asphalt surface.

 

No image available.

 

____________________________________________________

 

St.Truiden

 

50°47'31"N 005°12'06"E

 

Runway 06/24 - 1199x50meters/3934x164feet - Asphalt (actual length is 2993x50meters/5070x165feet)

Runway 06R/24L - ???meters/???feet - Asphalt (emergency runway, in use as taxiway)

Runway 09/27 - 1435x20meters/4740x165feet - Concrete (not in use)

Runway 14/32 - ???x50meters/5250x165feet - Concrete (not in use)

 

Air Base Brustem/St.Truiden (Dutch: vliegveld Brustem/St.Truiden, also known as Air Base St.Trond and ALG A-92 St.Trond, ICAO: EBST) was a military airfield operated by the Belgian Air Force

During World War II Brustem was the base of one of the most famous Luftwaffe Night Fighter squadron, NJG1.

Two of its units II/NJG1 and IV/NJG1 operated Junkers Ju88 and Heinkel He219 aircraft from here in 1944.

Its most highest scoring German night fighter pilot, Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer (121 air victories, most of them on night).

He was referred to as "The ghost of St. Trond" by British Bomber crews that flew over Germany on night attacks raids.

However, after the War, the population of the area told a story about the Spook Pilot of Brustem, a story that alledgedly really happened.

The story (as told in a war time poem (in Dutch) tells of an Allied pilot that wreaked havoc at Brustum.

In a PS at the end of the poem lies the clue:

In reality The Spook was not one, but two pilots, actually twin pilots from Poland, both flying with the RAF.

The first Spook died in action near Osnabruck, wearing his brothers RAF watch.

The second Spook was killed by the suicide attack of a Luftwaffe ace who wearing the first Spooks watch, over Air Base Brustem.

 

On 15 August 1944 the airfield was bombed by a bomber strike force of 1000 bombers that was to deal with 6 air bases in the Low Countries (gearthhacks.com).

 

When the Allies liberated the airfield it was repaired by taken into service as Advanced Landing Ground Y-92.

As Y-92 St. Trond it served as a base for:

48th Fighter Group, 30 September 1944-26 March 1945 (A-20 Havocs).

404th Fighter Group (508th Squadron), 4 October 1944-30 March 1945 (P-47 Thunderbolts).

386th Bombardment Group, 9 April-27 July 1945 (B-26 Invaders).

 

Personnel Of The 834Th Engineer Aviation Battalion Fill Up Bomb Crater During The Repair Of An Airfield At St. Trond, Belgium, 27 September 1944.
(National Archives, via fold3.com)

 

Groundcrew and a A-26 Invader "The Little Heathen" at St.Trond (photo Albert Bamps, kindly provided by his son Jos Bamps).

 

Jos Bamps provided me with this photo of his father Albert standing on the wreckage of B-24 41-129128 "Lady Luck".
In October 1944 "Lady Luck" diverted to St. Trond on two engines after sustaining battle damage by flak over Cologne.

 

A Martin B-26 "Marauder" Of The 386Th Bomb Group Lands At Its Base At St. Trond, Belgium After A Mission On 1 June 1945.
(National Archives, via fold3.com)

 

During the Cold War the airfield was home to the Flying School of the Belgian Air Force.

St.Truiden is now used by local companies only, as operation as a recreational or general aviation field is very strictly regulated.

The former military Air Base Brustem is now known as Limburg Regional Airport (LRA)

LRA was founded when the Belgian military closed Brustum Air Base in 1996.

LRA was closed by local and provincial authorities in 2004 when it was found it did not have a minimum of safety standards adhered to.

Because of noise constraints the facility now has a much shortened (complared to it's military days) runway, and is only open to local aviation related businesses.

The north side of the airfield is now a dumping ground for construction companies.

According to this website (in Dutch) Brustem and it's associate Goetsenhoven AB are now, less than 15 years after the military left) in a major state of disrepair

The website includes a lot of pictures of Goetsenhoven and Brustem

 

Jeppesen Aeronautical map showing the runway and taxiway system of Brustem/St.Truiden.

 

Fouga MT-3 of the Red Devils aerobatic team on a pole near the entrance of Limburg Regional Airport (source).

 

____________________________________________________

 

As

 

50°59'28"N 005°33'48"E

 

Asch (or As) airfield (Dutch: vliegveld Asch or As) was originally built in 1917 by the German army occupying Belgium, close to the city of Genk

They used the airfield as a weapons training facility (German: Fliegerschießschule, or pilots firing school).

For its time it was rather large, having a 1100 by 800 metres grass airfield and several metal hangars and brick support buildings.

 

The first aircraft to take off from the airfield did so on 26 May 1917.

After the war, the airfield was pressed into service as a flying school by the Belgian army.

They left in 1926 however.

The airfield was then split in two: the hangars and airfield were bought by one Jozef Mardaga.

The remaining grounds and the Officers Casino were built by baronesse de Beeckman-Wittouck

She converted the building into an orphanage

 

This airfield is not to be confused with the airfield of Asch (Y-29) , which is located about 3.5 kilometers to the Southeast at present day Air Base Zutendaal, although other sources claim it was about 3 kilometers east of Asch

 

Today the hangars and airfield are completely gone, only the concrete floor of one of the hangars still remains in the woods that now cover the area.

Only the former officers casino is still standing.

Until 2003 it was used as an orphanage.

By late 2009 the building had been looted and severely mistreated, but it's old Colonialism grandeur could still be seen.

When on New Years Eve 2009 somebody started a fire in one of the orphanage auxiliary buildings the Major of As had the entire area fenced off and guarded.

Several organisations and individuals are trying to get the local and provincial governments to restore the building to its former glory.

 

Former Officers Mess/Casino of airfield Asch in June 2008 (photo RonaldV)

 

____________________________________________________

 

Asch (Y-29)

 

50°57'46"N 005°34'25"E

 

Runway: 06/24 - 5000x120feet/1670x45meters - Sod (dirt)

 

Advanced Landing Ground Asch (Dutch: vliegveld Asch, or ALG Y-29), near Genk in the province of Limburg, is an abandoned World War II military airstrip east of Genk, in the province of Limburg, Belgium.

Asch Airfield (Y29) was constructed in November 1944 by the USAAF IX Engineer Command, 852nd and 846th engineer Aviation Batallion.

It is not to be confused with the much earlier airfield of Asch.

NOTE:There appears to be a lot of confusion about the correct location of Y-29.

According to Wikipedia and other sites it was at 50°59'10"N005°36'53"E.

Jan Lantmeesters pointed out to me however: An official monument was raised at Air Base Zutendaal , at what is supposed to be the end of the original runway (see map below).

 

Asch Advanced Landing Ground according to Wikipedia and others, ca 2009 (via Google Earth).

 

Correct location of Asch Advanced Landing Ground (Y-29, in yellow), ca 2009 (via Jan Lantmeeters).

 

Its facilities consisted of a tent city, an access road to the existing road infrastructure, a dump containing fuel, food, water and ammunition, and en minimal electrical grid for communications and station lighting.

Asch was home to the USAAF 352FG (P-51 Mustangs) and 366FG (P-47 Thunderbolts) between 19 November 1944 and 11 April 1945.

Between 8 February and 15 April 1945 it also based 406FG (P-47 Thunderbolts).

These units were all tasked with disrupting German operations ahead of the beachhead, strafing anything german they encountered.

 

On the start of Operation Bodenplatte (the German counterattack through the Ardennes) on 1 January 1945 Asch was the site of a major aerial battle, which later became known as "The Legend of Asch".

When the fighter units moved out Asch became home to 391BG (B-26 Marauders) until 27 May 1947.

With the end of the war in Europe the airfield was closed and abandoned on 20 June 1945.

Today, nothing but a small memorial reminds of the airfield, which is partly in a wooded area at Zutendaal Air Base, and partly at the other end of Highway E314.

 

Y-29 plotted on a map by R. Lambie (via Jan Lantmeeters).

 

____________________________________________________

 

Ophoven (Y-32)

 

51°2'31"N 005°32'36"E

 

 

Runway: 12/30 - 5000x120feet/1670x45meters - PSP

 

Ophoven Airfield is an abandoned World War II military airfield which is located in the municipality of Opglabbeek (Limburg); approximately 54 miles northeast of Brussels.

The airfield, numbered Y-32, was built by the United States Army Air Force IX Engineer Command, 820th Engineer Aviation Battalion in late November/early December 1944.

Its facilities consisted of a tent city, an access road to the existing road infrastructure, a dump containing fuel, food, water and ammunition, and en minimal electrical grid for communications and station lighting.

Opened on 10 December, the airfield was first used as a resupply and casualty evacuation airfield, with C-47 Skytrain transports flying in and out of the airfield frequently.

From January it hosted 370 FG (P-47 Thunderbolts) and from February it also based 405FG (P-47 Thunderbolts).

Both units were tasked with disrupting German operations ahead of the beachhead, strafing anything german they encountered.

 

Approach to Ophoven Advanced Landing Ground Y-32, 1945 (Source).

Both fighter units moved out at the end of April 1945.

With the end of the war in Europe the airfield was closed and abandoned in May 1945.

Today, nothing reminds of the airfield, which is now partly agricultural field and an industrial area.

 

Ophoven in 2010. Note the markers, compared to the image above (Source).

 

Ophoven in Google Earth, 2010. Same markers as to the images above.

 

Thanks to Jan Lantmeeters for pointing me to the correct position of this airfield.

 

____________________________________________________

 

Hasselt

 

50°58'15"N 005°22'35"E

 

Runway: 09 / 27 - 600x18meter/1969x56feet - Asphalt

 

Airfield Hasselt (Dutch: vliegveld Hasselt, ICAO: EBZH) is an airfield near Hasselt, in the province of Limburg, Belgium.

The airfield is often called after the local flying club Aero-Kiewit (Kiewit = Lark)

The airfield is the oldest in Belgium, having started in 1909, only 6 years after the Wright brothers took to the air for the first powered flight in the world.

A year later it was the site of the first-ever airshow in Belgium, drawing a crowd of 15,000.

From that moment on, the Kiewit-Airfield was established as a testing area for new airplanes from famous manufacturers like Henry Farman and Louis Blériot and it became the basis for the first official Pilot Training School.

By the late 1920s the Limburg Aviation Club was founded at the airfield.

 

During World War II the airfield was used by the Germans as a decoy airfield.

Various efforts to reopen the airfield after the war were unsuccessful until a group of highly motivated pilots founded flying club Aero-Kiewit vzw on 6 February 1969.

They managed to have the airfield officially re-opened by Minister A. Bertrand on October 3rd the very same year.

Since it has become home base of about 40 flying club and privately-owned airplanes and of Glider Club Albatros.

 

Map of Hasselt (Aero-Kiewit).

 

____________________________________________________

 

Leopoldsburg

 

51°07'03"N 005°18'06"E

 

Runway: 08/26 - 600x18meter/1969x56feet - Asphalt



Airfield Leopoldsburg (Dutch: vliegveld Leopoldsburg, ICAO: EBLE) is an airfield near Beverlo, in the province of Limburg, Belgium.

The airfield yearly hosts the biggest annual airshow organised by a European Aeroclub (Sanicole).

Although officially a military airfield, the primary user is the Sanicole Aeroclub.

 

This Jeppesen map (2010) might explain why this field is officially military: across the road lies EBD42, a danger area over a large Belgian Land Component (Army) ammunition storage facility.

 

Jeppesen map (2010) showing the layout of the airfield.

 

____________________________________________________

 

Neerpelt

 

51°12'48"N 005°28'44"E

 

Runway: 08/26 - 600x18meter/1969x56feet - Asphalt



Airfield Neerpelt (Dutch: vliegveld Neerpelt, ICAO: EBNE) is an ultralight airfield between Kleine Brogel Air Base and the Dutch border, in the province of Limburg, Belgium.

The airfield is very basic: A field with a communications marker, a windbag and a landingstrip.

It is only just outside the two miles marker, but well within the CTR.

Because of the air base and its QRA responsibilities, contact with Kleine Brogel ATC is mandatory prior to takeoff (by phone) and while within the CTR.

 

Neerpelt

 

map (2010) showing the layout of the airfield and it's position relative to Kleine Brogel (EBKB).

 

____________________________________________________

If you have any information about airfields (listed and unlisted) in the province of Limburg, email RonaldV.

Disclaimer

____________________________________________________

Home

________________________________