Woensdrecht Air Base (IATA: WOE; ICAO: EHWO) is a military airbase located about 10 kilometers south of the city of Bergen op Zoom. The airfield started in the 1930s as a glider airfield and has become an military airfield after the Germans used it in World War 2. It is the ‘Main Support Base’ of the Royal Netherlands Air Force and provides among others multiple trainings for the Dutch army, such as the Elementary Military Flying Training. The Pilatus PC-7 is used as the training aircraft and fly 2 times a day with a maximum of 6 aircraft at a time between 09:30 – 11:30 and 13:30 – 15:30, mostly when the weather is good. There is also a big maintenance center for the RNLAF on the airbase called ‘Logistiek Centrum Woensdrecht’ (LCW). Aircrafts used by the airforce receive their regular maintenance here (except the Cougar). The airforce also uses this airfield for (for example) circuit training – touch and go etc.
Besides all this, Aviolanda is a big user of this airfield. Within that, Fokker Techniek is the largest company which receives aircraft for maintenance, cabin configuration or other things. Paint is mostly done by MAAS Aviation. At the moment these aircraft are mainly small ones such as the A320, B737 or Fokkers (which become very rare now), but recently A330s have been arriving more frequently and the plan is to receive more of them in the future (even B787s!). Sometimes, there are more civil movements than military ones on a day. All movements besides the PC-7s are distributed randomly throughout the day, but at the moment mostly on Monday / Wednesday / Friday. Because of this, the airbase gets many varied movements.
Written by Werner Verbogt (follow him on Instagram). Last change: March 2023 (Spot 8 removed)
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|07/25||2442m – Asphalt|
|Area 1||Fokker Storage Area, where aircraft are parked before / after maintenance or are waiting for a new costumer|
|Area 2||PC-7 apron. PC-7s of 131sq EMVO are parked here, but only when they’re about to fly.|
|Area 3||Logistiek Centrum Woensdrecht (LCW). Military maintenance center for RNLAF aircraft. Can’t be seen from outside the fence, but all traffic coming from / going away from there uses the taxiway leading to / from it.|
|Area 4||Visitors platform. Visiting aircraft (civil & military) often park on this small platform.|
|Ladder||Needed for spots 2, 4, 5 and 6.|
|Car/Public Transport||Car is recommended, especially for runway 25. Runway 07 is a bit easier to reach by public transport.|
|Drinks/Food||Food and drinks can be bought at the gas station in Korteven or in one of the supermarkets in Hoogerheide. On the 25 side, there’s a cafe.|
|Hotels||There are multiple hotels in Bergen op Zoom and one in Hoogerheide. But if you want to spend a night in style, you should definitely go to ‘Bed & Breakfast “Domaine Haute Bruyere” where you can sleep in a Fokker F-27!|
|Season||Woensdrecht is active during the whole year (except during some holidays). The airbase is open every Monday till Friday between 09:00 and 16:45. The Pilatus PC-7s normally fly between 09:30 – 11:30 and 13:30 – 15:30. Civil flight movements are distributed randomly throughout the day, but at the moment mostly on Monday / Wednesday / Friday due to lack of personell at the fire brigade on Tuesday and Thursday.|
|Security||Woensdrecht is an active military airbase, but spotting is no problem at all if you behave nicely.|
|07/25||Used for take-offs and landings. There is no preferred runway use here, but as a south-westerly wind prevails in the Netherlands, runway 25 is often in use. Helicopters don’t necessarily need a runway and often land directly on the ‘Main Heli Square’ or the ‘Confined Heli Square’ (see the map).|
|Spot #1 – Vinkenberg – 07 Arrivals|
|WHERE||Along the “Vinkenberg” road which is easy to reach by car from the A4 Exit 30 via Antwerpenstraatweg. Park as marked on the map on the side of the road and find your prefered position along the way.
When taking the bus, get off in Korteven and follow the Antwerpsestraatweg to the Vinkenberg.
|WHAT||Arrivals for runway 07 only.|
|TIME||From 09:00 till 15:00.|
|MISC.||No facilities at this spot, nearest one is in Korteven or Hoogerheide. No ladder needed.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||A330: 75mm (if such a big aircraft is right in front of you, then 70mm or even less), B738: 90mm, CH-47F: 260mm, PC-7s: 170mma, NH90: 210mm, F100: 95mm|
|Spot #2 – Vinkenberg – Fokker 07 departures, 25 arrivals|
|WHERE||Along the fence at the end of the Vinkenberg. Follow the same instructions given for spot 1.|
|WHAT||From here, you are able to see traffic departing from runway 07, especially the ones from Fokker Technoligies. You can also see arriving traffic for Fokker when they’re landing on runway 25, as they always have to roll to the end of the runway (see picture of the Avianca A320).|
|TIME||From 14:00 till sunset.|
|MISC.||No facilities at this spot, the nearest one is in Korteven or in Hoogerheide. Ladder needed, but please keep distance from the fence. Also note that this spot isn’t the best one during summers (lots of haze and the grass is high, which means you can’t see the gear)|
|FOCAL LENGTH||A321: 150mm, A320: 220mm, G550 and F70: 180mm, A330: 90mm; A320: 200mm|
|Spot #3 – Groeneweg – Overview storage area + 07 Departures from Fokker|
|WHERE||A bit north of the previous spots, at the end of the “Groeneweg” next to a farm. Just drive till the end of the road. The position is elevated and you have a good sight accross the runway.
If you take the bus, get off in Korteven and follow the Antwerpsestraatweg again. This time, go left to Lange Steen and thereafter the first one to the right.
|WHAT||From here, you are able to see the most aircraft that are parked in the storage (note that there are poles in the way) area and departing traffic from Fokker.|
|TIME||From 14:00 till sunset for departures. For the numbercrunchers who wants to read the serials at the parking: 17:00 till sunset.|
|MISC.||No facilities at this spot, the nearest one is in Korteven or in Hoogerheide. This place is located in the yard of a local farmer, so drive slowly and keep the good peace!! Ladder not necessarily needed.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Depends on what you want to photograph on the storage parking, but the overview is made with 75mm. Traffic departing from Fokker: 200-300mm, depends on the type of aircraft.|
|Spot #4 – Fields – 07/25 Arrivals + Departures and overview storage area|
|WHERE||This spot is along the fence, north of the previous spot. Park your car at the end of the Schansduinenpad. From here, you have to walk a few hundred meters to the fence. Be careful where you walk, this is a piece of land belonging to the local farmer who lives in the Groeneweg at spot 3. When taking the bus, follow the same instructions given for spot 3, but this time take the second one right to Schansduinenpad.|
|WHAT||From here, you can see the whole airbase including the visitors platform, ‘Main Heli Square’ near the control tower and the storage area (note that there are poles in the way here too). Aircraft arriving on runway 07 can be photographed from here, as well as traffic from runway 25 which are going to Fokker. This place is especially good when it’s cloudy.|
|TIME||All day when it’s cloudy. 09:00 till 11:00ish for departing traffic from Fokker via runway 07 (see picture of Air Serbia and Viva Aerobus). 17:00 till sunset for the storage area.|
|MISC.||No facilities at this spot, the nearest one is in Korteven or in Hoogerheide. Ladder is needed.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||C-130: 120mm, Air Serbia A330: 100mm, F70: 170mm, A321: 95mm, Jet Airways A330: 75mm, overview storage area: 75mm (this is just an impression)|
Spot #5 – Forrest – PC-7s taxitrack
|WHERE||Along the fence near the PC-7 apron. Park your car somewhere along the Oude Bergsebaan. Walk towards the gate, and then follow the fence to the right. Follow it until you see an open place next to a (former) aircraft parking. Not very easy to reach by bus as you have to walk more than half an hour.|
|WHAT||When the PC-7s are active and you want to see them up close, this is one of the 2 best spots for them. When runway 07 is in use, you can see them taxi in and out here. When runway 25 is in use, they’ll most likely only taxi in via here. If you want sunny pictures, then the best moment is when they return from their afternoon sortie. When it’s cloudy, you can stand here all day.|
|TIME||All day when it’s cloudy. From 15:00 till sunset.|
|MISC.||No facilities at this spot, the nearest one is the cafe along the Weg naar Wouw. Ladder is needed.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||L-11: 205mm, L-10: 135mm|
|Spot #6 – Forrest – 25 Arrivals + Departures and compass swing|
|WHERE||Along the fence next to one of the taxiways. Park your car at the end of the Wouwbaan, which is a small path towards a dog training club. From there, follow the fence to the left. It’s on the corner. When taking the bus, get off at bus stop Moerkantsebaan and follow the Weg naar Wouw / Moerkantsebaan until you see a path that leads you towards the fence.|
|WHAT||When the PC-7s are active and you want to see them up close, this is one of the 2 best spots for them. When runway 25 is in use, they only taxi out via the taxiway in front of you. If you want sunny pictures, then the best moment is when they depart for their morning sortie during late winter / spring / summer / early autumn. When it’s cloudy, you can stand here all day and you’re also able to photograph departing traffic from the southern taxitrack and arriving traffic for runway 25 (although spot 7 is better for that). If you’re lucky enough, you might see a helicopter or a fighter of the RNLAF or a civil aircraft from Fokker Technoligies doing a so-called ‘compass swing’ here in front of this spot.|
|TIME||All day when it’s cloudy. From sunrise till 11:00 for departing PC-7s.|
|MISC.||No facilities at this spot, the nearest one is the cafe along the Weg naar Wouw. Ladder is needed.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Double PC-7: 190mm, single one: 250mm. A320: 130mm|
|Spot #7 – Hill – 25 Arrivals + Departures|
|WHERE||On a small hill near the fence. Park your car on the southside of the Moerkantsebaan (see the map) or at the end of the Wouwsebaan just like spot 6. Now you have to walk some hundred meters to the spot: from spot 6, just follow the fence. From the parking spot along the Moerkantsebaan: follow the footpath towards the fence and follow it to the left. When taking the bus, follow the same instructions given for spot 6.|
|WHAT||On this small hill, you have a good overview of the runway. When runway 25 is in use, this is the best place to photograph arriving traffic during the whole day when the airbase is open and departing traffic in the morning.|
|TIME||09:00 till 16:00 for arrivals, sunrise till 11:30 for departures.|
|MISC.||No facilities at this spot, the nearest one is the cafe along the Weg naar Wouw. Ladder is not needed.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||F-16: 200mm, B738: 250mm, E-3A: 75mm, PC-7: 250mm; AS532: 200mm, B738BBJ2: 85mm|
Spot 8 is no longer a good spot to view the storage area, as they are building a big hangar for wide-body aircraft. Only rwy25 departures can be photographed here from now on.
I removed that particular info. Thanks for the Update Werner!