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Österreichische Hubschrauber; Tulln-Langenlebarn, July 23, 2010

The Austrian Helicopter Units; Text and Photograph's by Alex van Noye

Due to the Austrian Air Force press days, I was on Friday, July 23, 2010 welcome at the helicopter base in Tulln-Langenlebarn in the northeastern part of Austria. Tulln is the home base of the Austrian S-70 Blackhawk, the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior, the SA316B Allouette III and the PC-6. Tulln is the largest helicopter base in Austria.

Tulln-Langenlebarn which is also known as Fliegerhorst Brumowski is located south of the city Langenlebarn which is located northwest of Vienna. The base was built as a base for the German Luftwaffe during the period 1938-1940. The base was occupied by Soviet troops for a short moment after the war. The air base was under control of the U.S. Air Force when the Soviets had left it. The airbase was called "Air Force Station Tulln - Vienna" by the Americans. The U.S. airline Pan Am began a regular scheduled flight to New York from the field since 1946. The first operational Austrian aircraft at this base after the war were the Yakovlev Yak-11 "Moose" and Yakovlev Yak-18 Max-A. These small training aircraft were given to Austria by the Soviet Union. The Augusta Bell AB-47G2 was added to this fleet at the end of 1955. Tulln received the name of Captain Godwin Brumowski in 1967. Godwin Brumowski (July 26, 1889 - June 3, 1936) was the most successful Ace of the Austrian-Hungarian Air Force during the First World War. He had won a total of 35 air battles; he had to share 12 of his victories with other pilots. Furthermore, he had eight unconfirmed victories on his name because those planes crashed behind Allied lines. Brumowski was eventually in command of all the fighters in his country and he led them during the air combat in Italy at the Isonzo front.

Tulln is the headquarters of the Luftstreitkräfte, but it is also the home base of the "Bundesfachschule für Flugtechnik" (Federal School of Aeronautical Engineering). At Tulln are some units with various types of airplanes and helicopters which are used for a wide range of tasks. The Fliegerabwehrtruppenschule (Pilot Training) is responsible for the training of new Austrian helicopter pilots. The pilot program consists of four stages from phase I to phase IV. The students are assigned to the fighter or helicopter training course during phase II. The students will come to Tulln when they are assigned to the helicopter training school. They learn to fly helicopters

within this unit. The Austrian Air Force is using the Allouette III for the initial helicopter training. The students learn to fly with other types of helicopters during phase IV after initial training with the Allouette during phase II and III. The commando Luftun- terstützung (Air Support Command) is also based at Tulln next to the helicopter flying school. This commando contains three units with different functions. The first unit is the Mittleren Transporthubschrauberstaffel (Medium Heavy Transport Helicopter Squadron) and flies the S-70 Blackhawk medium heavy transport helicopter for the task. The second unit is the Leichte Lufttransport-Staffel (Light Air Transport Squadron). This unit is equipped with the PC-6 which is used for light transport duties. The third and final unit is the Mehrzweckhubschrauberstaffel Tulln (Multipurpose Helicopter Squadron). This unit flies the OH-58 Kiowa and is used for multifunctional purposes. The primary task of the Austrian helicopters is the national task in this mountainous country.

I had to report myself at the main gate of the air base on Friday morning at 8 am. I was the only Dutchman of the group during this visit. It didn’t take long before our guide appeared to pick us up. First we went to the presentation room and a beamer was already prepared for a presentation. We saw two presentations in this room. The first presentation was about the helicopter training school at Tulln. The second presentation had the focus on the operational units at this base. The entire presentation lasted about one and a half hour. The program which we should follow on the flightline looked promising. There was at least one aircraft present at the platform of each type of aircraft when we arrived on this platform. These aircraft were specially prepared for us and we could start the interview with the pilots of these aircraft and helicopters. We started with the Allouette III. This aircraft was in a beautiful position on the platform and it was no problem to shoot some close up shots of the helicopter. There was another Allouette III on the platform fifty meters further. Also for this helicopter it was no problem to make a few photos of it after I had asked this to its pilots. A hangar was opened when I was photographing the second Allouette III. I saw that it was completely full with Kiowa and Allouette III helicopters. I was allowed to make photos of all these machines.

Once outside I joined the group again and we walked to the Kiowa helicopter. I was lucky, because two Kiowa returned to Tulln from an operational mission. One of these two Kiowa’s was a familiar one with the Indian special paint. These helicopters appeared in front of my lens and it was not difficult to take a few nice pictures. We walked to the Blackhawk after the landing of the two Kiowa Worriers. This large helicopter was equipped with external tanks. Finally, we walked to the Pilatus PC-6. This was the only type which would not fly during the demo flights. We walked with our guide to the grass strip between the main runway and the platform after we had seen all the helicopters on the platform. It seemed that all the helicopters would make a demo flight especially for us. The first which took off for a demo flight was the S-70 Blackhawk. I was very happy with this machine, because I came to Tulln for this helicopter. This big helicopter came into a hover in front my lens and the light on this machine was great. Finally I had the opportunity to shoot the Austrian Blackhawk from multiple angles. The Kiowa performed his demo right behind the Blackhawk. Also this helicopter allowed us to shoot it from all angles. Finally the Allouette III appeared for its demo flight. Also the Allouette III came into a hover in front of my lens. The Allouette III made a few spectacular fly-bys after his hovering action. The Allouette III was the last demonstration and the visit at Tulln was therefore over. I saw everything which I wanted to see, and therefore it was a very successful visit to this helicopter base.

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