2017 Event Review

SAR Meet 2017 – May 18-22, 2017

Location: L: Naval Air Wing 5, Nordholz, "Wurster" North Sea Cost, Germany
Admission: Not open to the public, press accreditation necessary, limited spotter package for one day for 25 €
Parking: N/A
Value: Good
Rating out of 10: Not an air show
United States Army Special Forces Black Daggers Parachute Team

SAR 2017 patch/emblem

The German Navy, Naval Air Wing 5, based at Nordholz, was the host of the 9th SAR-Meet since its foundation in 1996. The MFG-5 (Marinefliegergeschwader) had invited for another network meeting for European rescue crews. Teams from five partner nations followed the invitation to measure their flying abilities and to exchange their experiences - "Best Practice Sharing"! Denmark and Portugal sent delegations without helicopter.

For the MFG-5 it was very important to offer both a press and a spotter day. A family day was also organized on Saturday afternoon, so that the relatives could take pictures from their family members at work. In lack of time and few resources not an easy job. Lieutenant Susanne Tewes and her team managed this big challenge brilliantly, so that all events around the SAR-Meet became a great success. A big compliment to this team also because the main job of organizing the event had been done outside the regular working hours!

The event is held biennially and it was the second time the Naval Air Base Nordholz was chosen as a venue. The SAR-meet failed once in 2012 during the closing of Naval Air Base Kiel-Holtenau, the former home base from MFG- 5.The inventory of the MFG-5 includes 22 Westland Sea Lynx Mk. 88 A and 21 Westland Sea King Mk. 41. The Sea Lynx are based on frigates. They support the Navy in their anti submarine role, transport troops and are used for SAR tasks between the ship convoys. The Sea King joined the German Navy in 1972 and is still in service, but a replacement is on the way, the NHI NH-90 "Sea Lyon". This was the reason why the host invited to the first ever held "NH-90 Meet". A good idea from the host, but the meeting fell through (fell into the sea). Because of unknown reasons, the French and Italian Navy cancelled their participation. The German Air Force brought one NH-90TTH from Bückeburg to Nordholz, which didn't take part in the flying challenge. The Belgian Navy from 40 Sqn. brought one NH-90 "Caiman" to Nordholz; due to technical problems the Caiman remained grounded. This was that meeting that never was.

Nordholz is also the home base from Naval Air Wing 3 "Graf Zeppelin". The inventory includes 2 Dornier Do-228 LM and 8 x P-3C Orion, which are now taking part in an upgrade program that includes installation and check out of the MLU-K15 kits and also a re-winging. The program is set for 8 years and should extend the lifetime for the P-3C up to 15 000 hours per aircraft. The Do-228 LM has taken over the monitoring of environmental pollution in the German coastal area.

On May, 19th a press conference was held in the morning. At the beginning Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander Captain Broder Nielsen honored Commander Mark Jörg Matthee, Commodore from the MFG-3 and Commander Mark Wiegand, Commodore from the MFG-5, for 10 years accident-free flying, or rather no notifiable accidents. Captain Broder Nielsen explained about the future and the programs of the German Navy Aviation before both Commanders gave insight views of both Naval Wings.

After the press conference the press people got permission to watch the flying challenge on the base. The flying challenge included orientation flights and a skills and obstacle course. During the orientation flights, the crews had to fulfill special tasks like to "fly to a dike and count the sheep". The next surprise for the crews was waiting on the approach to the base: they had to sing a song. The live act was transmitted over radio to the crews on the ground, who had to make an assessment. After the assessment the crews flew to the west side, where they had to take a weight of 5 kg and flew at a defined height through an obstacle course. This was a real challenge, because the downwash of the helicopter does not make it easy. At the end of the course, the weight had to be placed on the roof of a very small building, which looked like a hospital. After the weight had been placed on the building, a flashing light was activated. A challenge which included fun and skills.
has to say thank you to Captain Broder Nielsen, Commander Mark Jörg Matthee, Commander Mark Wiegand and a special thank you to Lieutenant Susanne Tewes and her crew for the organization of the events around the SAR-Meet.


AUSTRIA  Österreichisches Bundesherr Alouette III
BELGIUM 40 SQN NH-90 Caiman
LITHUANIA Lithuanian Air Force Eurocopter AS365 - Dauphin
POLAND 43rd Naval Air Base W-3RM Anaconda
USA 3-10 GSAB US Army HH-60M Blackhawk
GERMANY TrspHubschrRgt 30 Bell UH1D
GERMANY IntHubschrAusbZ Bückeburg EC135
GERMANY IntHubschrAusbZ Bückeburg NH-90 TTH
GERMANY RK Flugdienst / Appen DO-28
GERMANY MFG 5 Sea Lynx Mk88A
GERMANY MFG 5 Sea King Mk41
GERMANY Heli Service International GmbH AW139
Report and photography by Wolfgang Jarisch for with additonal images by István Kelecsényi

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