SAR Meet Kiel-Holtenau

25 June 2010

Coinciding with the nautical event Kieler Woche, it was propably for the last time that the German Navy base at Kiel-Holtenau opened its doors to the public for its Search and Rescue Meet 2010. Defence cuts and restructuring in Germany mean that the SAR fleet will from 2011 onwards be based at Nordholz, the sole remaining flying station with the Navy. Based unit MFG 5 organised this get together for the seventh time this year. The SAR Meet is not so much a flying competition, but more a series of seminars to exchange ideas and experiences in saving lives by means of helicopters. International participation this year included familiar types like the Dutch AB.412, Polish W.3WARM as well as a pair of foreign Sea Kings and a Danish S.61A. The participation of the Danish helicopter was the more remarkable as the type had officially been retired from service only nine days before on 16 June 2010. U-279 was one of three which remained on the day of retirement and had been given a depiction of  Sleipnir, a mythological eight legged horse from Norse mythology.

Two helicopters not yet seen on a Kiel SAR Meet were the USAF's HH-60G Pave Hawk from RAF Lakenheath's 56th Rescue Squadron as well as a NH.90. The latter came from the Italian Navy and may, with the emphasis on may, be the future of MFG 5 after the Sea Kings retire. However, nothing is certain in today's day and age...

Prior to the actual public Open House on Saturday 26 June, Kiel-Holtenau provided an opportunity for press and enthousiasts to preview the event, a gesture much appreciated!




All pictures (c) Hans Rolink