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Farewell Royal Netherlands Air Force Alouette III
 
Published: December 2015
 
51 years after the first of 77 Alouette III helicopters for the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) was delivered a farewell ceremony was held at Gilze-Rijen Air Base. The last years of its long career the remaining four Alouettes were assigned to the Alouette flight with 300 squadron (AS532 Cougar). In 2014 the RNLAF decided to withdraw the helicopters from service from January 1, 2016.

On Tuesday December 15 the official farewell ceremony took place. Divided in a morning and after noon event. In the morning all four Alouette IIIs were parked on the apron of 300 squadron. Two of them took to the air around 10.50 for several fly-past over Gilze-Rijen Air Base with the other two kept on the ground as static display. During one of the 20 minutes the fly-by took place the two airborne helicopters hovered behind their static colleagues enabling the present visitors consisting of squadron member and aviation enthusiast / media to take the final photo's of all four Alouettes together. Upon there return to the apron they were awaited by two E-One crashtenders providing the traditional shower for aircraft (to be) withdrawn from use. After shut down of the engines another photo moment was arranged then all four helicopters were towed into the hangars. During the afternoon the command over the helicopters was officially transferred from the Defence Helikopter Commando (Defence Helicopter Command) to Command Luchtstrijdkrachten (CLSK - Air Force Command). Another transfer of command will take place on January 1, 2016 when CLSK will hand over the helicopters to the Defence Material Organization (DMO). In the period from December 15 - 31 it was possible that an Alouette III was tasked with a mission by CLSK. The future of the Alouette III will be decided by DMO. The helicopters can be scrapped, sold to a potential customer or preserved (museum or gate guard).

The author would like to thank: The author would like to thank the Alouette III flight, 300 squadron and 1st Lt. Dick and colleagues of the DHC media department for their support at the Alouette farewell.

Editors note: On December 24 an Alouette III was tasked with a flight routing Gilze-Rijen - De Kooy - Schiphol - Gilze-Rijen (via Soesterberg a former home base of the helicopters).
 
Alouette III Farewell photogallery (in sequence)
 
The final four:
A-275, A-247, A-292 and A-301.
Preparing for the farewell flight.
Taxiing-out.
     
 
Hovering over the apron, ready for take-off. On static display.  One of the fly byes. 
     
     
Hovering into position for the -->  Photoshoot moment all four together.  E-One crashtender taking his place. 
     
     
Entering the circuit for final approach.  Start of the shower ceremony. 1st one completed, number 2 taking his turn. 
     
     
2nd Alouette getting his farewell shower.  A-275 remained 'grounded' Alouette III silhouette.
     
     
  Farewell.....   
 
In 2014 the Alouette III celebrated its 50th anniversary in Royal Netherlands Air Force Service. All helicopters received anniversay markings. 
 
 
50th anniversary celebrated in 2014.