US chopper flights whip Bavarians into fury – The Local

I used to live not too far from Katterbach (at another helicopter base, in fact). Ansbach/Katterbach is a lovely place, and for the most part, the residents were nice people, and it was a good area to visit, or live in.

More than 500 complaints have been received by the city of Ansbach in Middle Franconia already this year – more than ever before – about the helicopter noise, which routinely goes until midnight, daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

Katterbach houses the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, which consists of 3,100 military personnel and more than 100 Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters.

When the Katterbach base was established in the 1970s, the commander supposedly made a “gentleman’s agreement” with the then mayor of Ansbach: the helicopters would fly as little as possible over populated areas and never at night.

But after a while, the Americans began to ignore the agreement, residents told Süddeutsche Zeitung. The city has pleaded with the Americans.

“And absolutely nothing has happened,” Mayor Carda Seidel told the paper.

via US chopper flights whip Bavarians into fury – The Local.

A couple of thoughts…

As far as a “gentlemen’s agreement”- no way. The US forces stationed in Germany are under a Satus of Forces Agreement, or SOFA, that details the terms of the stationing of US troops in infinite detail. As for the operational side if flying helicopters, the German airspace is some of the most highly regulated in the world. Maybe Outlaw13 can swing by and give us a primer.

4 thoughts on “US chopper flights whip Bavarians into fury – The Local”

  1. I was stationed at Katterbach from 1980-1984. On one side of the airfield was the quarters that I lived in. On the other side was my unit’s motorpool, so I could not escape the sound of freedom, aka helicopter noise.

    They seldom flew at night. When they did fly at night it was usually for some exercise. Of course, things can change in 27 years.

  2. The crews have to fly at night to stay proficient in the use of NVGs. There are regulations in place that all parties involved (German government, US Army) have agreed to in regards to times of day one may and the altitude you can fly. If someone violates those regulations you can get into serious trouble. The worst violations can cost you your wings…so if Fritz has issues with the noise he needs to take it up with his government.

    I’m glad the one gentleman quoted in the article can remember what was agreed to 25 yrs ago…if it wasn’t on paper it doesn’t matter and the nature of the way we fly and train to fight has changed in the last 25 years as well.

    Maybe we should leave. I hear Poland wants some American greenbacks…or just bring them home. I’m fine with that too.

  3. I liked Germany when we were there in ’66-’69, although there was an increasing anti-Americanism around Stuttgart at the time. Not big, but it was getting more frequent towards the last. I heard it got worse in the 70s, but tapered of in the early 80s somewhat.

    The SOFA dictated almost everything when it came to the relations with the Germans. For example, we had to live “on the economy” the first year we were there. Only after that could you move into military housing (this applied to accompanied tours only).

    A friend at church, a retired Warrant Officer Pilot, flew Mojaves in Germany during a year long lay off from Vietnam in the late 60s. There were some strange things they had to do during operational flying. Those old Recips with big Wright radials were noisy boogers. Make a Huey seem quiet by comparison. A CH-47, however, is a noisy booger too. If they are being flown over a town at night, I can understand why they are upset, but, as Outlaw points out, they have to maintain proficiency and there ain’t no way to do it other than to do it.

    The Euros are touchy about AC noise. A number of airline type AC have been taken out of service because they can’t be quieted enough to operate in Europe without re-engining.

    In Italy, there were some weird things in the SOFA about retirees. For example, a retiree could not buy sanitary napkins for his wife in the PX or Commissary.

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