Gilze-Rijen Airbase on LiveATC

Over the last year LiveATC.net has been provided with several live audio feeds that can be streamed here.

There are now several feeds on LiveATC.net covering the military base Gilze-Rijen and the Gilze-Rijen CTR. The airbase is approximately 2km from my location and more of less in the approach one of the runways.

The airbase is home to a fleet of Apache, Chinook and Cougar helicopters and home to a museum of World War 2 aircraft such as the Mitchel B25 and Spitfire. There are also a number of light aircraft and gliders that use the runway from a clubhouse located nearby and civilian aircraft entering the CTR are required to contact the tower during operational hours, so it can get quite active at times.

The language spoken on frequency is usually English, with the exception of some civilian CTR interlopers. The military aircraft frequently practice manoeuvres in coordination with NATO.

Up until recently every 4 years the airbase would host an international air show often attracting in excess of 250,000 visitors per day. Unfortunately due to the pandemic this has been cancelled for obvious reasons.

Hardware & Software

The setup consists of two RTL-SDR dongles redundantly chained together to a single vertical antenna, each dongle working independently on two different Raspberry Pi systems. This gives continuous operation if one of the SDRs locks up.

rtl_airband is used to manage, tune the SDRs, mix (if needed) and encode the streams. rtl_airband makes use of the Raspberry Pi’s GPU to offload some of the processing form the CPU, which is quite neat.

The rtl_airband encoders connect directly to a local icecast server. LiveATC then pulls the streams from the icecast server at roughly 8kb/s per mono feed.

My setup has an additional feed- a mix of the Ground and Tower frequencies, each separated into either the Left or Right stereo channel.

rtl_airband configuration

devices:
({
# mode = "scan";
type = "rtlsdr";
serial = "ehgr_71ppm";
gain = 35;
centerfreq = 125.500;
correction = 71;
mode = "multichannel";
sample_rate = 0.96;
channels:
(
{
freq = 125.330;
squelch = 24;
outputs: (
{
type = "icecast";
server = "192.168.1.xx";
port = 9000;
mountpoint = "ehgr-fallback";
name = "EHGR Tower Backup (rtl_airband, UHF)";
genre = "ATC";
username = "source";
password = "password";
},
{
disable = true;
type = "mixer";
name = "mixer1";
balance = -0.75;
ampfactor = 1.0;
}
);
},
{
freq = 278.125;
disable = true;
squelch = 24;
outputs: (
{
type = "icecast";
server = "192.168.1.xx";
port = 9000;
mountpoint = "ehgr-ground";
name = "EHGR Ground UHF";
genre = "ATC";
username = "source";
password = "password";
},
{
type = "mixer";
name = "mixer1";
balance = 0.75;
ampfactor = 1.0;
}
);
}
);
}
);

mixers: {
mixer1: {
outputs: (
{
type = "icecast";
server = "192.168.1.xx";
port = 9090;
mountpoint = "ehgr-twrgnd";
name = "EHGR Tower & Ground Mix"
genre = "ATC";
username = "source";
password = "password";
}
);
},
mixer2: {
outputs: (
{
type = "icecast";
server = "icecast.server.example.org";
port = 8080;
mountpoint = "mixer2.mp3";
name = "Ground + Delivery (not used just an example)"
genre = "ATC";
username = "source";
password = "mypassword";
}
);
}
};

Redundancy

The above setup is duplicated on another Raspberry Pi that feeds into a different icecast mount point.

If icecast loses the feed from the SDR illustrated above, it will automatically drop the fallback feed. In the unlikely event of both feeds going down, then the icecast server selects the fallback’s fallback.

This consists of a looped MP3 fed by a continuously running instance of ezstream with a nice digitally synthesised voice apologising for the inconvenience! Beep beep beep…

When the feeds recover, icecast automatically reconnects the listeners (LiveATC) back to the main feeds.

Travelling Light

In the year of 2016, a change of pace and creative direction- photographic artwork inspired by light, jet turbines and the smell of kerosine in the dark at the local airport during a stint of experimentation with night capture software and processing, basically just to see what I could do within the limitations of the then-current iPhone hardware.

All pictures were taken with iPhone 4 & 5, limiting the quality and resolution somewhat, but the results are pleasing.

Each capture takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour to make, then composition of the exposures done (also on the iPhone). Ilona-Ruby and myself were at the airport on such a regular basis we became quite familiar with the awesome staff and employees at the various establishments within the terminal 🙂

The view is astonishingly beautiful especially at sunset as the terminal has been deliberately built to take the positioning of the sunlight to make maximum use of it within the building itself as well as a pleasant place to sit on the panorama terrace, upstairs and outside with a full unobstructed view of the entire airfield and a head-on view of nearly all of the gates with S2 being directly in front and center.

The New Building Collapsed

During the time we spent at the airport there had also been the construction of a new multipurpose building that included several stories of car parking, and it was almost complete and ready to open when a large portion of it suddenly collapsed. This was a building meant to have people in it!

The collapse happened on the one day we weren’t there. Typical! We had been at the airport every day but one that week. Luckily, nobody was injured. 👀 ✈️

Meanwhile, at arrivals…

Update 2018

The collapsed building has been completely torn down and another, bigger building exactly the same building but without the epic construction faults and failures has being constructed in its place.

Estimated completion date for the new building is October 2019. The damage to the collapsed building came to about €22,000,000 (About $25 million US dollars). I am glad it is all sorted out now and look forward to seeing what the airport looks like later in 2019.

The investigation into the cause of the collapse did not find anything odd, the most probable cause was materials failure as it dried in the unusually hot heatwave that struck the Netherlands that week.

Update 2020: The speculation on the probable cause was wrong, the fault lay completely with the construction company.

The Dutch Safety Board investigation found the load bearing floor panels had been installed incorrectly, leading to catastrophic structural integrity failure.

Eindhoven Airport and BAM reach agreement on financial settlement parking garage

Eindhoven Airport and construction company BAM reached an agreement on the financial settlement of the incident of 27 May 2017, in which the parking garage at Eindhoven Airport partially collapsed. Fortunately no casualties occurred during the incident.


At the beginning of April 2018 BAM started with the rebuilding of the parking garage. Completion is planned for October 2019. The parties do not make any further announcements regarding the content of the agreement reached.


“We are pleased that with this agreement we can put a stop to financial settlement and we can focus on the future”, says Joost Meijs, general manager of Eindhoven Airport.


“The settlement fits within the provision made by BAM in the fourth quarter of 2017,” says Jaap Hazeleger, director BAM Bouw en Techniek bv. “The rebuilding is progressing well.”


Eindhoven / Bunnik, 2 January 2019
Source

But wait, there’s more…

Update 2020

The Dutch Safety Board did an interesting video (in English) about this entire story. Check it out!

Wormhole Generation

A bit of an experiment with sound generation, originally the sound input to this was from an FM radio scanner, many of the signals in this are sources such as trucked radio systems, interference and other oddities found in the VHF spectrum.

The sound was then processed via Paulstretch, an extreme reverberation and time-stretching tool, with additional harmonics added as well as some filtering. This is the end result. Enjoy!

Download the full audio soundscape for free here 🙂

Probably A Tree

If you’re new to the crew, I say HELLoOO to youuu. A unique collaboration between the players of online game GTA-Online, getting hundreds of the Reddit crew players to deliberately crash airplanes for the sake of a possible video coming out was a hard sell, almost.

Gift of the gab sold them hook line an sinker to bring about a classic shanty plane crashing stinker.

Please enjoy my song dedicated to invisible and unforgiving trees vs planes, cars and automobiles.

Filmed on location in Los Santos. Vinewood. This is from the early days of GTA Online, so its first gen graphics 🙂