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After an original idea by Paul Freeman.
First published 7 Nov 2010. This collection of airfields is © 2010 - 2018 RonaldV

Haapsalu (CLOSED)




58°54'42"N 023°29'18"E

runway: 09/27 - 2500x40meters/8202x120feet - concrete

Haapsalu Airfield (Estonian: Haapsalu lennuväli, also known as Kiltsi Air Base, Russian: Хаапсалу, ICAO: EEHU) is a disused former Soviet airfield 4 km southwest of Haapsalu, Estonia.
The airfield was built by the Soviet military in 1939 as a "Mutual Defense" airfield in Estonia. The Soviets annexed Estonia in August 1940. Estonia was (like the USSR) invaded by the German Wehrmacht in June 1941, who used the airfield designated as Fliegerhorst Kommandantur-E (V) 208/I. In the fall of 1944 Estonia was reconquered by the Soviets.

During the Soviet era it was an interceptor aircraft base. The airfield saw an extensive rebuild between 1967 and 1969. The concrete runway was built, along with 28 concrete hangars. The rebuild meant the airfield became one of the most modern in the Baltic area, ranking 4th in capacity. The airfield was home to the Soviet 425 IAP (425th Interceptor Aviation Regiment) flying up to 38 MiG-23 jets in 1991. In a mail to me a resident recalled: "(a) cool thing I remember (..) about the Kiltsi military base. It was right next to the road leading to a ferry to Hiiumaa (a small island in western Estonia). You could see jets taking off if you were lucky. It looked like they were shot straight from underground at a 45-degree angle or so. Looked like there were no restrictions of supersonic travel over mainland that time. I have no idea what aircraft it was and whether they actually were shot with some launch mechanism or not."
Although formally owned by the paramilitary Estonian Defence League, the airfield has been abandoned since the Soviet army left it in early 1990s. It is not maintained by anyone and is occasionally used for a wide range of automotive events, including drag races.

Haapsalu control tower (Carl Björklund)

A video shot at the abandoned air base giving a good impression of the facility. You may want to turn your speakers off.

An example of Soviet socialist disregard for Estonian culture: this chateau at the air base was reduced to ruins between 1940 and 1990 (Panoramio).

Haapsalu air field in February 2008  (Google Earth)

Magnus Emanuelsson emailed me this photo of Haapsalu, which he had taken on 29 October 2015. Photographed from the northwest, it shows little has changed at the still abandoned airfield.

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