Abandoned Kalocsa Airfield: From Anti-Aircraft Defense to Parachute Paradise

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Kalocsa Airfield

Kalocsa Airfield is located in the Hungarian countryside, 100 kilometers south of Budapest. It was once a hub for the Hungarian Air Force before being taken over by Soviet forces during the Cold War. After the fall of the Soviet Union, it was returned to Hungary and has since served as a unique gathering place for parachutists and hang-gliders.

Kalocsa Airfield Construction

According to reports, the Hungarian military built Kalocsa Airfield and its anti-aircraft defenses around 1950. It served as an airport for the Hungarian Air Force between 1951 and 1956. As a result, only military planes and aircraft were permitted to use it and its airspace.

Photo Credit: SightRaider
Anti-Aircraft Defense to Parachute Paradise
Photo Credit: SightRaider

Construction was similar to that of other military airfields at the time. A former SAM base was built in the northwest corner to protect the airfield from air raids. It was made up of small, circular embankments with a concrete platform in the center where missiles were stationed. Concrete ducts with cables and pipes connected each missile to a nearby control trailer.

Anti-Aircraft Defense to Parachute Paradise
Photo Credit: SightRaider

A narrow paved road connected the embankments to a command building. A monument stood on the building’s western side, and traces of it can still be found today.

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Takeover by the Soviets

After Hungary attempted to flee communism in 1956, the USSR took over Kalocsa Airfield. Until 1960, Soviet forces used it as a helicopter base and stored MiG-17 fighter-bombers there. To ensure that the airfield met the needs of its new owners, barracks, a hangar, and flats were built, as well as over 60 helicopter pads.

Kalocsa Airfield

Photo Credit: SightRaider

Kalocsa’s airspace was restricted while it was under Soviet control. Parachutist and pilot training, however, were provided to members of the Hungarian Army under the supervision of the Hungarian National Defence Association (MHSZ). This was discontinued in 1971.

Kalocsa Airfield
Photo Credit: SightRaider

When the Soviet Union fell apart in 1990, troops were forced to leave the airfield. When Hungarian forces retook control, they discovered that the Soviets had wreaked havoc on the environment. While efforts were made to prevent the spread of soil pollution, they were halted due to financial constraints.

A parachutist’s haven

After regaining control of the Kolacsa Airfield, plans were made to convert it to civilian use. It was initially difficult because it was closed and guarded by armed security personnel. Hang-gliders, on the other hand, were soon able to rent out hangars for private use, and parachutists were later allowed to use the airfield.

Kalocsa Airfield
Photo Credit: SightRaider
Kalocsa Airfield
Photo Credit: SightRaider

Concerns were raised in May 1995 when it was revealed that Kolacsa would be converted into a surface oil storage site. This would endanger not only nearby residents, but also local tourism and the economy. This plan was later abandoned after it was discovered that parachuting activities at the airfield had grown in popularity.

Kalocsa Airfield
Photo Credit: SightRaider

The secretary-general of the MHSZ visited the airfield in October 1995 to outline a plan in which the National Flyers Fund, a private conservation group, would run Kolacsa. They eventually persuaded the government, along with other organizations, to grant them a temporary permit to operate the airport for smaller aircraft.

There is a lot going on.

Kalocsa Airfield is still a popular destination for parachutists and hang gliders today. It also serves as a base for smaller aviation flights and hosts events related to its on-site flight school on a regular basis. As a result, many of its structures are still in use, while others have been repurposed.

Kalocsa Airfield
Photo Credit: SightRaider
Kalocsa Airfield
Photo Credit: SightRaider

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