Sola Air Station (Norwegian: Sola flystasjon) in Sola municipality in Norway is operated by the Royal Norwegian Air Force. Air Wing 134 is stationed at Sola along with Squadrons 330 and 334, both helicopter sqadrons.
Also located at Sola is Stavanger Airport, Sola and an aviation museum. Near Sola, at Jåttå in Stavanger is NATOs Joint Warfare Center.
330 Squadron operates Westland Sea King search and rescue helicopters. The 12 helicopters are also dispatched at Rygge Air Station, Ørland Main Air Station, Bodø Main Air Station and Banak Air Station. All five air stations have one helicopter on stand by at any given time.
334 Squadron is currently under deployment as it will be using NH-90 helicopters. They will be delivered between 2005 and 2008. 334 Squadron will only have its command post at Sola, as the helicopters will be stationed on the new Fridtjof Nansen class frigates when they arrive.
Sola Air Station was founded at May 29
by King Haakon VII
, and an air show with 42 planes marked the occasion. In 1939, it was decided to station military aircraft on the airfield (because of the tense situation unfolding in Europe at the time). August 5
, the first Caproni Ca.310
bomber landed here.
On April 9
, in reaction to the German invasion of Norway
, the bomber squadron was ordered to the east, but before they could take off, six German
planes attacked. The bombers were damaged, only a few getting airborne to later be abandoned elsewhere and the airport was seized. Here, the first opposed landing by paratroopers
took place as German fallschirmjägers
from 1st battalion of the 1st Regiment, 7th Flieger Division
were dropped on the airfield. Around sixty fallschirmjägers became casualties as the air station's sole completed machine gun bunker
fired on the attackers until being knocked out by a hand grenade
, seriously wounding the gunner.
Liberation and post-war
The next paratrooper landing at Sola took place May 9
. This time, it was British
troops that recaptured the airfield.
330 Squadron was the first Norwegian squadron to land after the war. The squadron had been founded in Britain during the war and Sola was the first airfield to host Norwegian war planes after the war. Squadron 330 was later disbanded, but the airfield remained as the biggest military airfield in the country up to the 1960s.
In early 1946, 333 Squadron came here, but it was moved to Tromsø during the Korean War. In 1953 it came back, but left for Andøya in 1963. 331 Squadron came in 1952. It was later disbanded and reformed until it moved to Bodø in 1955. 718 Squadron was formed here in 1952 and remained until it was disbanded in 1982.
Sola Air Station has been considered to be closed, but in the later years, the government has decided that it will continue as an airfield for maritime helicopter operations.
The United States Air Force
426th Air Base Squadron provides support to 220 U.S. service members and their families working in support of NATO’s Joint Warfare Center. The squadron also supports “Operating Location-A” in Oslo, Norway, shipping for $50 million war readiness material and $900 million U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy equipment.