Pictures : Serge Van Heertum (S.B.A.P.), and SBAP archives (others as mentionned)

 

Why the Delta Blue ?

 

February 16th, 1968 the Belgian governement has signed a contract with the French Dassault company for the delivery of 106 Mirage V. This order includes 3 versions of the plane : 63 “A” version for attack, 16”B” version for the operational conversion and 27 “R” version for the RECCE missions. The first Belgian Mirage V performed it's first flight on march 6th, 1970. The acquisition of this new plane was also the rebirth of the 8th squadron “blue cocotte”. The new mission of the squadron was the conversion of the pilots who would fly later in one of the 3 other squadrons equipped with the French delta plane, the 1st squadron, the 2nd squadron or the 42th squadron. In 1990, 20 years later the 8th squadron asked the autorisation to make a special paint to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Mirage in Belgian service and also the 20th year of the 8th squadron. Rapidly some drawings were proposed to the headquarter and finaly the project choosen was the Delta Blue created by Belgian Air Force painters, Johan and Rudy. A plane had to be choosen and it was of course the BA08…

 

The BA08 few days before painting Official postcard of Delta Blue  (Belgian Air Force)

 

The sponsor

 

The major problem was to get the  blue and white paint as well as the other products needed to bring this project alive. Wait a minute…the National Company is blue and white…Some of the pilots of the 8th squadron had friends with SABENA and after a few meetings the sponsor request was launched. The answer of the SABENA authorities was positive and after some administrative formalities, I took  the 250 kilograms of paint and products in my car at SABENA technics, heading towards Bierset Airbase. The Delta Blue project could start. Two weeks were needed to make the full decoration of the plane and finaly on march 15th the bird was ready for his roll out and the first flight in his wonderfull blue and white colors. One of the project managers was  Cpt Jean-Claude “Kéké” Kaisin, so the privilege of the first flight of the Delta Blue was for him…but this flight was also the last one for “Kéké” who was leaving the Air Force a couple of days later.

 

The officicial public presentation of the plane was foreseen at the international airshow held at Bierset on 23th and 24 of june. This day (and also at the official 20th anniversary of the squadron), a special show was held by the BA08 and four other Mirage V showed the majesty of this delta plane. The BA08 was also seen at Florennes open door the same season equipped with external fuel tanks. Some flight hours later the plane was back in for inspection and lost his gloss blue and white colors…

 

Enjoy the Delta Blue pictures as much as I  enjoyed my participation into this project…

 

The paint work is started
   
Johan and Rudy fully busy The project is still ongoing
   
On jacks, easyer for the underside painting Fully ready
   
Awayting in the schelter for the roll out On taxi for the first flight march 15th, 1990
   
First flight picture taken by a recce bird of the 42th Squadron  (42 Sqn)
   
"A pilot dream".  "Keke" as first Delta Blue driver The 8th Squadron members after the flight
   
Ready for display at Bierset airshow, note the Sabena logo near the exhaust Ulrich "Witte" De Bruyn as BA08 display pilot
   
The 20 years Mirage team Some air to air pictures...
   
...taken from the cargo door of a C-130H  (Belgian Air Force)
   
The underside shows clearly the squadron appartenance High altitude turn  (Belgian Air Force)
   
At landing with the white and blue drag chute  (Belgian Air Force) Signed by the artists
   
Presented at Florennes with the external tanks A last one with his brother of arm, the BR15  (Belgian Air Force)
   
The commemorative plate signed by the 8th Squadron pilots

 

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