European Trainer Meet 2005
Text & Photos : Marc Arys and Serge Van Heertum - S.B.A.P.©
Belgian Alpha Jet detachment to Cazaux
2004, the Belgian and French authorities came to a co-operation agreement,
Minister of Defence
André Flahaut and his
Michèle Alliot-Marie signed a mutual declaration of
co-opration regarding the pilot training.
As to bring this project to conclusion, the Belgian Air Component Alpha Jets
left the Brabantine skies for the Landaise countryside of Cazaux airbase,
situated south-west of Bordeaux.
Before this final transfer to southern France, some French student pilots received a training at Beauvechain.
May 26, 2004, saw the first French instructor pilot perform his first solo-flight on a Belgian modernised Alpha Jet. As Capitain Chauvin stated, the Belgian Alpha Jet is rather different from his French counterpart. Capitain Chauvin is responsible too to elaborate a common syllabus for the two nations.
2004, the first aircraft as well as 20 ground-staff
left for Cazaux to start the project. These aircraft, AT13 and AT30 sported special
markings to commemorate this event.
(see 'The Belgian Alpha Jets go French).
The end of the transfer, man and machine, is planned by the end of September 2005.
This first step to an european co-operation can be beneficial to other nations, as the German military authorities seemed also interested in the project.
Despite their new 'home', the Alpha Jets will return on a regular base to Belgium, the maintenance of these aircraft remaining at Beauvechain airbase. Unfortunately the characteristic whistle of the Larzac engine will not be heard as often in the Brabantine skies.
Besides the transfer of the Alpha Jets, the co-operation is not only billeted to Cazaux. Student pilots will also pass through Tours, as well as through Avord for the 'transport'pilots and Dax, for the helicopter candidates.
In brief, our student pilots will receive their basic training at Beauvechain on Siai Marchetti and will then be directed to their future specialty according to their respective choices, qualities or availabilities.
European trainer meet
To emphasize the last days of the Alpha Jet operating from Beauvechain and to permit as much as amateurs as possible to participate to this radical change in the Belgian pilot training, the airbase at Beauvechain hosted a spottersday, gathering 65 aircraft on September 15.
Although some interesting visitors had responded to this call, the aptheosis was, without doubt, the very last formation fly-by of 6 Alpha Jets. At first trailing smoke in Belgian national colours followed by a pass trailing the French national colours.
All this against grey skies.... Grey skies and hoary in the hearts of more than one among us...
We'd like to thank everybody of the Beauvechain airbase and particularly Col. Avi. Thierry De Schrevel for his kindness an the members of the public relations' staff for their care and obligingness.