Belgium's National Day   
July 21, 2007

Text & Photos : Marc Arys and Serge Van Heertum - S.B.A.P.©

 

PHOTOPAGE

 

 

July 21, day of merriment and popular fervour. It is the Belgian National Feastday.

 

Besides ludic activities and other amusements, it is also the day of the military march- and of course fly-past. This year, the S.B.A.P. team was invited to fly with the Agusta A109 of the Wing Heli at Bierset airbase.

 

Rendez-vous at 13.30'hrs for the briefing. Meteorological conditions, ATC (Air Traffic Control) instructions, as well as particularities of this flight are communicated to the crews.

 

Our helicopter is the H30, callsign Griffon 24, with an ideal position in the flight formation... indeed, we are leader of the second VIC-formation. A beautiful spectacle in prospect !

 

The flight lasted about 02 hours...

 

15.04'hrs, in the aircraft and start-up. After the usual checks, taxi to the runway for take-off. Everybody in position... And in the air at 15.14'hrs...

 

We are leaving the Liège-Bierset zone, first navigating towards Enghien and then to Ninove. Ninove is also the rendez-vous point with the Seaking and the Alouettes III . The three aircraft coming in from the coast are in sight, slightly late, so our formations had to slow down a bit as to take our positions behind them.

Then to Aalst, strategic way point to align correctly for a perfect fly-past. It is in fact the 'run in' way point to Brussels for all participating aircraft (see our report on the fly-past of July 21, 2006 - www.sbap.be/events/21jul06/photmar1.htm).

 

Once at Aalst, last checks and on the flight axis for Brussels. Perfect formation, landing lights ON and right on time (16.16'hrs) overhead the Royal Palace.

After this brief passage, the formation heads towards the Florennes airbase for a second fly-past. As Florennes airbase, celebrated it's 60th anniversary, an open-door was held with, top of the bill, a fly-past of most of the aircraft having flown over Brussels.

 

After this second fly-past, the Agusta headed home to Bierset.

 

Superb flight which enabled us to bring back some beautiful photographs of this event. As for each return to the squadron worthy of it's name, the flight was revived around a good and refreshing drink.

 

 

The 2007' flypast consisted of :

 

        - 6 Alpha Jets 'smoking' the Belgian National Colours from the 11 Squadron based at Cazaux airbase in France.

        - 1 Sea King Mk 48 helicopter from the 40 Sqn at Koksijde

        - 2 Alouette III helicopters from the Marine Component based at Koksijde

        - 6 Agusta A-109 helicopters from the Wing Heli at Bierset

        - 3 Alouette II helicopters from the Wing Heli at Bierset

        - 6 Siai SF260D Marchetti from the 1 Wing at Beauvechain

        - 3 Embraer Xingu from the Armée de l'Air Française based at Avord

        - 3 Alpha Jets from the Armée de l'Air Française based at Tours

        - 6 F-16 from the 2 Tactical Wing at Florennes

        - 6 F-16 from the 10 Tactical Wing at Kleine-Brogel

        - 5 F-16 from the European Air Forces Expeditionary Air Wing

        - 1 Mc Donnell Douglas KDC-10 from the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (Dutch Air Force) with 3 F-16 from the Belgian Air Component

        - 1 E3A Awacs from the NATO based at Geilenkirchen

        - 2 C-130 Hercules from the 15 Transport Wing at Melsbroek

        - 2 Embraer ERJ135 from the 15 Transport Wing at Melsbroek

        - 1 Dassault DA900 from the 15 Transport Wing at Melsbroek

        - 1 Dassault DA20 from the 15 Transport Wing at Melsbroek

        - 1 Airbus A-310 from the 15 Transport Wing at Melsbroek

 

But again, more than words, pictures say it all.... so do have a look at our photopage !

 

We would like to express our thanks to the Minister of Defence André FLAHAUT for granting us these flights and to the General Staff and Public Relation Service of the Belgian Air Component and as such Adj C. Peter Dewael for his obligingness.

We also like to thank the commander of the Bierset airbase, Lt. Col. Avi. Olivier COLMANT and the members of his staff and crews for having us amongst them and especially our 'drivers' DMY and SAR for taking care of us before, during and after our flight.

 

 

PHOTOPAGE

 

Text & Photos : Marc Arys and Serge Van Heertum - S.B.A.P.©

 

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