Text : Serge Van Heertum & Pictures : Serge Van Heertum, Coll SBAP, Eddy "Bink" Kellens Comopsair IPR, Coll Jean Dries
Melsbroek November 18th , again a page of the Belgian Military Aviation history has been turned.
Effectively this day was chosen to perform and commemorate the last flight of the Airbus A310 under the Belgian National colors.
The history of the Airbus A310 started 14 years ago when the authorities decided to replace the two Boeing B-727-29QC acquired in 1975 as second hand aircraft from the national company Sabena. At this time Sabena again proposed to offer their two Airbus A310-222 to the Belgian Air Force. After evaluation and negotiation the choice of Belgian authorities however was to buy two Airbus A310 from the Asian company Singapore airlines.
The first aircraft (CA01) was delivered to the Belgian air Force on September 24th 1997 and entered officially into service on September 27th. The second aircraft (CA02) was handed over on May 3rd, 1998.
During their career, the two Airbus have flown all over the world and visited the five continents. Some examples of missions done: transport to Nellis (Red Flag) in the US, material and personal to Afghanistan (ISAF), official visits of King Albert II and the Royal family in different countries and so on. But according to Lt General Michel Singelé the most significant souvenir for him was certainly the humanitarian missions to Haïti after the catastrophic earthquake of January 2010. These missions were long and demanding for the 3 last crew members qualified on A310. But all those missions were done in a good team spirit and finally the greatest satisfaction was the feeling of accomplishment and being able to save some lives. During the 13 past years the A310 fleet accomplished a total of 19.942 flight hours.
One year ago, in November 2009, the Hi Fly (Portugal) leased Airbus A330-300 was officially presented. This was the start of retirement for the A310 fleet and the first aircraft (CA02) did his last flight from Kinshasa to Brussels on August 24th, 2009. the plane was withdrawn on August 29th 2009 and sold to MAD Africa (Belgium based company and also interested in the CA01). Finally the CA01 did his last mission on November 18th. This was a local flight with team members of the 15th Transport Wing. To underline this end of career, a last pass was performed above his homebase in formation with four F-16’s of Kleine Brogel airbase. And as a tradition, after his last landing when back to the parking spot, the plane was hosted by the Brussels Airport fire-brigade shower… the A310 page is now definitely a part of the Belgian Air Force history !
CA01 (c/n 372)
30-04-1985 : Delivered to Singapore Airlines (9V-STN)
00-06-1993 : Leased to Silkair (9V-STN)
22-04-1995 : returned to Singapore Airlines (9V-STN)
24-09-1997 : Belgian Air Force delivery
18-11-2010 : Last Flight in the Belgian Air Component
CA02 (c/n 367)
02-04-1985 : Delivered to Singapore Airlines (9V-STM)
04-12-1993 : Leased to Silkair (9V-STM)
25-05-1995 : returned to Singapore Airlines (9V-STM)
03-05-1998 : Belgian Air Force delivery
29-08-2010 : Withdrawn from Air Component fleet
|The CA01 alias 9V-STN in Silkair colours||CA02 alias 9V-STM in Singapore airlines colours|
with belgian markings and his Singaporian imatriculation 9V-STN
(courtesy O. Lamoral)
the early years at Brussels
|In flight above Belgium|
|CA01 with "little" markings||Both A310 in 2003 with the new Belgian Defence markings|
|CA01 and Florennes QRA||CA02 stored since August 29th, 2009|
|November 18th...The last flight !|
|Push back||Ready for take off...full power|
|Kleine Brogel F-16's as last escort (courtesy Dirk Lamarque)|
|A last fly past above his homebase escorted by four Kleine Brogel F-16's|
|Fly past is over||few seconds before the last touchdown|
|on taxi, back to the parking||Fire brigade waiting for the traditional shower|
|A last marshaling||Traditions|
|The last crew : Cdt Raf Ploem & Lt Gen Michel Singelé||The all crew for a last picture|
|A310 pilots, cabin crew and technicians...well done !|
|Pilots and First Officer||Technician|
Tom De Wulf
Luc Van den Eeckhout
Daniel Vander Meulen
Peter van Hyfte
Hugo de Schrijver
Albert van Weydeveldt
|The name of the 3 last qualified pilots||A special marking on the left side near the main door|
See also the report on friends history site : Belgian Wings & a video from : Fillip Wouters
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