Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Serge Van Heertum & Laurent Cuvelier © sbap 2014

The BAPA (Belgian Aviation Preservation Association) was created as a non-profit-making organization (asbl) in November 2012. Their goal is the restauration and preservation of aeronautical heritage in general with an attention to Belgian aviation in particular. With about 15 members the organization took its quarters in a large workplace in the industrial zone of Gembloux.

It was here that Yves Duwelz, chairman of the organization, warmly welcomed us into this den of aviation and introduced us to his dynamic team which carries the leitmotif : by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts...

Most of the volunteers of the organization come from the volunteers team of the Brussels Air Museum which throughout the years realized some miracles (see our page http://www.sbap.be/events/2013/054aelrbene2013/054aelrbene2013.htm) but without receiving the proper recognition. They share also a blunt distaste of always having to run into the cumbersome procedures of the administration of the Brussels museum acting, let’s not forget, under the direction of the Ministry of Defence, refusing over and over again to accept the ideas of these enthusiasts, which in the end are grassroots men and without them the actual collections would not even exist.

But let us be positive and focuses on this organization which was officially recognized in October 2013 and let's have a look at their projects and future realizations.

Besides the restauration of bygone airplanes, the team started an archival system for documentation and particularly for technical manuals, which will become one of the biggest libraries of its kind. Regarding the airplanes, they already have about 10 aircraft in their workshop which will be restored for static exhibition or, as the cherry on the cake, restored to flying condition. This fabulous treasure trove is made up of 2 gliders Slingsby (flying girder), 1 glider MU.13, 1 Schempp "Austria", 4 "Pou du Ciel" of different models, 1 Tipsy Junior and their masterpiece a B-25J Mitchell.

(Serge Van Heertum)

This B-25J, starting piece of the organization, was not really involved in the Second World War, but showed itself off in two Hollywood movies, Catch 22 (1970) and Hanover Street (1979). Abandoned afterwards and really mistreated, this aircraft now found its haven in Gembloux and the team is preparing a lifting with the aim of exhibiting this glamorous machine flown into combat during WWII by some Belgian pilots and crews.

To conclude this survey, do know that the organization is seeking other volunteers and enthusiasts to rejoin the ancients of Sonaca, Sabena and other Belgian aeronautical institutions for the restoration part as well as for the administrative part such as a computer designer or filing clerk.

So if you are titillated to help, please do contact Yves Duwelz at yduwelz@gmail.com or through their internet pages by clicking on their logo at the end of this page.
Officially inaugurated on September 01, 2013, let's wish them a good flight with its batch of surprises... wait and see... Good luck guys!

Shooted Lancaster engine found in Gembloux area  (Serge Van Heertum) Walter Engine 120 hp in perfect state (Serge Van Heertum)
Durondeau balloon L-180 OO-BCN, the remain of the P-38J, T-33A FT25 tail  (Serge Van Heertum)
Some flying clothes WWII RAF and USAF (Laurent Cuvelier)
The restoration hall  (Laurent Cuvelier)
Slingsby Grasshopper (Serge Van Heertum) and a second one (Serge Van Heertum)
Schempp "Austria" (Serge Van Heertum)
Akaflieg München Mü 13E OO-ZLM (Serge Van Heertum) The cockpit (Laurent Cuvelier)
Tipsy Junior from 1947 (Serge Van Heertum) (Laurent Cuvelier)
MH 290A plan (Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) "Pou du Ciel" HM 290A  OO-04 in restauration
(Serge Van Heertum)

(Laurent Cuvelier)

The tail structure (Serge Van Heertum)
HM 160 fuselage (Serge Van Heertum) Henri Mignet "Pou du Ciel" HM14, a conception of 1933  (Serge Van Heertum)
"Pou du Ciel" wing in restoration (Serge Van Heertum)
Slingsby frame restoration (Serge Van Heertum) Nicolas fully concentrated on his work (Laurent Cuvelier)
The main restoration hall with the B-25J "Mitchell"  (Serge Van Heertum)
"Laden Maiden" during "Catch 22" movie in 1970 (Paramount) "Gorgeous George-Ann" in Honover Street movie in 1979 (Columbia)
(Laurent Cuvelier) The front section of the B-25J (Serge Van Heertum)
The front section with the windows frames and inside the cockpit (Laurent Cuvelier)
(Serge Van Heertum) Many cockpit element are missing, but they looking for (Laurent Cuvelier)
The front section of the fuselage with view inside Pics 1 & 2 (Serge Van Heertum)  Pic 3 (Laurent Cuvelier)
(Serge Van Heertum) General view of the rear fuselage section (Laurent Cuvelier)
The rear gunner frames (Laurent Cuvelier) (Serge Van Heertum)
Some view of the rear section Pic 1 (Laurent Cuvelier)   Pics 2 & 3(Serge Van Heertum)
Inside structure frames (Serge Van Heertum) A view from the side gunner position (Serge Van Heertum)
The  tail plane (Serge Van Heertum) The central fuselage section with the engine nacelles (Laurent Cuvelier)

(Serge Van Heertum)

(Serge Van Heertum)
The nose gear, main landing gear and wheel bay (Laurent Cuvelier)
Right vertical fin (Serge Van Heertum) Rear engine fairing (Serge Van Heertum)
One of the main wheel (Serge Van Heertum) Old method sheetmetal works (Serge Van Heertum)
To watch the sanding of the aircraft, click on picture
Some reserve parts...

Engine (Serge Van Heertum)

Cylinder heads (Laurent Cuvelier)

Meteor NF.11 canopy (Serge Van Heertum)

Crashed aircraft gun (Laurent Cuvelier)


Gipsy Major engine nose cowl (Laurent Cuvelier)

Ballooning instruments (Laurent Cuvelier)

Click on the logo to get BAPA web site

No comment...(Laurent Cuvelier)

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