Text: Source Belga & Pictures: Serge Van Heertum & others as mentionned - Translation: Marc Arys © sbap 2015

On Monday December 29th, 2014 military sources gave away that for economic reasons the Belgian army is about to retire one of its transport airplanes from active service, a Falcon 20 - 41 years of age, at the end of its flying potential. This aircraft in active service with the 15 Transport Wing of the Air Component returned to Belgium on Sunday after a two days mission in Jordania.
"It was the last time the aircraft did a night stop-over abroad" a crew member told the Belga-agency, although the faith of the aircraft is still uncertain.
This Falcon 20E from the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault, has to undergo D(epot)-level maintenance works but these could turn out to be too expensive seen the age of the airplane which entered service on March 26, 1973, a little over 41 years ago.
Although the aircraft was upgraded in 2004, as was the second plane of this type (CM-02), receiving modernized avionics and more powerful engines with reduced fuel consumption, the age of retirement has come.
Awaiting a decision on its faith, the Falcon 20 will be stored in a hangar at the military airport at Melsbroek. Difficultly saleable due to its age, it could be used, on good authority, for spare parts for its twin which is due to come back from Basel (Switzerland) after a D-level maintenance check.
The Defence department, as other federal departments, is ruled by the economic budget cuts decided by the Michel 1st government. Last month the announcement was made that the “white bodies” (used for passenger transport) - an Airbus A321, two Embraer ERJ-135, two Embraer ERJ-145, two Dassault Falcon 20 and one Dassault Falcon 900 - will see their flight planning reduced by 40% in 2015. (Belga-sources)
In a future report we will take you to the boundaries of flight with the Fa20. During their active service years the Fa20 were also flown over the Atlantic to Goose Bay in the Labrador region of Canada. Stay tuned!
Teaser: "One that I remember very well is a crew qualification flight across the Atlantic. We flew to Goose Bay (Labrador region of Canada) via Keflavik (Iceland) and we returned to Brussels in a single leg, all in just 5 hours and 30 minutes. We landed in Brussels with more than the regulatory reserve remaining in the fuel tanks..."

The first official picture of the Falcon CM-01 (Coll Serge Van Heertum / SBAP)
Melsbroek open door 1976 Family day in the early 1980
New paint: fine light blue sheet line, little national flag and the Royal House logo
Belly landing at Gosselies in early 1996 (Coll Serge Van Heertum / SBAP) Loaded on a truck to get back home base (Coll Serge Van Heertum / SBAP)
Landing after national day fly pass in july 1997,
note the BAF 50 anniversary logo under the 21 Squadron insigna
In the maintenance hangar with the brother of arm in 1997
Ready for flight on July 21st, 1998 The crew of the day "Eric" and "Def", it was a nice flight guy's
Landing at Koksijde for the summer show in 2005 Few seconds before landing, note the addition of Belgian Air Force logo
on the engine cover
Take off from runway 25R in 2006
Fly pass over Beauvechain air base on July 19th, 2008 Second day rearsal on July 20th, 2008
Anniversary logo for the Melsbroek open door of september 2008
60 years 15th Wing
Pausing with the other "Withe Bodies"
In the hangar in 2010 Landing 25R
Became a blue tail like the other Embraer and Falcon 900 in 2013
With the logo of Belgian Defence Melsbroek open door 2013
The special logo for the 40 year of service
2014, the First World War logo is added A small one under the cockpit
First badge, but was only on decal sheet The new badge after the 2004 retrofit The special one created for the 40 anniversary
After more than 40 years, this remain an elegant aircraft (© Dries Embrechts)

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