Text: Serge Van Heertum - Translations: Marc Arys 
Pictures: Serge Van Heertum, Serge van Oosterzee, Bruno Ghils, Philippe Decock & Patrick Brouckaert
 
© sbap 2015
Kolonel P. Lepez, ATCC baseco
(Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum)
As the Air Force did not plan any airshow in 2015, falling into line with the Netherlands for a bi-annual event, the Air Traffic Control Center (ATCC) at Semmerzake (East Flanders province) held an impressive Open Door on June 26, 2015.

ATCC

The Air Traffic Control Center manages the aerial traffic and coordinates the flight paths between military and civil aviation. This became a major task some 45 years ago. In those days the airspace above 7.000 meters was reserved to military aircraft, but the development of commercial jets, flying at these altitudes, impounded some necessary changes. In parallel to this major task of coordinating aerial traffic, the ATCC offers its support to relief and search and rescue missions too. Since October 2001, the ATCC at Semmerzake is also in charge of the training of future military air traffic controllers. It coordinates about 60 to 70 flights a day, synchronysing with the controllers of Belgocontrol and Eurocontrol deflicting military and civil aircraft using the same airspace. We surely do remember the power failure at Belgocontrol at the end of May where ATCC partially took over the traffic control. "The European air control center asked us to take over the aircraft which Belgontrol could not assist anymore to allow them to initiate their descent towards the airports of Liège, Charleroi and Luxemburg. In case ATCC had not been able to assist, these aircraft would have been compelled to regain altitude and to be diverted to foreign airports under the guidance o Eurocontrol" as Lt. Col. Lepez proudly pinpointed and valoured deservedly his staff following this unusual event.

Open Door

The event was skilfully organised in collaboration with the Fly In at Ursel, planned during the weekend of June 27 and 28. This combined organisation allowed the static show, besides the helicopters of the Air Force, to host also visitors foreseen at Ursel, the Eurocopter Squirrel HT.1 and the Bell Griffin HT.1 of the UK Defence Helicopter Flying School. Although this was not an airshow, some flight demonstrations were presented to the public. An anti-terrorist action with the NH-90, the Red Devils, the Agusta A109 solo display and the good old Seaking, dangling again in its sand and spinash green colours in the sunny skies of Semmerzake. In between these demonstrations were several fly-bys of aircraft bound for the Fly In at Ursel, including warbirds and collector items without forgetting the flight demonstration of the Victors, a civilian team which during the years kept on improving and giving away a quite elegant show. In short, a very succesfull day and as Lt Col Lepez, commander fo the ATCC pleasantly said : "everything had been ordered, the aircraft, the catering, the good mood and the sun." The SBAP-team wishes to thank warmly Lt Col Peter Lepez and his staff, Lt Col Jo Heylen and his Comopsair IPR-team for the cordial reception and accorded facilities during our stay.

Outside skin (Serge Van Heertum) Inside skin (Serge Van Heertum)

The radar installation (Serge van Oosterzee)
Dingo II ambuslance version  (Serge Van Heertum) Mercedes Unimog  radar control post  (Serge Van Heertum)
Armed Dingo II  (Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
Pandu 6 x 6 observation post  (Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)

Surface to Air Missile Mistral  (Serge Van Heertum)

Field Radar SVB BATS/ELTA ELM 2130A
  (Serge Van Heertum)
Volvo N10 6 x 6 cranr truck (Serge Van Heertum) The 80 UAV Sqn and ou Collaborator "Booly"  (Serge van Oosterzee)
The flight directors: "Buggy" & "Gross"  (Serge Van Heertum)
Eurofighter Typhoon - the solution for Belgium ? (by Marc Arys)

Interesting discussion with Paul Smith and Eurofighter team 
(Serge van Oosterzee)

Paul Smith, Company dedicated Typhoon pilot
(Serge Van Heertum)

( Serge Van Heertum)

Wait and see...(Marc Arys)

Although not foreseen in the flying nor static program, a booth of the Eurofighter Typhoon was present on the site. As everyone knows Belgium is progressively seaking a replacement for its F-16 fleet and several contacts and/or visits have already taken place. Remember a.o. the visit of two F-18 Hornets at Florennes airbase... During our stay at Semmerzake we had the opportunity to talk to Paul Smith, an experienced RAF Eurofighter Typhoon pilot who gave us a little insight in what the Typhoon is all about and what it could entail for Belgium. The Eurofighter Typhoon is a highly capable and interoperable multi-/swing-role fighter that can fully support Belgium's national, coalition and expeditionary missions. A Eurofighter Typhoon acquisition alongside other regional allies, who are already operating the aircraft, offers Belgium potential economic, operational, industrial and support benefits. Eurofighter offers Belgium a single contract within a European Partnership in the form of a Government-to-Government relationship. The Eurofighter offer gives Belgium the means to support the philosophy of sharing and pooling in the defence sector with European countries and all the advantages this brings. The Eurofighter offer gives Belgium the opportunity to participate in and be a part of Europe's biggest defence programme. A Request for Information (RFI) was received in June 2014 which was responded to by Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH and delivered back to Belgium through the UKTI DSO. The Belgium Air Command are completing assessments of all contemporary fighter Operators and have visited RAF Coningsby and key industrial sites belonging to Airbus Defence & Space and BAE Systems to have better understanding of Eurofighter Typhoon operations. To date seven nations (Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Austria, Saudi Arabia and Oman) have ordered the Eurofighter Typhoon. The programme secures more than 100,000 jobs in 400 companies. Since delivery of the first Eurofighter Typhoon to the Royal Air Force at the end of 2003, a total of 433 aircraft have been delivered to six nations and over 290,000 flying hours have been achieved. Furthermore, as Mr Paul Smith pointed out, Eurofighter Typhoon is, unlike the F-35, already a proven concept and is currently the largest military procurement programme in Europe. The technology is present in Europe and Belgium, should it choose to acquire the Typhoon, could greatly benefit from the experiences and support of the other European users.

To be continued...


The RAF, Luftwaffe? AMI, Ejercito del Aire, Austrian Air Force, Saudi Air Force and soon Oman Air Force..the Typhoon users
 (Courtesy of Eurofighter - copyright Geoffrey Lee)
Arrivals and Static Display
(Patrick Brouckaert) Eurocopter EC135  (Bruno Ghils)
(Serge Van Heertum) Robinson R44  (Serge Van Heertum)
Another R44  (Serge Van Heertum) Alouette III arrival  (Serge Van Heertum)
(Bruno Ghils) (Serge Van Heertum)
Airbus Helicopter NH-90 NFH  (Serge Van Heertum) Westland Seaking Mk 48  (Serge Van Heertum)
Arrival Griffin HT.1  (Serge Van Heertum) And the Squirrel HT.1  (Serge Van Heertum)
(Bruno Ghils) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum)
The Fly Passes...
Bristol Bulldog T.1  (Serge Van Heertum) (Bruno Ghils)
(Serge van Oosterzee) Yakovlev Yak 3 UPW  (Serge Van Heertum)
North American T-6 Harvard  (Serge van Oosterzee) (Bruno Ghils)
(Serge Van Heertum) RAF Beech King Air B200  (Serge Van Heertum)
Beech D 18  (Serge Van Heertum) (Serge van Oosterzee)
(Serge Van Heertum) CAC Boomerang  (Serge Van Heertum)
RAF Hawk T.1  (Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Bruno Ghils) Cessna 525 Citation  (Serge Van Heertum)
Piper PA-18-135  (Serge Van Heertum) (Serge van Oosterzee)
(Serge van Oosterzee) Pitts S2C  (Serge Van Heertum)
Magnigyro M24  (Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) Travel Air 4000  (Serge Van Heertum)
Piper L-21 Royal Belgian Air Cadets  (Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Bruno Ghils) North American T-6J Harvard IV  (Serge Van Heertum)
Embraer 120 Xingu French Air Force  (Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge van Oosterzee) Max Holste MH-1521 C Broussard  (Serge Van Heertum)
Pitts S2B  (Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
The Victors  (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge van Oosterzee) (Serge Van Heertum)
Belgian Air Force demo
The Red Devils
(Serge van Oosterzee) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Bruno Ghils)
Anti-terrorist operation: F-16's, A109BA & NH-90 TTH
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)

(Serge Van Heertum)

(Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Philippe Decock) (Serge van Oosterzee)
(Patrick Brouckaert) (Patrick Brouckaert)
(Patrick Brouckaert) (Bruno Ghils)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Philippe Decock) (Bruno Ghils)

(Patrick Brouckaert)

(Serge Van Heertum)
(Bruno Ghils) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Bruno Ghils)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge van Oosterzee)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)

(Philippe Decock)

(Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
Agusta A109BA solo display
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)

(Serge van Oosterzee)

(Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Patrick Brouckaert)
(Serge van Oosterzee) (Bruno Ghils)
Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) demo: Falcon 20 & F-16's
(Philippe Decock) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge van Oosterzee) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Bruno Ghils) (Philippe Decock)
(Serge van Oosterzee)
Westland Seaking Mk 48 display
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge van Oosterzee) (Bruno Ghils)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum)
(Patrick Brouckaert) (Serge Van Heertum)
NH-90 NFH leaving ATCC back to Koksijde  (Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) Departure Alouette III  (Serge Van Heertum)
Alouette III, A109, Seaking and NH-90 TTH together  (Serge Van Heertum) Final of the day...a great day  (Serge Van Heertum)

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