Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Philip Verhasselt & Christian Debrabanter - Translation: David Niemegeerts  sbap 2015

Melsbroek Air Base special visitors

Melsbroek Air Base is the home base of the Belgian Air Force 15th Transport Wing, but is also an international platform, and gets foreign visitors regularly. Without a doubt you have looked at our different pages, such as the visit of the Antonov 124, KDC-10 from Omega Tanker or, more recently, the EU-CELAC summit held in Brussels.


Click on the picture for a look to the previous Melsbroek pages

The last months saw different interesting visitors and we decided to concentrate on 3 of them in this page. The first one was a Chinook HAC 4 from RAF Odiham en route for a multinational exercise in Germany. A fuel stop was planned in Belgium on August 27th, but due to a technical failure on the rear rotor hydraulic control system, the helicopter was grounded until repaired. This was done a few days later in the Melsbroek hangar by RAF technicians, and finally the big flying machine could get back to his RAF home base begin of September, unfortunately without participating to this exercise.

The second one came from Italy and paid his first visit to the Belgian base. The KC-767A from 14 Stormo based at Pratica di Mare was present on the Belgian apron on October 18th to accomplish a transport mission commanded by the EATC center. This was the occasion to take a look at this new generation tanker deducted from the civilian airliner. Since January 2011 Italy operates a fleet of four KC-767A next generation tankers equipped with both the sixth generation flying boom (based on the model present on the American KC-10) and used to refuel the F-35A, and three hose and drogue stations that give the KC-767 the ability to refuel aircraft equipped with onboard receptacles, or those with a refueling probe.

The third one came to Melsbroek for more dramatic reasons. On November 7th, a Lockheed-Martin / Alenia C-27J Spartan of the Romanian Air Force landed at Melsbroek with seven youngsters on board, who were heavily burned during the dramatic fire of a disco bar in Bucharest. Belgium decided to help the Romanian government and put the knowhow of the Neder over Hembeek hospital team at their disposal, to help those youngsters who were in a critical state. It is possible that some more injured people will come to Belgium and will be dispatched in other Belgian hospitals specialized in high degree skin burns.

 Boeing Chinook HAC 4 Royal Air Force (ZA720) from Odiham
(Christian Debrabanter)
 In the Herpain hangar  (Christian Debrabanter) A big helicopter !  (Christian Debrabanter)
 The replacing rear rotor part  (Christian Debrabanter) A quite large cargo bay  (Christian Debrabanter)
 Boeing KC-767A  Italian Air Force  (MM62228) from 14 Stormo / 8 Gruppo Pratica di Mare
(Philip Verhasselt)
 On taxi "November 6"  (Philip Verhasselt) In company of the Belgian Air Force A321  (Philip Verhasselt)
 Clear markings  (Philip Verhasselt) Air refueling control camera  (Philip Verhasselt)
 Tail boom  (Philip Verhasselt) Probe-and-drogue  (Philip Verhasselt)
 Some landing gear details  (Philip Verhasselt)
 The cockpit is quite the similar as the civilian B-767  (Philip Verhasselt)
 Lockheed-Martin / Alenia C-27J Spartan Romanian Air Force (2706) from Esc.902 / Baza 90 Aviatie de Transport 
"Gheorghe Banciulescu" Bucarest Air Base
(Philip Verhasselt)
 Waiting the 15 heavy burned youngsters (Philip Verhasselt) Delicate transfer from the plane to the ambulance (Philip Verhasselt)

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