Text & Pictures: Jef Pets  - Translation: Marc Arys    © sbap 2018


To emphasize on this remembrance year, Defence and the Task Force 100 years WWI, tasked an A-109 helicopter from the Air Force, to attend 11 schools located in the capital cities of the Belgian provinces and the Brussels Region, to deliver a remembrance package with a specific message.
During this Poppy Flight, two students from each involved institute, flew along from the previous landingspot into their own school, and this in the special painted A-109 from the demoteam adorning the special 'year badge' from the Belgian Air Force.
On behalf of their schools, the students took delivery of a package, incuding a set of books reflecting on war and peace. The poppy referring to the world-renowned poem 'In Flanders Fields' from John McCrae, although without forgetting the Belgian marguerite.
The institutes were also asked to make a work of art, inspired by the poppy and to be handed over to the next school, with the intention to deposit all these works of art later on this year during a big remembrance ceremony.
1918 saw the end of World War I and the remembrance of this war, 100 years ago, will be concluded in 2018. The goal was to visit 11 schools in 1 day. The selected schools were asked to make a work of art, integrating a poppy, symbol of this First War. An infosession was also held in these schools to promote the possibilities of a career within Defence.
During this "Poppy Flight", two students from each participating school flew along departing from the previous landingspot to land at their own school for the remembrance. The Agusta A-109 of the demoteam was adorned with a special sticker from the Belgian Air Force.
The launch was given at Beauvechain airbase at 0830 hrs local time, on to Liège, Hasselt, Antwerp, Semmerzake (fuelstop), Ghent, Bruges, Mons, Brussels, Leuven, Beauvechain (fuelstop), Waver, Namur and Arlon where the two last students were dropped off. From there the crew flew back to Beauvechain where the engines were shut down at around 1540 hrs.
SBAP was present at the Don Bosco institute at Hoboken, where the students were not aware of the impending flight. At 0915 hrs the schoolbell sounded 5 times, announcing that the students had to gather at the playground where a collaborator of the PR team of the Airforce gave a little allocution regarding this Poppy Flight. A little bit later, around 0930, the Agusta flew in from Hasselt, bringing Emilie and Mathias back to their school. In turn Margot and Nicholas took off from Hoboken, bound for their institute Sint-Bavo in Ghent.
Together with this initiative, Defence also promoted military careers by being present with an Information Centre at each landingspot. Today, our soldiers are doing their job, here on the streets as well as all over the world, to guarantee your freedom and safety.
This Poppy Flight was an initiative from the PR team of the Belgian Air Force, emphasizing on the teamspirit, professionalism and pride of Defence in general and our Air Force in particular.
Belgian Air Force, proud to serve, strong in teamwork!

Thanks to everyone of the ComOpsAir IPR Team and all others participants from Defence present, for granting our reporter this enjoyable morning. Also many thanks to the Director and collaborators of the Don Bosco institute at Hoboken for their hospitality.

The point of contact The Don Bosco Institute Hoboken
 Margo and Nicholas (Sint-Bavo Gent) receiving boarding instructions On the way to the landing zone
 Waiting for the ride VTM Broadcast reporter interviewing some Don Bosco’s students
Everyone outside to witness the Poppy-flight to arrive Comopsair collaborator explaining the purpose of this historical mission
 Moment supreme ! Agusta landing @ Don Bosco
 Touch down !
 Watching the blades Emilie and Mathias arriving @ their own school
 Briefly meet eachother Last minute instructions
 Ready for boarding Bend over to avoid the blades
Ready to fly Cargo door is closed, pilot has contral
 Note the mission logo on the nose Cleared for take-off
 Heading Gent via Semmerzake for a fuel stop Emilie and Mathias on terra firma
 Some interview like a star Work of art received from Hasselt for Don Bosco
 Goodiebag for the schools principal of Don Bosco Principal Mr Heyman, Emilie and Mathias posing for the picture 
 Belgian Defence team Smiling faces : Mission fully accomplished !
Poppy Flight, the mission made for the younger generations so that they never forget the sacrifice of our ancestors

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