Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Serge Van Heertum & Brussels Airlines - Translation: Marc Arys     © sbap 2018
 

Seven months ago, Brussels Airlines launched its fifth project within the frame of "Belgian Icons Aircraft", created emphasize the image of the company in short bond with the best what Belgium has to offer.
Once launched, the competition drew some 1415 projects, which were all scrutinized. The choice fell on two projects, the Smurfs or Victor Horta, Belgian master of the Art Nouveau.
"To choose the design of our fifth Belgian Icon, we asked the public what they would like to see flying through the skies as the Belgian ambassador. This is why, last year, we launched a competition to which everyone who's heart beats for Belgium, every enthusiast and every designer could participate in sending in his idea or airplane project. Ranging from French fries to the saxophone, the number of ideas was very impressive."
(Tanguy Cartuyvels, VP Marketing at Brussels Airlines).
The two retained projects were submitted to the public's votes and finally the design of the Smurfs, from the Italian Marta Mascellani, was elected with a huge majority.

 
 The Victor Horta (New Art) project (via Brussels Airlines)
The original smurf project (via Brussels Airlines)
 

The airplane, OO-SND, baptized "Aerosmurf" was presented to the press on March 24th, 2018, with the painting starting some fourteen days earlier.
To complete the project, 28 shades were necessary, representing some 420 liters of paint. No less than 14 painters, under the supervision of aerograph specialist André Eisele, got on to the project using 24 kilometers of "masking tape" and 4.500 m² of paper.
The name "Aerosmurf" comes from the title of a Smurf comic book, depicting a little Smurf eager to fly. This Smurf tries to fly in different ways, but none worked, until he built a plane. Since then, the little Smurf has always been known as the "Aerosmurf".
The cartoonists from the Peyo studio have adapted the design in 3D to make it embrace the fuselage of the aircraft.

 The painting chart
(via Brussels Airlines)
The winner Marta Mascellani and her brother, pilot at Brussels Airlines
(Brussels Airlines ©)
A beautiful showcase...  (via Brussels Airlines)
 

The result is an aircraft with 19 Smurfs, depicting passengers and crewmembers interacting together. In the cockpit we have "Smurfette" as the captain and "Great Smurf" as her co-pilot.
The design also depicts other Belgian details, referring to the numerous other proposed ideas during the competition. On the left side of the fuselage you can see the Music Smurf playing the "Brabançonne" (Belgian Anthem) on a saxophone (a pure Belgian invention) with another Smurf playing a mouth-organ (harmonica), referring to the well know Belgian musician Toots Thielemans. On the Smurf crew's trolley, we can see an Atomium miniature.
On the right side of the fuselage, a Smurf crew member is serving French fries and waffles to passenger Smurfs. But "Aerosmurf" has also two hidden passengers, Gargamel the Sorcerer and his cat Azraël, trying to escape through a hatch on the underside of the airplane. This is a real delight for the airplane photographers, as they are only visible when the airplane is taking off or landing.
Presented on March 24, "Aerosmurf" made his first commercial flight towards London on March 25th the morning and to Milano-Linate the afternoon.
OO-SND "Aerosmurf" will retain his livery until 2023, to the biggest joy of the photographers, cartoon passionate or just for those who kept a childhoods soul.
As conclusion of this wonderful project the word of the daughter of the genial Smurfs creator:

"It is an honour to see the Smurfs represent our country as a Belgian Icon and a great way to celebrate their 60th anniversary. My father would have been proud to see "Aerosmurf" taking to the skies." (Véronique Culliford, daughter of Peyo).

 
  The painting work
(Brussels Airlines ©)
In the cabin
(Brussels Airlines ©)
 March 24th...The official roll out
(Brussels Airlines ©)
It's Smurfing...
(Brussels Airlines ©)
 A superb flying comics
(Brussels Airlines ©)
Of course, some very special guest
(Brussels Airlines ©)
Véronique Culliford, the proud daughter of Peyo
(Brussels Airlines ©)
Peyo alias Pierre Culliford, the genious creator
(Web without credit / DR)
 The Smurfette as Captain...
(Serge Van Heertum ©)
...and the Great Smurf as First Officer
(Serge Van Heertum ©)
 The delights of Belgium: french fries and Brussels waffles
(Serge Van Heertum ©)
Three references on this picture: 
the Belgian Anthem, the Saxophone and Toot Thielemans
(Serge Van Heertum ©)
The flight attendant and the famous Brussels Atomium
(Serge Van Heertum ©)
Follow the "Smurf" with #SNSMURF...
(Brussels Airlines ©)
 Take off to Milano - Linate on March 25th
(Serge Van Heertum ©)
The occasion to see Gargamel the Sorcerer and his cat Azraël
(Serge Van Heertum ©)

This fifth aircraft of the "Belgian Icons" series is a wonderful achievement  (Serge Van Heertum ©)
 

The Brussels Airlines Belgian Icons series...

"Aerosmurf" (OO-SND) has joined "Rackham" (OO-SNB), "Magritte" (OO-SNC), "Trident" (OO-SNA) and "Amare" (OO-SNF) within the series of Belgian Icons.
To publicize the most beautiful Belgian assets the entire world, Brussels Airlines decided in 2015 to dedicate an airplane to "Tintin and Snowy". A première in Belgium, which sparked interest, as "Rackham" is probably one of the most photographed aircraft in the world.
One year after "Rackham" came the "New Art" painter "Magritte", followed by "Trident" dedicated to the Belgian national soccer team. Brussels Airlines and Tomorrowland created "Amare" in 2017, as a salute to this emblematic Belgian music festival.

 
"Rackham" (OO-SNB)  (Serge Van Heertum ©)
"Magritte" (OO-SNC)  (Serge Van Heertum ©)
"Trident" (OO-SNA)  (Serge Van Heertum ©)
"Amare" (OO-SNF)  (Serge Van Heertum ©)
 

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