Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Serge Van Heertum, Jef Pets, Jacques Vincent, Philippe Fay & Philip Verhasselt
Translation: Marc Arys  İsbap 2021
 

Welcome home MSN109... This is not the code name of a secret agent at her majesty's service, but simply the construction number of the third Airbus Military A400M "Atlas", intended for the Belgian Air Force.
On March 3rd, 2021, around 11 a.m. local time in Spain, CT-03 left the Airbus facilities in Sevilla. Flight BAF 636 was followed with great enthusiasm by aviation passionate on various radar applications, so as not to miss the arrival at Brussels Airport.
Focus now on the CT-03, which also carries the black, yellow, red roundel and its flight from the land of sangria. After about 2 hours and 30 minutes of flight, the plane flew on final of the runway 25L with a splendid "Touch and Go" and offering a photo opportunity to the amateurs present along the runway. After a go-around, a wide turn to come on final for runway 25R, but in clean configuration and at high speed to make a masterful break, which becomes usual for the "Atlas" arriving in the country.
Finally, a last circuit for the landing on runway 25R, following the taxi tracks to the Melsbroek military base and receiving a welcome shower from the airport fire brigade as usual.
So CT-03 joined its brothers in arms and as it was only asking to fly, a few hours after its arrival, it carried out a training mission including a series of approaches and touch and go's at Florennes airbase before finally returning to its home base at around 17.45 hours.
Since then, she has been close to her fellow planes and will not fail to take to the air again in the coming days.
Welcome home CT-03, and we are now awaiting the last flight of C-130H "Hercules" CH-13 scheduled for month of April; the possibility of immortalizing C-130H CH-01 carrying a commemorative painting evoking the career of this beast of burden within the Air Force and finally the arrival of the CT-04.
It is clear that the 15th Transport Wing of the Belgian Air Force is in a modernization phaze...
Stay tuned :-)

 
CT-03 at take off from Airbus Military facilities
(Airbus via internet DR)
Catched on radar app's
(ADSB Exchange)
MSN109 approaching the RWY 25L
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Few seconds before the touch
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Simply majestic
(Jacques Vincentİ)
Nose section close up
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Perfect profile and typical view of Brussels Airport control tower
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Speed increase...
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
...and back take off
(Serge Van Heertumİ)

High speed pass and tactical break
#1 (Jef Petsİ) & #2 (Serge Van Heertumİ)
Break above the military apron
(Philippe Fayİ)
Final RWY 25R
(Jef Petsİ)
Few seconds before the final touch
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
The traditional welcome shower
(Philippe Fayİ)
Wet wet wet
(Philippe Fayİ)
The CH-13 back from a mission on the same day, it's the final month for him
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
CT-03 back from a first training mission at the same day of arrival
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
17:46 local, back at homebase
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
"Hercules" gave way to his colleague "Atlas"
(Philippe Verhasseltİ)
Future is there!
(Philippe Verhasseltİ)
End of the day for the "Atlas" fleet
(Philippe Verhasseltİ)
  
Breaking news: First ops mission for the Belgian "Atlas" fleet
 
The 15th Transport Wing of the Belgian Air Force reached a new milestone in their operational transition. However, six months after taking delivery of the first Airbus A400M CT-01, Belgian Air Force A400M "Atlas" CT-03 made the first operational mission of the newcomer aircraft career. The aircraft CT-03 took off from Melsbroek airbase on the morning of March 12th, in support of Operation Desert Falcon (ODF). The "Atlas" rescued the F-16 Fighting Falcons who were grounded at Al-Azraq airbase in Jordan due to engine problems. The 15th Transport Wing team was able to deliver the new jet engines and took back home the defect ones torepair. 
March 12th, 2021 will be a day that will mark the nascent history of A400M operations, but also the general history of the 15th Transport Wing as well.
The flight back to Belgium was planed between the 12 and the 13 of March with a night stop at Athens. On March 13th, the flight BAF635 left Athens to join the home base of Mesbroek and the CT-03 landed on the runway 25R at 17.00 local time.
Job well done 15th Transport Wing, the first operational Airbus A400M mission is archieved!
 
On the way to Jordan
(Courtesy 20th Squadron Tactical Airliftİ via FB)
The precious load
(Courtesy 20th Squadron Tactical Airliftİ via FB)
Unloading / Loading operations
(Courtesy 20th Squadron Tactical Airliftİ via FB)
The first operational mission for the Belgian Air Force A400M fleet
(Courtesy 20th Squadron Tactical Airliftİ via FB)
The CT-03 on Al-Azraq airbase tarmac
(Courtesy 20th Squadron Tactical Airliftİ via FB)
The CT-03 at landing on the RWY 25R on March 13th, 2021 after the first operational mission at Al-Azraq airbase.
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
The CT-03 is back on Melsbroek airbase apron with the brothers in arm - Nose in the wind against the hard gusts, from left to right: CT-02 - CT-01 - CT-03
(Philippe Verhasseltİ)
 

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