Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Serge Van Heertum, Marc Arys & Philip Verhasselt - Translation: Marc Arys  İsbap 2021
 

As mentioned in our previous reports, the modernization of the Belgian Air Force and more specifically the consequent changes within the 15th Transport Wing are going well. Indeed, three A400M's have already been delivered and half of the fleet of the 'Mighty Hercs' has been retired.
The milestone year of 2021 is the last year of activity for the good old Hercules and before their well-deserved final retirement, it was necessary to mark the occasion in a very visible way.
CH-01 has been given a new livery to mark 50 years of loyal service in the colours of the Kingdom of Belgium. The decoration is both sober and striking with a stylized Native American (Wing and Squadron logo) worn on the right side of the tail fin. The words "Tenacity" have not been forgotten; a strong motto characterizing the spirit of the Transport Wing. The left side of the tail fin bears, in addition to the Air Force wings, the words "50 years in service".
If my memories from school and especially of mathematics are still accurate, the CH-01 was delivered in July 1972 and we are in 2021. But what happened to the 50th year?
The explanation and the notion behind this decoration comes from the fact that the entire fleet of the initial 12 C-130H's ordered by the Belgian government ended up on Lockheed's assembly lines in fiscal year 1971.
The circle is complete; our "Hercules" are indeed 50 years old. A bit the same for the human race, we celebrate the day of birth, but we are already a living being in the months that precede our welcome on earth...

 
List of the fiscal years of the Belgian C-130H fleet:
 
CH-01: 71-1797
CH-02: 71-1798
CH-03: 71-1799
CH-04: 71-1800
CH-05: 71-1801
CH-06: 71-1802
CH-07: 71-1803
CH-08: 71-1804
CH-09: 71-1805
CH-10: 71-1806
CH-11: 71-1807
CH-12: 71-1808
CH-13 64-0552 (replacement of CH-02)
   
On March 15th, the special decoration was officially unveiled in the presence of the specialized aviation press and so our readers will be introduced to this decoration that will mark the end of an aviation myth in Belgium.
During this presentation, the aircraft was prepared for a mission to drop material on the Schaffen airfield, which allowed us to immortalize the beautiful bird in action.
This presentation was also the occasion to see the 15th Wing in its evolution phase. Indeed, the training missions on the A400M "Atlas" are multiplying to reach the operational stage in the allotted time, which is not an easy task with the current health constraints.
Moreover, within the framework of the training missions, very soon, an operational deployment exercise will be organized on the coastal base of Koksijde, but this will be another story.
So things are moving fast and all the personnel of the 15th Wing are putting their heart and soul into it ensuring the operationality of the next generation and to do so, Defence is recruiting the men and women who will make the Air Force and the 15th Wing of tomorrow work.
Moreover, the year 2021 will mark 75 years of existence of the Belgian Air Force; this Air Force that many love and support. Let's hope that this anniversary can be celebrated with dignity in view of the Covid pandemic.
The SBAP team would like to warmly thank Comopsair IPR (Kurt & Jo) and the PR department of the 15th Wing (Kristof) for the invitation and the facilities granted for the realization of the report "on scene".
 
The left hand side of the half century "Hercules" special paint
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
The right hand side showing a stylized Indian, the well known logo of the 15th Transport Wing
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Some details for the ones who will start a model kit
(Marc Arysİ)
The stylized native American 
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
A strong motto characterizing the spirit of the Transport Wing
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
The first of the fleet with a gala suit
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
(Serge Van Heertumİ) (Serge Van Heertumİ)
A dropping mission at Schaffen was planned for the CH-01 today
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Loading the pallets
(Marc Arysİ)
Start up
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Facing a fantastic transport aircraft
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
The power of "Hercules"
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Waiting the taxi clearance
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Landing lights on, here he goes!
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Showing both sides to the photographers : the right hand side...
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
...and the left hand
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Nice flight and safe dropping guy's
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
The machine and the control tower
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
V1... rotate...
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Take off
(Marc Arysİ)
Vortices and rain wash
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Aligned on runway 25R for landing
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Your are number one, clear to land BAF 635
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Back for landing after a first touch and go
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Mission accomplished, back to base
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
We will miss you "Hercky"
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Some other missions for "Mighty Herc" on March 17th, 2021
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Many shades of grey on landing March 18th, 2021
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Preparation of another mission on March 19th, 2021
(Philip Verhasseltİ)
Flt BAF655 heading Valencia on March 19th, 2021
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Will be shortly an image of the past...
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
     
2021, the transition year of the 15th Transport Wing in pictures
    
"Atlas" and "Hercules", the last year together
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Light and shadow
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Grey on grey
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Two of the last six aircraft ready for a next mission
(Marc Arysİ)
"Atlas" the giant
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
The trifecta in a mess
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
"Atlas" trio, waiting the CT-04 now to get the half planned fleet
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
"Atlas" pilot office
(Philip Verhasseltİ)
The spaceful cargo bay of the new giant
(Philip Verhasseltİ)
The CT-01 at take of for a training mission, reaching the fully operational stage of the fleet requires a lot of work
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Vortices festival
(Marc Arysİ)
Wet weather and sun effect
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
WWW: Wet Weather Wash
(Marc Arysİ)
CT-02 at take off
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
A little air of Archimedes screw ... no?
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
FOF: First Operational Flights
 
Back from his first operational mission at Jordan airbase Al-Azraq held between March 12th and March 13th. 
CT-03 seen landing at Brussels Airport RWY 25R at 17.00 local time (March 13th)
Back to homebase after the first day of operation "Arizona Dream" 2021 held at Koksijde airbase between March 19th and March 26th
CT-01 seen landing at Brussels Airport RWY 01 at 17.15 local time (March 19th)
Mission at Jordan airbase Al-Azraq for the CT-02 as first operational mission held between March 18th and March 19th. 
CT-02 seen landing at Brussels Airport RWY 01 at 18.23 local time (March 19th)
On the way to the future...
...With a look at the past
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
This Air Force that we love and support is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Congrats for this jubilee! 
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
 

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