Text: Serge Van Heertum - Translations: Marc Arys 
Pictures: Serge Van Heertum, Marc Arys, Serge van Oosterzee, Jacques Vincent, Roland Broekhove, Jan de Clercq
©sbap 2021
  
Printscreen of the live show broadcast
  
In Belgium, the 21st of July is synonymous with festivity... and a national festivity at that!
Was it really festivity? I legitimately wonder.
Now that Covid-19, this pandemic, is managing our lives, causing the death of beloved ones and generating controversy after controversy for almost two years... can we really talk about a feast?
Not to mention that the week before this day, there was disaster and desolation in some parts of the country following what the national media described as unprecedented bad weather, even though some areas could have been spared if not for incompetence and lack of human discernment. The explanation for the two-meter high wave breaking in the middle of the night has still not been explained in a plausible way, only the Gileppe dam lion probably has the explanation.
Still, this National Day was marked by mourning! So, although I have been a patriot since I was very young, the question remains at the tip of my lips, was it really necessary to have this celebration, this parade, which was in fact only organized for the high spheres of the country?
Some will say (and this was the case in certain national media so cherished by certain authorities) that the parade took place in memory of the victims. Sincerely, if I were one of the victims, given the circumstances, I would not even have a television set to enjoy this parade in my honour! On the other hand, the money invested in this parade could help me and other compatriots to get back on their feet and rebuild their lives and their homes.
For information, the houses that are deemed to be demolished by the authorities will be at the expense of the owners. Fortunately, there was a national celebration in their honour.
And then the icing on the cake, no party in the park, no public allowed in the vicinity etc... Because of Covid.
Seeing all this, I wonder if this celebration was really necessary? For me a celebration is made to emphasize on the joy and the happiness of life.
In 2021 we are far, very far from that and as a popular French singer would say, who is not afraid to show his convictions, "I hate this century, I hate it deep inside me, this century that steals my freedom to think and to act!" I can only agree with his view, but I leave you here to judge on your own.

So yes, there was a fly past and let's face it, we took out our cameras to capture the aerial part of this day. When you love aviation, it's stronger than anything else and even if you've seen a plane 10 or 20 times, the desire to push the shutter release is the strongest.
This year, part of the team went either to Melsbroek, Florennes or to the center of Brussels, or more precisely to the Cinquantenaire Park, since the "neutral zone" was forbidden. This is how you will get the widest possible overview of this fly past, which in the end only included 19 planes and not a single helicopter, as these were on standby to help the victims. And what's more, the weather was very hot, causing heat haze and other "milky" skies.

So yes, there was a military parade for the National Day, reduced to the maximum and, at the end, leaving a bitter taste behind...
Let's hope that in the years to come, the sky will clear up. That's my secret hope, but my reason is still in doubt.

     
    
National Day Preparation @ Florennes Airbase
    
FA-107 on the flight line
(Jacques Vincent©)
The beautiful FA-86 350 Squadron anniversary
(Jacques Vincent©)
Preparing to fill the smoke pods
(Jacques Vincent©)
Special clothing required for this delicate task
(Jacques Vincent©)
No mistakes in the colour, he Boss?
(Jacques Vincent©)
Filling the pod
(Jacques Vincent©)
FA-87 ready for the National Day parade
(Jacques Vincent©)
Removal of the security tags
(Jacques Vincent©)
GPU (Ground Power Unit)
(Jacques Vincent©)

Oxygen trailer
(Jacques Vincent©)
This is also a delicate manipulation
(Jacques Vincent©)
The MJ-1C Bomb Lifter also called "Jammer"
(Jacques Vincent©)
The driver's side
(Jacques Vincent©)
The armament lift side
(Jacques Vincent©)
Filling another pod
(Jacques Vincent©)
The yellow smokepod
(Jacques Vincent©)
Nothing is left to chance when it comes to safety: Crash car...
(Jacques Vincent©)
...or firebrigade truck
(Jacques Vincent©)
The crew chief headset...
(Jacques Vincent©)
...and the headset connection bay
(Jacques Vincent©)
All is ready, start up for the mission of the day on the left side of the flightline
(Jacques Vincent©)
and same on the right side of the flightline
(Jacques Vincent©)
Clearly a 350 Sqn pilot
(Jacques Vincent©)
Concentration
(Jacques Vincent©)
Little technical problem with the FA-87
(Jacques Vincent©)
The smokepod has to be removed and transferred to the spare aircraft
(Jacques Vincent©)
Working fast and swiftly due to the sharp timing
(Jacques Vincent©)
Backing out, mission accomplished
(Jacques Vincent©)
Here we go for the Black...
(Jacques Vincent©)
...Yellow...
(Jacques Vincent©)
...and Red
(Jacques Vincent©)
  
It's take-off time in Melsbroek
   
Very busy in the Brussels tower at this time
(Marc Arys©)
First take off CT-02
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Tight left turn heading Puyenbroek
(Marc Arys©)
On time ! 
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Followed by CH-01
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Superb Indian in the summer sun
(Marc Arys©)
This was the last participation of the "Mighty Herc" on the National Day parade
(Serge Van Heertum©)
When the Indian crosses the rooster
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Taking the same path in the summer heat as CT-02
(Serge Van Heertum©)
The third one, CT-03
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Climbing out
(Marc Arys©)
A bit of roof architecture
(Serge Van Heertum©)
And the fourth plane of the 15th Wing, the Falcon 7X OO-FAE
(Marc Arys©)
  
And meanwhile in Brussels
   
The first F-16's formation with the smokes: FA-135 (Black) - FA-81 (Yellow) - FA-70 (Red)
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
FA-86 - FA-132 & FB-22 as second formation
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
The BAF 75 years FA-87
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
The "Red Devils" Siai-Marchetti SF.260M quartet
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
From Avord airbase the Embraer Emb 121 Xingu
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
CT-02 alone (representing the Luxemburg)
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
C-130H Hercules and A400M Atlas 
for the first and also the last time together overhead Brussels
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
The Falcon 7X
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
Airbus A330 MRTT with a 10 Wing F-16 pair
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
The international MRTT fleet is based at Eindhoven
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
  
After Brussels Fly Pass @ Brussels Airport
 
The Falcon 7X was the first to land
(Marc Arys©)
Elegant business jet with Military markings and civilian registration
(Serge Van Heertum©)
"Mighty Herc" was the second one back home
 (Serge Van Heertum©)
The last months of duty...
(Marc Arys©)
CT-03 on final
(Marc Arys©)
Few seconds before the touch
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Close up
(Marc Arys©)
Flaps down and ready for landing
(Serge Van Heertum©)
A big bird in the trees
(Serge Van Heertum©)
CT-02 on final
(Marc Arys©)
A big machine, there is no doubt
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Second close up
(Marc Arys©)
Short final
(Marc Arys©)
With the well known Brussels Airport building in the background
(Serge Van Heertum©)
In the heat haze of the runway
(Serge Van Heertum©)
  
Back to Florennes Airbase for the arrivals
 
Six ship formation back to base with the National colours
(Jacques Vincent©)
Eight aircraft for some passes
(Jacques Vincent©)
A last one before the break
(Jacques Vincent©)
And the break
(Jacques Vincent©)
Some more individual passes here the FA-81
(Roland Broeckhove©)
FA-91 high G turn
(Roland Broeckhove©)
FA-70 full AB
(Jan de Clercq©)
FA-70 for a second one
(Roland Broeckhove©)
FA-81 again
(Jan de Clercq©)
Showing the flashy yellow "missiles"
(Jan de Clercq©)
FA-86 for a pass
(Jan de Clercq©)
The beautiful Gaul
(Jan de Clercq©)
FB-22 the fast two-seatter
(Jan de Clercq©)
FA-132 on landing
(Jan de Clercq©)
Followed by FA-135
(Jan de Clercq©)
The brave warrior on final
(Roland Broeckhove©)
Simply waouw
(Jan de Clercq©)
FA-70 without trees
(Roland Broeckhove©)
FA-70 with trees
(Jan de Clercq©)
FB-22 on final
(Jan de Clercq©)
FA-91
(Jan de Clercq©)
FA-72
(Jan de Clercq©)
FA-81
(Jan de Clercq©)
The last one on landing
(Roland Broeckhove©)
Embraer Emb 121 Xingu for a salute...
(Roland Broeckhove©)
...and a touch and go
(Jan de Clercq©)
End of the mission, back to the apron: FA-132 & FA-135
(Jacques Vincent©)
Same for FA-86...
(Jacques Vincent©)
...and FA-70
(Jacques Vincent©)
FA-91
(Jacques Vincent©)
FA-72
(Jacques Vincent©)
FA-81
(Jacques Vincent©)
Parked and shutting down
(Jacques Vincent©)
Welcomed by the crew chief
(Jacques Vincent©)
The precious help of technician ;-)
(Jacques Vincent©)
  The special mission of the day is accomplished
(Jacques Vincent©)
The man in the light and the one in the shadow, the perfect duo
(Jacques Vincent©)
When the work of the pilot ends, the one of the technician begins
(Jacques Vincent©)
Above all, do not forget the keys on the ignition switch!
(Jacques Vincent©)
No more comments needed !
(Jacques Vincent©)
 

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