The ultimate flight of
CM 170 Fouga Magister MT-35
"The Last of the many !"
Text & Photographs : ©Serge VAN HEERTUM and ©Marc ARYS - S.B.A.P.
The last of the many ! flew for the very last time on September 27, 2007 during a formal ceremony commemorating the 47 years of dedicated service of the CM 170 Fouga Magister in Belgium.
Being the very last Fouga, the MT-35 was decorated with an appropriate scheme. The design of S.B.A.P. was withheld for the upper surface of the wings. An additional scheme, from Fouga addicts Tim Soetaert and Luc Vangrinderbeek, depicts a 'whistling turtle' on the left hand side below the windshield.
The dayglo markings on the aft fuselage carries the names of the last 'Fouga'-pilots on the left side as well as the name of the last 'Fouga'-technicians on the right side.
The last of the many !
(photo by Eddy "Bink" Kellens of the Belgian Air Component)
Fouga Farewell Party
This Farewell Party gathered around 3.000 visitors on Beauvechain airbase and was attended by numerous dignitaries including the Minister of Defence André Flahaut and Lt. Gen. Avi. Van Caeleberge, commander of the Belgian Air Component.
But before her planned and final farewell, our gentle lady MT-35 made two more flights on September 27, 2007.
The first flight, with
take-off at 09.11' hrs and landing back at 10.21' hrs, was also the very last
Fouga flight of Lt. Gen. Avi. 'Pedro' Buyse, chief of cabinet of the Belgian
Minister of Defence, Pedro flew frontseat with Lt. Col. Avi. 'Paul' Rorive in
Lt. Gen. Avi. Buyse was also interviewed for the local TV Limburg (Pedro being a Limurg inhabitant and also father of Koen - leadsinger of the group Zornik) - click here for this TV-report
|Pedro going through the cockpitchecks||Start up of the left engine|
|Taxieng back after the first flight of the day||Lt. Gen. Avi. 'Pedro' Buyse and Lt. Col. Avi. 'Paul' Rorive|
|Patrick Leemans of TV Limburg interviewing 'Pedro'|
Paul made a second flight with it's trusted crewchief 1Sgt William Peeters. Although the start was hampered by a little mechanical problem (generator), they took off at 11.49' hrs and were back at 13.01' hrs. At their return they were given a present from both S.B.A.P. members (a wall clock depicting the 'Last of the many' and was handed over with the words "Now it is time for the last flight") as well as from the head of the 'Fouga' maintenance presenting Paul with the 'G'-meter (accelerometer) from it's "Cobra" incident on June 22, 2006 at Ambérieu (France). The 'G'-meter indicated + 7 G and - 3,5 !!
|William working on the generator problem|
|Have a nice flight !|
|Serge from S.B.A.P. presenting the wall clock to the crew||Paul and William after their flight, which turned out to be the very last Fouga flight !|
|The 'G' meter : + 7 G and - 3,5 G|
September 27, 2007,
MT35 seen on final runway 04 at Beauvechain airbase.
This was the very last 'final' of the Belgian Fouga era !!!
(courtsey of Walter Van Bel)
Finally it was time ! The
last Fouga Magister was due to make it's very last flight. MT35 was towed to the
Marchetti apron and after the demoflight of 'Mickey' Artiges on his F-16 and the
flypast of 4 Marchetti's, Paul started the engines for it's final journey. The
high pitch whistle filled the air and the gentle lady taxied out.
But it was not ment to be.
A compressor failure forced her back to her parking space where she was saluted by the crowd. Paul shut down the engines for the last time and opened the cockpit. Emotions !!
As someone said : 'she refused to take her last ride' and as we all know : If you go, do go in style !!! This is what the last Fouga Magister did on September 27, 2007, when Paul and William flew her during midday.
To conclude this farewell, the last pilot, crewchiefs and technicians were given the traditional 'shower' by the firecrew of the airbase.
(courtesy of Danny Carels)
|The traditional 'shower'|
|'Franklin' staying alone, but dry in it's 'office'|
'Paul' and the Minister of Defense André Flahaut
(courtesy of Danny Carels)
And to quote Paul : "Farewell Fouga, we loved you and will never forget you !"
Do also check out the book written by Marc Arys and Serge Van Heertum
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