Oostmalle Fly In : A good edition...but...        Embraer in Belgian service

Text &  Pictures: Serge Van Heertum - ©SBAP 2011 



10 years Embraer commemorative patch
 (SBAP Design)
  10 years of the 15th Wing Falcon-Embraer section
 (SBAP design)

In 1999 the Belgian Air Force authorities began a study for the replacement of the remaining Swearingen Metro III (5 a/c) and the Hawker Siddeley HS-748 (3 a/c). This two kinds of aircraft needed serious upgrading and the spare parts became more and more difficult to found. The study showed quickly that the best way was the ordering of new aircraft cheaper to use than the old type of aircraft. After an evaluation, of the different regional jet available on the market, the choice was made and the contract signed with the Brazilian company Embraer for the acquisition of four ERJ. The final order was made for two ERJ-135LR (37 seats) and two ERJ-145LR (50 seats). The first aircraft (ERJ-135 model CE01) was delivered on June 4th, 2001. Couple of days later, on June 11th, the official delivery ceremony was held at Melsbroek air Base in presence of Mister Mauricio Botelho, CEO of Embraer and General Michel Mandl, Chief of the Belgian Air Force.
Later on a further rationalisation of the fleet was also studied. The goal was the purchase of a fith Embraer to replace the two Dassault Falcon 20 aircraft, but this possibility was abandonned and the two Facon 20 were sended at Le Bourget Dassault service for a mid life update.

During the past 10 years the Embraer fleet did many different kind of missions like VIP transportation, support transport, photographic missions, medical repatriation and last, but not least humanitarian missions.

On September 16th, 2011 a ceremony was held at Melsbroek Air Base to underline the 10 years Embraer in discrete, but efficient service in the Belgian Air Force.

Belgian Air Force Embraer fleet
BAF number Type Construction number Embraer imatriculation Delivery date
CE01 ERJ-135LR c/n 145449 PT-SUU 04-06-2001
CE02 ERJ-135LR c/n 145480 PT-SVZ 20-08-2001
CE03 ERJ-145LR c/n 145526 PT-STR 13-12-2001
CE04 ERJ-145LR c/:n 145548 PT-SZL 21-01-2002
First official paint sheme drawing provided to the media at delivery ceremony
Technical Data
  ERJ-135LR (Long Range) ERJ-145LR (Long Range)  

Crew : 2 pilot & 1 flight attendant
Passengers : 37
Propulsion : 2 Allison / Rolls-Royce AE3007A1
Engine Power : 7419 lbf each
Speed 833 km/h 450 k
Max. Mach Mach 0.78
Service Ceiling : 37.000 ft
Range :  3.232 km (1.745 NM) 
Empty Weight :  11.115 kg
max. Takeoff Weight 19.000 kg
max. Landing Weight 18.500 kg
Wing Span : 20,04 m
Wing Area : 51,2 m˛ 
Length 26,33 m 
Height 6,71 m

Crew : 2 pilot & 1 flight attendant
Passengers :
Propulsion : 2 Allison / Rolls-Royce AE3007A1
Engine Power : 7419 lbf each
Speed 833 km/h 450 k
Max. Mach Mach 0.78
Service Ceiling : 37.000 ft
Range :  
2.871 km (1.550 NM) 
Empty Weight :  1
2.007 kg
max. Takeoff Weight
22.000 kg
max. Landing Weight 1
9.300 kg
Wing Span : 20,04 m
Wing Area : 51,2 m˛ 
Length 2
Height 6,71 m



10 years ago...June 11th, 2001
Major Avi Patrick jacobs
Commander Officer 21 Squadron
Colonel Avi André "Dédé" Muller
15th Wing Base Commander
Embraer CEO Mr Botelho and
General Avi Michel "Mich"  Mandl
 cutting the official ribbon
Push out of the CE01 With the Belgian Air Force band
Mister Botelho CEO of Embraer company and
General Michel Mandl inspecting the new aircraft
A mediatic event for the Belgian Air Force
The brand new Embraer ERJ-135LR (CE01) The first passenger flight with the belgian press on board
10 years in service
2002 - ERJ-145LR (CE03) in formation with a Fouga Magister near Beauvechain 2005 - ERJ-135LR (CE02) in formation during the National Day
2008 - the CE03 is wearing the 60 years of 15th Wing logo 2010 - during an F-16AM photographic flight (Eddy "Bink" Kellens)
2010 - The white tail is replaced by the blue logo of Belgian defence 2011 - Take off from Koksijde air Base
ERJ-135LR and ERJ-145LR together at Melsbroek Airbase tarmac


Total flight hours and cycles on August 29th, 2011

CE01 5523 Flight Hours 4106 Cycles
CE02 5335 Flight Hours 3836 Cycles
CE03 5676 Flight Hours 3605 Cycles
CE04 5686 Flight Hours 3488 Cycles


10 years of service ceremony, September 16th, 2011

In 2001, the first Embraer (CE01) arrives in Melsbroek, and appears clearly to be a good buy. First for the pilots who flew with the HS748 to 398 km per hour at 5,182 meters against 833 km per hour and 11,278 meters for the ERJ. A substantial difference that would change a flight from 8 hours into to 3 hours and thus avoiding unnecessary "nightstop". The multiple possible configurations such as VIP and medicalized makes this aircraft available for the different missions devoted to the 15th Wing.
Since June 2001, the ERJ has made no less than 5300 missions around the world (Kinshasa, Dushanbe, Cotonou,...) with, on board, many different kind of passengers.
The 15th Wing ERJ's customers are, among others, members of the royal household, government, NATO partners, soldiers of all ranks, 
and the woundedevacuated.

10 years later was held at Melsbroek Airbase a little, but well convivial ceremony to mark the anniversary of the first Embraer arrival. Organised by the technical section Embraer-Falcon, their hangar was transformed into a ceremony hall with the first Embraer CE01 as main guest.

After the arrival of all the guest of the day, and a well-appreciated welcome drink, it was time for the official speeches. First the base commander, Colonel Avi Bernard Masuy welcomes the assembly to this event. Afterward, Colonel Michel Ocula, who was 10 years ago responsible for the technical integration of the Embraer into the Belgian Air Force transport fleet, was talking about the 10 past years with emotion and great respect to a plane that has changed the transport vision of the Air Force. Self some anecdotes were shared with the assembly. One of the first Embraer pilot makes an overview of the great amelioration’s brought by this Brazilian aircraft and underlined the amazing differences with the previous Merlin IIIA and the HS748. Words were now given to the different representative of Embrear, Embraer service France, Allison/Rolls Royce company and Flight Safety (formation of the crew and flight simulator). All of them underlined the great and appreciable collaboration between their own company and the Belgian Defence. Some presents where also exchanged to between the company representative and the Belgian Air Force staff to make from this day a fairly remembrance. The all technical crew implication for ten years and also the wonderful organisation of the event was underlined by the chief of the technical section Cathy Wouters. The all technical crew was welcomed by warm applause, especially Pierre-Olivier Scheid and Jean-Pierre Claes the two coordinators of the event!

Then it was a very convivial dinner where everyone, both pilot and technician could tell many memories that marked their 10 years of service to the greatly appreciated transport aircraft. A little local ceremony, but organised with heart.
Happy birthday to the Embraer fleet, Happy birthday to the Embraer-Falcon section!

  The CE01 10 years later
Allisson / Rolls Royce engine on a doly Another one mounted
The pilot office, an ergonomic glass cockpit
The cabin... ...in VIP configuration
Colonel Avi Bernard Masui, 15th Wing base commander Colonel Michel Occula remembering 10 years of servicability
Some of the ceremony guests... are following with attention the different speeches
  Some presents to the VIP to underline 10 years of satisfaction
The all technical crew of the Embraer-Falcon section, the organisator of this ceremony
The big one... ...and the little one

A special beer (we are in Belgium) and the needed glass to taste them,
 created to comemorate this special event

Happy birthday Embraer, Happy birthday Falcon-Embraer section...good show ! (Marc Arys)


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