Text : Serge Van Heertum    and    Pictures :Serge Van Heertum & Luc Dujardin sbap 2011   

The national day of July 21 was marked by the traditional military parade and public festivities in the center of the Belgian capital, held in parallel with an extraordinary European economic summit and the national political crisis that seems a little bit to unlock after a quite firm royal speech.
Arrival of Italian prime minister S. Berlusconi French delegation at landing

Like every year, the parade includes the aerial part and this year,
strangely, all aeronautical specialized press journalist were invited to participate aboard the Airbus A330 of the Belgian defense.
Once the preparations completed, the take
off took place at 15:10. First right turn to avoid the overfly of Brussels, direction Heist op den Berg where for a good twenty minutes we made holding until the other aircraft of the 15th Wing rejoin us. Heading towards
middelburg and join-up with C-130H and Embraer.
After overcoming the Alpha Jet and F-16
around Gent area, turn left to Aalst, usual point used to align all the planes for the pass over Brussels.
During the approach of the target of the mission, the royal palace, we were able to see a real rain wall. Brussels was effectively covered by a heavy rain as announced by the meteorologists, the traditional "national rain shower" was respected!
It is with a poor visibility that the Royal palace was overflown at 16:20, timing of the mission was fully respected.
After the pass over Brussels, we left the rainy area that had really concentrated on the capital, heading Beauvechain airbase and altitude recovery to integrate the landing pattern of Brussels National Airport. Landing runway 25L at 16:30 and taxi back to the military airport.
Mission accomplished for the crew. It was a
n amazing flight, it is rare to fly over Belgium on board an aircraft like the Airbus A330 at an altitude allowing to see the landscape so clearly and recognize some specific points of our geography.
SBAP team would like through these few lines to thank the Belgian Air Force authorities, the Comopsair IPR team for the organization and the very friendly crew of our flight.

Boarding the Airbus A330 The spacious cabin
The rest of 15th Wing fleet forseen for tha aerial parade, C-130H Hercules and the Embraer
Safety demonstration Holding point 25R
Lufthansa technics building and the two former Belgian Air Force A310 Cargo side of Brussels Airport : "Brucargo"
The gigantic parking of Renault Vilvoorde Right turn heading Heist op den Berg

Holding awaiting the others 15th Wing aircrafts

Some Belgian landscape
The camp of Breendonk A small part of the port of Antwerpen
The F-16's en route for the fly pass over the Royal Palace
Brussels under an heavy rain shower...
16:20, the target is held on time
The African museum of Tervuren Our trip indicated on the cabin screen
Leaving Brussels. We can see that the rain was concentrated on the capital
"Scifo" giving explanations about the join up Our National Day crew


Many thanks to the all crew for their kindness

See also some pictures of the Alpha Jet at Beauvechain on July 20th,
ready for the National Day by our friend Pierre Gillard :


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