Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Serge Van Heertum, Philippe Verhasselt, Filip Wouters, Jef Pets, Belgian Defense-Malek Azoug
Translation: Marc Arys  İsbap 2020
We can say that we were looking forward to this one... What is it? Well, the second A400M "Atlas" destined to operate from the Melsbroek military base. But why so much impatience, when we already had marked the arrival of the first aircraft, the CT-01 alias MSN 104 on October 9th, 2020, with a white stone.
Of course this was an important event, but the CT-01 wears the markings of the Luxembourg Armed Forces and is indeed part of the 20th Squadron, which has become bi-national under the purchase contract in partnership with our Grand Duchy's neighbours.
In fact, it has taking a long time for everyone to be able to welcome the CT-02, alias MSN 106, because this one is the first one to proudly wear the black, yellow and red colours of the Kingdom of Belgium and the "Belgian Air Force" markings... National pride is still present whatever one may say.
So the arrival of CT-02 was announced on December 22nd, a superb Christmas present for the 15th Transport and Communication Wing.
But unfortunately, despite requests in due form, no member of the specialized aviation press was given the green light to attend the arrival live in Melsbroek. None? Well, not so sure, and the reason given was of course the health measures and social distancing due to Covid-19 (which has a good "back" on some occasions...). It's not really understandable that for such an event, they could not manage some twenty people on the apron (outside moreover) where it is possible to put, side by side, some C-130H, A400M, Falcon and Embraers.
What's more, only the Minister of Defence as it should be, a few national television channels and a handful of "spotters" picked up by means of a sort of "lottery" on Facebook, were able to immortalize the event from the military base itself. Were is the mistake?
The specialized aviation journalists (holders of a freelance press card, let's mentioned it) were forced to make their way around the airport to capture the historic arrival of the giant and this was the same for the departures and retirements of the Embraer and the A321. But these will be the subject of another page.
Despite the incomprehension of the specialized press, these made against bad luck good heart and were present in the right places thanks to the help and support of some members of the 15th Wing, who didn't hesitate to communicate useful information such as the timing and runways foreseen in the flight plan. Thanks to them for helping to save the report.
So here we are on December 22nd, the weather is gloomy, it is cold and the fear of a downpour at the fateful moment is very present.
The plane, CT-02, took off from the Airbus facilities in Sevilla a few minutes late, at 11.15 local time (Plan was 11.00 local), and all eyes were on the radar applications to follow flight BAF636. After more or less 2 hours and 25 minutes of flight, the silhouette of the star of the day appeared in the distance. The "all clean" pass over 25R to greet the 15th Wing was beautiful (even from a distance...) and ended with a tactical break in "fighter aircraft mode" to line up on runway 25L and make a soft landing in front of a crowd of enthusiasts. This really amazing "kiss landing" for such a big airplane ended with a taxi to Melsbroek airbase where the airport firemen were waiting for it for the traditional watering and the few guests present on the tarmac.
As you will see, your SBAP online magazine was able to report on the arrival of CT-02, thanks to the information received and pictures shared. That all the protagonists of this success are to be thanked here through these few lines.
The future of the 15th Wing and more particularly of the 20th squadron is on the move, the subject on the 21st squadron is another story that will be the reported on a next page.
Welcome " Atlas ", farewell " Hercules " !

Our other A400M "Atlas" pages are still reachable... Have a look!

Do you want to visit the assembly line? Click on picture Remember the CT-01 arrival and click on the picture
BAF636 is in the air !  (ADSB Exchange)
A first high speed pass on RWY 25R (Jef Petsİ)
Salute to the Brussels Airport control tower (Serge Van Heertumİ)
High turn break above the military apron (Philip Verhasseltİ)
Impressive break (Serge Van Heertumİ)
Vortex generation (Courtesy Filip Woutersİ via Philippe Verhasselt)
Both flexible and massive (Serge Van Heertumİ)
Break ongoig to join RWY25L (Serge Van Heertumİ)
Last turn before landing (Serge Van Heertumİ)
Other side view of the "Beast" at landing (Jef Petsİ)
Short final (Serge Van Heertumİ)
The right side of Giant "Atlas" (Jef Petsİ)
Incredible machine (Serge Van Heertumİ)
First touch on the homebase runway (Serge Van Heertumİ)
Kiss landing (Serge Van Heertumİ)
The future of the Belgian military transport (Serge Van Heertumİ)
Welcome home "Atlas" (Serge Van Heertumİ)
View on the impressive slats (Serge Van Heertumİ)
On taxi to join the military apron of Melsbroek (Serge Van Heertumİ)
The typical Brussels Airport building (Serge Van Heertumİ)
No comments needed, simply an historical symbol (Courtesy Filip Woutersİ via Philippe Verhasselt)
Arrival at the Melsbroek Airbase apron (Philip Verhasseltİ)
Tradition is respected (Courtesy Filip Woutersİ via Philippe Verhasselt)
The Giant "Atlas" dares to get wet (Philip Verhasseltİ)
Little bit wet... (Courtesy Filip Woutersİ via Philippe Verhasselt)
"Hercules" and "Atlas", two mighty airplanes together (Philip Verhasseltİ)
Proud to be the first Marshaller (Belgian Defense / Malek Azougİ)
The MSN 106 has finally arrived (Philip Verhasseltİ)
Engines shut down (Philip Verhasseltİ)
The MOD is going to visit the giant (Philip Verhasseltİ)
The present will soon be the past, while the present portends the future (Philip Verhasseltİ)
Mrs Ludivine Dedonder, Belgian Minister of Defence, at the controls (Belgian Defense / Malek Azougİ)
The new era has clearly started now... (Philip Verhasseltİ)

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