Text & Pictures: Serge Van Heertum - Translations: Marc Arys  ęsbap 2021
   

This page is the logical continuation of the article we published when the CH-13 was withdrawn from the 15th Wing fleet and its last flight to Beauvechain airbase (EBBE), the ultimate destination for this aircraft. Under the auspices of the War Heritage Institute, the aircraft finally found its way into the inventory of the 1st Wing Historical Center in order to be preserved and, above all, to offer the public access to this mythical machine that marked some of the great pages in the history of our Air Force.

 
 Do not hesitate to see or review our article on his last flight and his story, a little "click" is enough!
  
  
The CH-13 was at the center of a controversy (which is still rumbling on social networks), should it be kept as a gate guardian at Melsbroek (EBMB) in memory of the men and women who took care of the C-130H fleet or should it be integrated into a historical heritage and made accessible to taxpayers so that they can admire it up close?
We will not go back over the final choice, the aim of this page not being to add fuel to the fire, but simply to show its future within the Belgian historical and aeronautical heritage.
After two months of intensive work by the volunteers in the museum, the CH-13 could be made accessible for the summer holidays, as was originally planned, and also to inaugurate this accessibility in the presence of Mrs Ludivine Dedonder, Minister of Defence.
This was done on July 1st, 2021, under a grey and overcast sky, unfortunately, but above all in a friendly atmosphere.
The Minister was welcomed at the entrance of the museum main building by the director of the WHI, Mr Michel Jaupart, the curator of the 1st Wing Museum, Mr Guy Van Eeckhoudt, and the military authorities of the base. A short stroll through the museum's aisles followed, allowing us to admire other flying machines with their black, yellow and red roundels before joining "Hercules" alias CH-13 proudly awaiting its first visitors.
The small ceremony began with the appropriate speeches, first of all by Mr Michal Jaupart of the WHI emphasizing on the success of this collaboration between the WHI and the Beauvechain airbase museum which took the project in hand. Then it was the speech of Mrs Ludivine Dedonder MOD, who underlined this beautiful achievement allowing to open this mythical plane to the citizens and which now sits together with other icons of the aviation in Belgium such as F-104, Mirage, F-16, Alpha Jet and other Mig.
The Minister visited then the newcomer and raised the glass of friendship as a festive conclusion to this event.
We would like to thank the War Heritage Institute, the Beauvechain airbase museum and especially Mr Guy Van Eeckhoudt for the kind invitation to the event, concluding our previous report and the life of CH-13 in a positive way.
 
While waiting for the arrival of Mrs Dedonder Minister of Defense, the opportunity to take some pictures despite the weather was too tempting to immortalize the mythical fighter aircraft which equipped Beauvechain airbase in the golden 60's and 70's, I named the Lockheed F-104G Starfighther
Not to be forgotten, 2021 is the year of the 75th anniversary of the Belgian Air Force
75 years that can be summed up by two machines, the Spitfire and the Fighting Falcon
Two pictures to remind us that Belgium was enrolled in the Cold War opposing east and west
The opponents from yesterday, the Starfighter and the Fishbed
Withdrawn from active service like a plague, the Alpha Jet 1B. Fortunately, the Beauvechain museum was able to preserve one, the AT-32. 
Pinching the heart here ... they had the good idea to keep the one on which your servant could fly!
Arrival of the Ministerial escort Minister of Defense welcomed at the Museum
Short walk to the giant's home
"Hercules" awaiting the first visitor as the representative of a Belgian Air Force historical page
Speech by Mr. Michel Jaupart Director of the War Heritage Institute (WHI) Speech by Mrs Ludivine Dedonder Minister of Defense
The first visitors get on board A new Captain?
The cargo bay is fitted out to show the visitors the various possibilities of cargo hold and dropping possibilities Some more information given by the museum trustee Mr Guy Van Eeckhoudt
Face to face with the media A look at the information boards
Gigantic banners to explain the life and missions of the Belgian "Hercules"
A smile in the company of our national colours The museum trustee Mr Guy Van Eeckhoudt at the microphone
A nice little photo break with the young volunteers of the Museum Still a few visitors under the eye of the camera
No this is not a photo taken in Africa during his career, 
but the environment puts it in the context of his operational life
Lucky number...
wish him a long and happy retirement
"Hercules" will be open to the public from July 11th, 2021
 
Do you want to pay a little visit to him and the other residents ? Just a little click on the picture!
 

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