On Saturday, September 2nd we had the opportunity to visit the air show at Beauvechain Air Base in Belgium. Stationed are the SF-260's and CM-170 Fouga Magisters. It was the last time they were operational during a Belgian Air Show. After many years this type of aircraft will be withdrawn from service.
There were actually three main static lines/places. The first corner had some former Belgian Air Force aircraft, like the Hunter, F-104G and Mirage 5BR and the latest aircraft like the F-16AM, SF-260 and Alpha Jet. The second were some Alpha Jets, A-109 and a French Xingu in dark grey camo. These aircraft were to close to the fences and when the position of the sun was good, it was very busy with people who like a photograph of one of their relatives before an aircraft. The largest line was near the runway with 3 separate parts with some very nice aircraft like 2 173 Filo 7 AJU F-4E's (no squadron markings), F-16D Hellenic Air Force (in stead of the promised T-2 Buckeye!), Romanian MiG-21 Lancer C from Baza 71, 2 F-16's from the Portuguese Air Force and also two TB-30 Epsilons from Esq. 101. A lot of trainers were invited, like the Dutch and Austrian PC-7, Irish PC-9 and two TB-30 Epsilons.
The weather was one big question mark this weekend but we were lucky; we could photograph all the aircraft with sun, sometimes you had to wait some 'minutes'.
Besides the static, there was also an airshow. Highlight was the Belgian 'AirPower' demo with 2 F-16's from 2 Wing/Florennes AB, 2 C-130H's from Melsbroek and some A-109's from the Army Component. We were standing in the middle and it was nice so see this AirPower demo from this site.
Lt Col Paul Rorive did the Fouga Solo Display. This is his fifth season in row and he has more than 6.500 flying hours. The F-16 demo was flown by Michaël "Mickey"Artiges. Mickey is flying the F-16 for about ten years now totalizing 2.100 flying hours of which 1.650 on the F-16. It is his first season as F-16 display pilot. Mickey flies with the 2 Wing at Florennes AB, in the southern part of Belgium. The Dutch demo F-16AM cancelled his demo and returned to Volkel because the deadly incident on August 31st in Afghanistan. The pilot, who was stationed at Volkel AB, was killed.
The local museum could also be visited during the airshow, with some nice planes. A 'new' preserved F-16A was seen (FA-18) ex. Storage Weelde AB. This plane will be preserved near the gate, at least that are the plans for now. The museum has also another F-16A; de FA-113
Also noted were some wrecks from FA-94 and FA-122 (with tiger tail) both F-16AM's crashed on December 9th 2003. MT-36, CM-170, ex. 7 Sm (special anniversary markings '40 years') and G-03, Ce-182R, ex. Gendarmerie .
After all, the Belgian Armed Forces had organised a good Open House. We like to thank Public Affairs from Bevekom AB for the good organisation and particularly Peter Dewael, Adjudant-chef Comopsair.