21st of July 2010 Air Parade

Alpha Jets tricolore smoke over Brussels

Black, yellow and red smoke over Brussels - the air parade has started, precisely at 16h16 local time.

   As tradition wants it, the Belgian National Day on the 21st of July is celebrated with a military parade on the ground and in the air. This year again all major types of aircraft operated by the Belgian Air Component were presented in a major Air Parade. Since many years now, 6 Alpha Jets (normally based at the French Cazaux airbase, but deployed for the occasion at Beauvechain) opened the show trailing the national colours black, yellow and red over the capitol Brussels. Next in line were two formations of 8 Lockheed Martin F-16AM fighters from Kleine Brogel and Florennes airbases followed by two formations of 4 high visibility yellow Siai Marchetti trainers. To slow down things somewhat all major helicopter types were presented such as six Agusta A109BA's (still based at Bierset, but as of next September to move to Beauvechain) the life saving Sea King from Koksijde and the vintage Alouette III. The parade was closed with the "heavies" of the 15th Transport Wing of Melsbroek presenting three Lockheed C-1030H Hercules, the omni present workhorse, two Embraer ERJ 135/145 light transports and for the first time the largest aircraft ever owned by the Belgian Air Force, the Airbus A330. 

Lockheed Martin F-16AM FS

Two Lockheed-Martin F-16AM Fighters of Florennes during the parade practice flight on July 16th, 2010

 The occasional viewer will surely not be aware of the complexity of such massive fly-by over the capital.  Weeks in advance plans and timings are studied and at least two rehearsals are organised to check if all works out as a tight-nit parade

. Alpha Jets over Brussels' Landmarks

Brussels' landmarks in sight for the Alpha Jets, the Atomium and the Koekelberg Basilica

The aircraft involved take off from their respective airbases all over Belgium in function of their individual TOT (time over target). All aircraft rendezvous in a long cue starting in the vicinity of Ursel aerodrome (to the West of Gent) for the run in over Brussels (except for the helicopters which due to their slow speed of 60 kts are met much closer to the capital). Near Aalst some spare aircraft separate from the main formation stream and head south. Still closer to Brussels the slower machines such as the Marchetti's flying at a speed of 140 kts are overtaken by the fast movers, Alpha Jets and F-16's flying at 300 kts and all peaces fall together at the exact spit second over the Royal Palace. On the ground spectators get the impression that all aircraft follow one behind the other in one line. However all major formations fly at slightly different heights and even headings. The helicopters are flying lowest (600 ft) and nearest to the Royal Palace and the Royal family members. The Alpha Jets (altitude 900 ft), F16's (1000 and 1100 ft) and Marchetti's (600ft) are over the centre line of the Warande Park, while the heavies fly highest (1200 ft at 210 kts) and closer to the Parliament on the other side of the Park. This allows a better view on all the aircraft from the ground and at the same time greatly enhances in flight security.


Lockheed C-130H formation

Two of the three Hercules transports lining up.

Hercy over Brussels

The heavies thunder over Brussels, Lockheed C-130H Hercules CH-05

Airbus A330

The largest of them all; the new Airbus A330 lining up at this unusual low altitude.

Crowded airspace

Crowded airspace east of Brussels: three Hercy's, two Embraers and a handful of Marchetti's

Marchetti's over Beauvechain

The Hardship Red team is leading a close formation of 10 Marchetti's over N° 5 Squadron's home base, Beauvechain

Marchetti Formation

Setf piloting Marcheti ST-18

Instructor Pilot (IP) "Stef" Braem is very concentrated during the large Marchetti formation flight

Alpha Jet AT21 landing at Beauvechain

BAHA contributor Jos Schoofs back on terra firma in Alpha Jet AT21

Hosed down after flight

A memorable Alpha Jet flight comes at a ... very wet ...  price. Pax being hosed down post flight.

  *  *  *

 © Daniel Brackx (July 2010)

additional pics by Jos Schoofs & Jef Pets




More on the Air Parade 2010 at:


Rob van Leeuwen's site




Last updated 28/07/10 08:15   Daniel Brackx