Belgian Air Force Airbus A310, the "Final Touchdown"

 

 

On Thursday November 18th, 2010, the last of the two Belgian Air Force Airbus A310 transport aircraft (CA-01 – cn MSN372) has accomplished its ultimate mission for the Belgian Defence from its home base at Melsbroek near Brussels. This very aircraft was ferried to Belgium (after having served with Singapore Airlines) on September 24th 1997 to be handed over officially to the Belgium authorities three days later and thus served some thirteen years with the Belgian Air Force

Upon arrival over Melsbroek slightly before 16h00, the aircraft made a saluting fly-by for a large number of 15th Transport Wing personnel, escorted by 4 Belgian Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16AM fighters. Arriving at its parking spot and as tradition wants it, the large machine was hosed down by two fire fighting truck from the Brussels Airport fire fighting department. Pilots for this last historical flight were Lt.Gen. Michel Singelé and Cdt. "Raf" Ploem.

Since entering service on September 27th, 1997 (CA-01) and on May 3rd, 1998 (CA-02), both A310s have clocked up a total of 19.942 flying hours in service of the Belgian Armed Forces, the Belgian Government, the Royal Family, but also in assistance to allied countries. Some 21 military pilots have flown the aircraft. During their careers both transport aircraft have been plagues with very much mediatised breakdowns which in the last years of service have completely disappeared.

Airbus CA-02 was the first to be withdrawn from service on 24 August 2009 and has been sold to the Brussels based company MAD Africa, which is also a potential buyer for the second aircraft. Both machines were replaced by a larger Airbus A330 which is leased by Defence from the Portuguese company Hi Fly.    

Belgian Air Force Airbus A310, the "Final Touchdown"
On its last flight, Airbus A310 CA-01 is joined by four F-16AMs. Talking about an escort... this can count.

Belgian Air Force Airbus A310, the "Final Touchdown"

Arriving over Melsbroek airbase Airbus A310 CA-01 escorted by 4 Lockheed Martin F-16AM fighters of the Belgian Air Force. 

Belgian Air Force Airbus A310, the "Final Touchdown"

The "Final Touchdown"

Belgian Air Force Airbus A310, the "Final Touchdown"

As tradition wants it, CA-01 is "hosed down" by two fire fighting vehicles of the Brussels Airport Fire Fighting Department. 

Belgian Air Force Airbus A310, the "Final Touchdown"

The names of the pilots of the last flight painted on the aircraft

Belgian Air Force Airbus A310, the "Final Touchdown"

The pilots of the last flight Cdt. "Raf" Ploem (l.) and Lt.Gen. Michel Singelé (r.)

Belgian Air Force Airbus A310, the "Final Touchdown"

CA-01's complete crew

 

 

 

Belgian Air Force Airbus A310, the "Final Touchdown"

 

 

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 © Daniel Brackx  (November 2010)

 

 

See also the report on the SBAP website & a video by: Fillip Wouters

 

Last updated 23/11/10 07:21   Daniel Brackx

brackda@gmail.com