|Open School at Campus Saffraanberg|
Campus Saffraanberg attracted over 5,100 visitors during its Open School Day on 9 March 2008. The now completely renovated school complex underwent a drastic facelift during the past two years. Some existing buildings were restored in their past glory, others were completely demolished and replaced by modern new ones or by spacious lawns. Around 600 pupils are at present studying at Campus Saffraanberg.
The new campus not only houses the installations of the former Royal Technical School, but also those of the Royal School for Non-Commissioned Officers, the Basic Skills School and the Preparatory Division of the Royal Military Academy. The Royal School for Non-Commissioned Officers replaces the former schools of Dinant and Zedelgem and provides academic and practical education for technical as well as for non-technical NCOs. The Basic Skills Schools imparts basic military skills not only to the pupils studying at the campus itself, but also to special recruitment officers, who studied in civilian schools and become acquainted with military life here. The Preparatory Division of the Royal Military Academy, for many years located at Lier and later at Laken, moved to Saffraanberg on 17 August 2006. It prepares young pupils during one academic year to successfully pass trough the first years of the Royal Military Academy.
This year, the large hangar with the instructional airframes was not accessible to the public for the first time in maybe 30 years. A number of aircraft, however, were displayed outside in front of the hangar: Lockheed-Martin Fighting Falcons FA-03 and FB-03, carrying respectively the badges of the Royal Technical School and the Operational Conversion Unit of the 10th Tactical Wing, Dassault Mirage VBA BA-17 with the badge of No. 8 Squadron and Lockheed F-104G Starfighter FX-39 with No. 1 Wing markings.
SIAI Marchetti SF.260M ST-09 was displayed in front of the new building of the Training Centre Air. Although ST-09 was written of following a hard landing at Beauvechain airbase on 7 May 1997, the teachers and pupils of the Training Centre Air repaired it with parts of SF.260M ST-15 and ST-30. It now looks like a brand-new aircraft of No. 5 Squadron.
Agusta A.109BA Hirundo H19 was written off after taxiing into a pile of pallets at during a exercise at Bertrix reserve airbase on 23 May 2000. Student sheet metal workers of the Training Centre Air now use the empty fuselage to learn how to repair or replace damaged panels.
Another item being repainted by the pupils of the paint shop is the F-104G link trainer formerly known as FS-02.
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© Jos Schoofs (March 2008)
Last updated 11/03/08 16:30 Daniel Brackx