|Open Schools Day 2006|
For youngsters in search of a fascinating branch of study, the places to be on Sunday 26 March 2006 were the Royal Technical School in Saffraanberg and the Royal Military Academy in Brussels. At the Technical School non-commissioned officers are trained as technicians, while the Military Academy is a breeding ground for officers, managers and engineers.
As aviation related subjects are taught at both schools, their students have numerous instructional airframes and aircraft models at their disposal for study or research purposes. You can find here traces of the past and signs of the future of our military aviation.
Royal Technical School
The Royal Technical School received two new instructional airframes recently. Aérospatiale SA.318C Alouette II A80 was withdrawn from use in 2004 and transferred to the “Wevelsmoer” barracks in Zutendaal for storage on 30 March 2004. It arrived in Saffraanberg late last year. Its instructional purposes, however, are not very clear as an empty cockpit and a pair of skids is all what remains of this helicopter.
Even more puzzling is the other new arrival, SA.318C Alouette II A53/A72. If you have a look at the article on the “Islanders for sale” elsewhere on this website, you can see with your own eyes that only a few days ago A53 was still flying like a bird. So what about the A53 in the technical school? On the starboard side, the helicopter carries serial number A53. On the port side, however, serial number A53 has been covered up provisionally with serial number A72 in paper adhesive tape. The inside of the cockpit only adds to this puzzling situation: serial number A53 appears on the radio call sign plate in the middle of the instrument panel, while A72 figures on the construction number plate at the bottom of the instrument panel. After SIAI Marchetti SF.260M ST-09/15/30, this is the second “Frankenstein” airframe at the Royal Technical School.
Royal Military Academy
The Royal Military Academy is the only Belgian military university. Like other institutes of this kind, it is a centre of excellence and research into new materials, techniques and equipment. The last decade has seen a big leap forward in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The first of these UAVs were mainly aircraft of the same size and configuration as traditional reconnaissance or attack aircraft. The newest trend, however, is miniaturization, also in the field of the UAV. The staff and students of the RMA too participate in the research into this new trend and are developing and testing different types of hand-launched mini-UAVs. The strange shapes of future military aviation are being developed here…
Text and pictures by
© Jos Schoofs (March 2006)
Last updated 11/03/08 15:34 Daniel Brackx