Silently withdrawn from use at the end of 2004, after 30 years of faithful service with the Light Aviation unit of the then  Belgian Army, some seven Britten Norman BN2A-21 Islanders are now offered for sale by tender (see details in the BAHA News report here). Reason enough to send a BAHA team on the spot at Brasschaat airbase to take a maximum of pictures of the last remaining (ex-Army) fixed wing aircraft.  As the call for tender is to be concluded by March 2006 and removal of the aircraft foreseen within ten day after that, it is really the last opportunity to see this attractive aircraft in their Belgian military guise. Five aircraft are stored inside the huge maintenance hangar and are in really great shape although according to the Brasschaat airbase maintenance chief Cdt. Luc Capart, none are in flying condition. Two more aircraft which had been withdrawn from use earlier due to an accident on 14/02/2003 (B-03) or having reached the end of its military potential in flying hours (B-07) are in open storage near the hangar. On top of that a fully workable three axis moving flight simulator ACEC 301-BN-2 also forms part of the potential deal. Enjoy the pictures...

Overview of the maintenance hangar at Brasschaat where five of the seven Britten Norman Islanders are on show for potential customers.

Weather radar equipped  B-04 still looking very much operational although none of the Islanders offered for sale is actually in flying condition.

The front office of Islander B-08 is very complete and operational.

The two Islanders stored outside. B-03 still clearly shows the result of a landing mishap at Brasschaat on 14 February 2003.

The rarely seen fully three axis moving flight simulator built by the Belgian ACEC company.


Next in line for retirement is the oldest Belgian military aircraft (together with the Fouga Magister) in service; the Alouette II helicopter. Some 14 are still in regular operational use, equally divided between the bases at Brasschaat and Bierset. Although these light helicopters have now reached their 46th year of operational service (image you would be driving a car bought in 1960 !!!) they still look as freshly coming off the assembly line. Understandably not all that much of the original airframe (hard to use word for an Alouette II) remains. During our visit at Brasschaat, a student pilot was still exercise auto-rotation landing with an Alouette II.

Alouette II A-55, A65 and A64 lined up in the maintenance hangar at Brasschaat.

Alouette II A-53 practicing some very low flying.


Daniel Brackx & Vincent Pirard (February 2006)

The authors would like to thank Cdt. Thierry Wiame/DELCOM-AIR and Cdt Luc Capart

Last updated 17/12/11 11:37   Daniel Brackx