Belgian Helidays 2007

 

Notwithstanding gales of wind-force 5, scattered sharp showers and rain alternated with numerous sunny spells, an estimated 32,000 people visited the 8th edition of the Belgian Helidays, which were held at Bierset Air Base during the weekend of 12 and 13 May 2007. One hundred and twenty local, national and international press teams covered the event, the largest of its type on mainland Europe. Around 120 spotters enjoyed a special four-day programme including arrivals and departures days. Apart from the Alouettes and Hirundos of the Wing Heli, over 40 military and nearly 30 civil helicopters and fixed wing aircraft participated in the event.

 After a brief interruption in 2006 because of operational commitments abroad, the Wing Heli resumed the organisation of the annual Belgian Helidays  this year. Although a last minute change of dates from early June to early May because of the coming federal elections in Belgium on June 10th resulted in a number of annulations of earlier confirmed participations, almost 100 helicopters and aircraft of 14 countries attended the event at Bierset Air Base.

 A photographic survey with some of the major highlights:

  

A view on Liège Airport (back) and Bierset Air Base (front) with a part of the static show of the Belgian Helidays 2007.

 

 

 

 Among the larger exhibits in the static park were Aerospatiale SA.321G Super Frelon 148 of the French Aéronavale and Sikorsky MH-53M Pave Low 69-5784 of the 21st Special Operations Squadron of the USAF. Skytech’s Mil Mi-26 RA-06021 was part of the static show of the Belgian Helidays for the 3rd time. Although delivery of the helicopter to the Democratic Republic of Congo was imminent after the previous edition of the Helidays in 2005, the transfer now seems to have come to a dead end. It was confirmed by Skytech that the helicopter has been sold to the Congo and has been allotted an African registration two years ago, but its delivery has been postponed several times. Notwithstanding the fact that Skytech has continued minor maintenance and regularly started up the machine’s engines to keep it airworthy, its general condition is degrading slowly but surely. Especially the severe corrosion of the main rotor blades gives the Mi-26 a worn look. The Belgian Civil Aviation Authority has granted Skytech a one flight permission to transfer the Halo to Congo by air, but such a request has not yet been emitted by the Congolese owner. If such a flight should take place, the helicopter will be provided with new rotor blades, already acquired for this purpose two years ago. Also according to Skytech, four Mi-26s are at present in the DRC.

 

 The highlight of the Belgian Helidays 2007 was without doubt the Spanish Patrulla Aspa (The Rotors) with its five Eurocopter EC.120B Colibri helicopters, locally known as the HE-25. This Spanish Air Force team displayed for the first time on May 16th 2004 on the occasion of the Festival Aéro at Sevilla. In 2005, Patrulla Aspa made its first appearances abroad, in Portugal and France. The newly developed 2007 display programme was shown for the first time to a foreign public at Bierset Air Base, around ten hours flying time from the Spanish Air Force Helicopter School in Armilla, the team’s home base.

 

 Eurocopter EC.135T1 82+62 of Heeresfliegerwaffenschule / Lehrgruppe A based at Bückeburg, Germany

The presence of a pair of Aerospatiale SA.341F Gazelle of the Ecole d’Application de l’Aviation Légère de l’Armée de Terre (EAALAT) symbolised the close collaboration between the French and Belgian armed forces for helicopter training. At present, two Belgian instructor pilots and three student pilots as well as some technical and support personnel are at Dax, France, in the framework of this Franco-Belgian cooperation programme.

 

 

 The Belgian Air Component was also present at the Helidays with several fixed wing aircraft, such as Fouga CM.170R Magister MT-35 and SIAI Marchetti SF.260M+ ST-26+. The latter is one of the first aircraft with modernised navigation and engine control avionics, while the former is one of the last airworthy Magisters.

 

 PARTICIPANTS BELGIAN HELIDAYS 2007

MILITARY      
Belgium A16 Auster gate guard Gate guard
  A34 Sud Aviation SA.313B Alouette II Gate guard
  B11 Fairey Britten-Norman BN.2A-21 Islander Gate guard
  H16 Agusta A.109BA Hirundo Travelling exhibit Wing Heli
  A53,55,57,68,78,79 Sud Aviation SA.318C Alouette II Wing Heli
  H04+,07+ Agusta A.109BA Hirundo Wing Heli Medevac
  H01,02,26,27,28,29 Agusta A.109BA Hirundo Wing Heli
  H30,33,36,39,42,43 Agusta A.109BA Hirundo Wing Heli
  CE-04 Embraer ERJ.145 21 Squadron / 15 Wing
  FA-136 Lockheed Martin F-16AM 2 Wing
  MT-35 Fouga CM.170R Magister 1 Wing
  PL-78 Grob G.102 Astir CS Jeans Luchtkadetten
  RS-05 Westland Sea King Mk.48 40 Squadron
  ST-26 SIAI Marchetti SF-260M+ 5 Squadron / 1 Wing
  274 IAI B-Hunter 80 Squadron UAV
  G-15 MD Helicopters MD.520N Federale Politie
Czech Republic 7356 Mi-24V 231. Attack Helicopter Squadron
Denmark P-320 Aerospatiale AS.550C2 Fennec 724 Squadron
  P-369 Aerospatiale AS.550C2 Fennec 724 Squadron
Eire 214 Aeropatiale SA.316B Alouette III 302 Squadron / 3 Wing
  275 Agusta-Westland AW.139 303 Squadron / 3 Wing
France 5412, 88/VI Eurocopter AS.555AN Fennec Escadron d'Hélicoptères 03.067 / Armée de l'Air
  148 Aerospatiale SA.321G Super Frelon 32 Flotille / Aéronavale
  1175 - BDA Aerospatiale SA.341F Gazelle Ecole d'Application de l'ALAT
  1388 - BDK Aerospatiale SA.341F Gazelle Ecole d'Application de l'ALAT
Germany 70+81 Dornier UH-1D Iroquois Lufttransportgeschwader 63 / Luftwaffe
  73+43 Dornier UH-1D Iroquois Leichtes Transporthubschrauberregiment 30 / Heer
  82+62 Eurocopter EC.135T1 Heeresfliegerwaffenschule / Lehrgruppe A
  86+29 MBB Bo.105P Heeresfliegerversuchsstaffel 910
Hungary 707 Mi-17P 86 "Szolnok" Helicopter Regiment / Transport Helicopter Battalion
  336 Mi-24P 87 "Szolnok" Helicopter Regiment / Attack Helicopter Battalion
Italy 72-14 / MM.81277 Breda Nardi Hughes NH.500E 72° Stormo / 208° Gruppo
  72-44 / MM.81307 Breda Nardi Hughes NH.500E 72° Stormo / 208° Gruppo
Netherlands Q-08 McDonnell Douglas AH-64DN Apache 301 Squadron / Koninklijke Luchtmacht
  S-447 Eurocopter AS.532U2 Cougar 300 Squadron / Koninlijke Luchtmacht
  266 Westland SH-14D Lynx Groep Maritieme Helikopters / Koninklijke Marine
Slovenia H2-31 Bell 412 15 Helicopter Battalion
  H3-74 Eurocopter AS.532AL Cougar 15 Helicopter Battalion
Spain 78-22 / HE.25-3 /1150 Eurocopter EC.120B Colibri Patrulla Aspa - Ala 78 / Escuadrón 782
  78-25 / HE.25-6 /1175 Eurocopter EC.120B Colibri Patrulla Aspa - Ala 78 / Escuadrón 782
  78-28 / HE.25-9 /1198 Eurocopter EC.120B Colibri Patrulla Aspa - Ala 78 / Escuadrón 782
  78-31 / HE.25-12 /1222 Eurocopter EC.120B Colibri Patrulla Aspa - Ala 78 / Escuadrón 782
  78-32 / HE.25-13 /1223 Eurocopter EC.120B Colibri Patrulla Aspa - Ala 78 / Escuadrón 782
  78-34 / HE.25-15 /1232 Eurocopter EC.120B Colibri Patrulla Aspa - Ala 78 / Escuadrón 782
Switzerland T-339 Eurocopter AS.332M-1 Super Puma Lufttransportgeschwader 3 / Lufttransportstaffel 4
United Kingdom ZJ239 Bell 412EP Griffin HT.1 Defence Helicopter Flying School / 60 (R) Squadron
  XZ206 Westland Lynx AH.7 671 Squadron / 3 Regiment Army Air Corps
  XR379 Aerospatiale Alouette II AH.2 Army Air Corps Historic Flight
  ZA712 / AT Boeing-Vertol Chinook HC.2 27 Squadron
  ZB323 Agusta A.109E Power 32 (The Royal) Squadron
USA 69-5784 Sikorsky MH-53M Pave Low 21st Special Opeations Squadron / USAF
       
CIVIL      
  D-HJOE Eurocopter AS.350 Ecureuil DL Helicopter
  D-HOMI Robinson R44 Raven I Heli Trans Hamburg
  D-HRIK Eurocopter EC.120B Heli Trans Hamburg
  D-HUBY Robinson R44 Raven I Heli Trans Hamburg
  D-HUBZ Robinson R22 Beta II Heli Trans Hamburg
  D-HVBI Eurocopter EC.135 Bundespolizei
  F-BDXM Morane-Saulnier MS.506L Amicale des Avions Anciens d'Albert
  G-CBSS Yakovlev Yak-52 Yakkes Foundation
  OO-EYP Eurocopter EC.120B Colibri Crown Helicopters
  OO-FBR Bell 47J-2 Ranger Bussé Helicopters
  OO-HBI Reims-Cessna F.150L Belgian Defence Aeroclub
  OO-HBQ / OL-L56 Piper L-18C Belgian Defence Aeroclub
  OO-HBU Reims-Cessna F.172N Skyhawk II Belgian Defence Aeroclub
  OO-HPS Robinson R22 Beta II Partner in Sky Cie
  OO-IAK Yak-18 Jean-Michel Legrand
  OO-JYD Robinson R22 Beta II Partner in Sky Cie
  OO-MMM Fairey Britten-Norman BN.2A-21 Islander BMM / Federal Public Planning Service Science Policy
  OO-PTR Robinson R44 Raven II Partner in Sky Cie
  OO-SAR Robinson R44 Raven II Partner in Sky Cie
  OO-SWT Robinson R44 Raven II Partner in Sky Cie
  OO-TAR British Aerospace BAe-146-200QT TNT
  OO-TWA Piper PA28-180E Cherokee Belgian Defence Aeroclub
  PH-HHK Bell Helicopter Textron 206L1 Longranger II Heli-Holland Holding BV
  PH-SHL Agusta AB.139 CHC Helicopters Netherlands
  RA-06021 Mil Mi-26 Skytech S.A.
  RA-1453K Yakovlev Yak-52 Yakkes Foundation
  G-BVMU Yakovlev Yak-52 ex Yugoslav AF YR-013, current owner ?

* * *

 Mi-24P "336" of the 87 "Szolnok" Helicopter Regiment / Attack Helicopter Battalion based at Szolnok, Hungary

Jos Schoofs  (May 2007)

with additional pics by Daniel Brackx 

Last updated 16/03/12 07:22   Daniel Brackx

brackda@gmail.com