NEWS 2006/2


NEWS Archive


June 2006

30/06 -  Decision top dismiss Sabena receiver Christian Van Buggenhout overruled.

The Court of Cassation has annulated the Brussels' court of commerce decision of June 6th to dismiss lawyer Christian Van Buggenhout as Sabena receiver.  A conflict between the receiver and the judge-commissioner designated by the tribunal to follow the liquidation of the Sabena assets was at the origin of the decision. The Court of Cassation has now decided the Van Buggenhout's rights on defence were not respected. Source: De Standaard

30/06 -  Full SN Brussels Airlines/Virgin Express merger on track.

The planned full merger between SN Brussels Airlines and Virgin Express is still on track and is expected next fall. A new brand name is still not chosen but will clearly not be Sabena, a name which belongs to the receivers of the bankrupt airline. The new airline will offer two products, one for cost-sensitive passengers, the other one for passengers preferring a full service and flexibility.  Source: Luchtzak and La Libre.

29/06 -SNBA start new airline together with Cameroon authorities

Since some time the Cameroon government was looking for a partner to create a new airline as successor to the bankrupt Cameroon Airlines. According to some well informed sources SN Brussels Airlines has been selected to become this partner. The new airline will be owned for 49% by the Cameroon government and 51% by First Delta Air Services, a consortium created according to Cameroon legislation and composed of the Cameroon investment group Cenainvest (Central Africa Invest) and SNBA which is said to have a majority share in the consortium. Source: De Standaard

25/06 - Two helicopters collide on take off from Federal Police heli-strip at Antwerp

Two helicopters leased by television channels VTM and RTBF to provide live transmissions of the Belgian Cycling Championships crashed when the tailrotor of one aircraft collided with tail-rotor of the other on take off from the Federal Police heli strip in the Antwerp port area (d’Herbouvillekaai). Three occupants were injured, one of them seriously. Both helicopters involved Aerospatiale AS-355F-1 Ecureuil 2 OO-HSH (for filming) and Agusta AB-206B JetRanger II OO-SKE (relay station) were written off. Pictures of the crashed aircraft by Dirk A. Geerts:  1  -  2  -  3  -  4 

23/06 - Governmental green light for UAV deployment to the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Belgian Council of Ministers has approved the deployment of B-Hunter UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) to the Democratic Republic of Congo in the framework of the European operation to safeguard the upcoming elections. Minister of Defence, André Flahaut proposed a deployment of 49 men and 4 UAV's as part of the operation called UEFOR-RDCongo which under German command will involve a total of 2.000 men. The mission of the B-Hunter of N°80 Squadron of Elsenborn will consist in providing real-time surveillance video of Kinshasa and neighbourhood and the machines will be based at N'Dolo airport near Kinshasa. Men and equipment are expected at Kinshasa by 11 July.

22/06 -  NATO exercise "Steadfast Jaguar" at Cape Verde islands involving 450 Belgian soldiers

More than 7.000 men of the NATO alliance are taking part in a vast exercise at the Cape Verde islands during the last 14 days of June. Some 450 Belgian Defence personnel are involved as well as the minesweeper Crocus and three Agusta A.109BA (H-02 (Medevac), H-04 (Medevac) and H24). Click here for a picture of the Agusta's involved at San Vincente. More info on in NL and FR.

21/06 - New owner TAT Industries confirms 'Sabena Technics' name to remain

TAT Industries, since July 2005 new owner of Sabena Technics has confirmed that the Belgian brand name will be maintained for all the worldwide aircraft maintenance activities of the group.  TAT Industries which was specialised in the maintenance of smaller aircraft wants to become an international player on the medium to large aircraft maintenance market through the acquisition of Sabena Technics. Although the name 'Sabena Technics' remains the use of letter font and logo of TAT Industries will clearly indicate the link with the mother company. Source: De Standaard

20/06 - Three Belgian Defence Agusta helicopters operational over Bosnia for EUFOR.

Three Heli Wing Agusta A109BA helicopters forming part of the European stabilising operation "Althea" in Bosnia-Herzegovina have already accomplished some ten missions. Early June, the helicopters and their 47 men personnel have been deployed to Mostar (in the South of this former Yugoslavian Republic) from their Heli Wing base at Bierset near Liège. On 15 June the detachment was officially declared operational within the EUFOR (European Force). The Council of Ministers had approved this mission which was given the name "Blue Bee" on May 19th 2006 The Belgians are working in close cooperation with a Macedonian detachment of two Mil Mi-17 helicopters and their 17 men personnel. More info on in FR and NL.

19/06 - Air and Land Comps. conduct low level flying exercise 'Greenhill 2/06' over the Ardennes.
The Belgian Air and Land Components conduct a low level flying exercise over the Province of Luxembourg under code name 'Greenhill 2/06' between 19 and 23 June 2006. The purpose of this type of exercise is to train Air Component's F-16 pilots and Land Component's Forward Air Controllers (FAC) in working together. All the 'Greenhill 2/06" targets and Low Level Flying Areas (LLFA) are located between villages of Champlon - Hubermont – Lavacherie  Warempage  (North Area) and Bonnerie – Remagne – Saint Marie Chevigny - Blanchipont (South Area). Source on in FR and NL.
19/06 - Virgin Express adds up to 50.000 seats to 8 destinations for the summer season

The leading Belgian low fare airline Virgin Express has increased the number of available flights and seats to no less than 8 European destinations in July and August. In total, Virgin Express will offer 17 weekly flights to Athens, 23 weekly flights to Barcelona, 4 weekly services to Bari and Catania, daily services to Faro, 25 weekly flights to Malaga, 5 weekly flights to Napels and no less than 26 Virgin Express aircraft will land this summer every week in Nice. Virgin Express’ newest destination, Palermo, will welcome 4 direct services a week from Brussels. Source: Luchtzak

19/06 - Exercise "Cold Igloo" at Beauvechain airbase.

Between Monday 19 June and Thursday 23 June 2006 the Belgian Air Component is subject of a NATO evaluation exercise "Cold Igloo". This exercise is part of a certification requirement in order to be included in the NATO "High Readiness/Response Forces" HRF/NRF). The HRF/NRF are to be operational on the shortest possible notice at a deployment base. The use of F-16AM fighters is also foreseen in this exercise. Source: in NL and FR.

15/06 - Birmingham AP closed after emergency landing by TNT 737 coming from Liège/Bierset.

The runway at Birmingham International Airport has been temporarily closed after a Boeing 737-300 cargo plane of TNT Airways coming from Liege/Bierset (Belgium) made an emergency landing shortly after 6 a.m. The aircraft had been diverted to Birmingham while flying to Stansted Airport, due to technical problems with its undercarriage. Source: Luchtzak

15/06 - Renovation works planned at Brussels' Zaventem airport.

This summer BIAC and Belgocontrol will renovate part of the airport infrastructure. Work will be carried out on taxiways and runways, lighting and cabling, as well as its ILS landing system. The planned renovation and maintenance works are vital to the safety of air traffic and have to be carried out at regular intervals. Similar works were carried out in the summers of 1996, 1999, 2004 and 2005. Source & supplementary information on the BIAC website.

14/06 - Zaventem airport worth 1.5 billion Euro.

Macquarie Airports owner of the Brussels airport has estimated the end of 2005 value of its assets at Zaventem at 1.5 billion Euros. This is an increase of half a billion Euro since Macquare and some allied companies acquired 70% of BIAC, the airports’ managing company, in November 2004. Source: Macquarie Airports

09/06 - Maintenance contract for Alpha Jet System Trainer approved

The Council of Ministers has approved the conclusion of a contract with AMST Systemtechnik Gmbh for the maintenance of the Alpha Jet System Trainer of the Air Component. The purpose of the Alpha Jet System Trainer is to familiarise student-pilots with the new systems incorporated into the Alpha Jet Plus jet trainers. Source:

09/06 - Zaventem holiday season guided tours of the airport

During the summer holidays (July and August), Brussels' Zaventem Airport organizes Holiday Season Tours, for which you can subscribe individually or with a couple of friends and relatives (maximum 15 people). These tours take three hours. So far, they exist only in French or Dutch. You can book online:  FR or NL.

08/06 - Defence launches tender to acquire Personal Locator Beacons for its aircrews.

The Belgian Ministry of Defence has launched a tender procedure to obtain a number of Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) to help localise crews of F-16, C-130H, Alouette II and Alpha Jet aircraft. Source: Federal Government Bulletin of Tenders.

08/06 - Very rare Boeing E-4B NEACP visits Brussels' Zaventem airport.

A rare Boeing E-4B Advanced National Emergency Airborne Command Post (NEACP) visited Brussels-Zaventem on June 8th, 2006. The aircraft, 73-1676, is one of four that entered service from the mid-1970s onwards. They are assigned to the 1st Airborne Command and Control “First Axe” Squadron of the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. The aircraft has nearly 50 external communications antennas of which the most striking is a blister on top of the fuselage housing the Super High Frequency (SHF) and satellite communications means. It also has the capability to broadcast over commercial telephone and radio networks to communicate with the general population. Equipped with nuclear thermal shielding and hardened against electromagnetic pulse, the E-4B serves as a national command post in case of a nuclear war. It then carries the President of the United States and key members of his military staff. The type is optimised for maximum flight endurance and has an amazing autonomy of 72 hours, extendable to a week in case of a real war. Click here for a picture of the aircraft seen leaving Zaventem.

08/06 - Royal Verviers Aviation celebrates 75th birthday.

One of the oldest active Flying Clubs in Belgium, the Royal Verviers Aviation is celebrating its 75th anniversary with a Fly-in on July 1st and 2nd 2006. For more information follow this link:

06/06 - Belgian Defence Agusta helicopters deployed to Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Three Agusta A109BA helicopters and 47 men left Liège–Bierset airbase for Mostar in Bosnia Herzegovina in the framework of the European operation “Althea”. The detachment should be fully operational by June 15th in order to fly reconnaissance, surveillance and medevac missions on behalf of the European forces (Eufor) deployed at Bosnia. On May 19th the Belgian Government had approved this 5 month mission baptised “Blue Bee” which will be executed in cooperation with medium-heavy helicopters (Mi-17) provided by Macedonia.  More info on NL and FR

06/06 - North Sea Pollution Control aircraft operational with the MUMM

Former Light Aviation BN2A-21 Islander B02/OT-ALB is now operational in the hands of the Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models (MUMM). Wearing a new white and red civil colour scheme and appropriately registered OO-MMM this surveillance aircraft will continue to combat pollution in the area of the North Sea Belgium is responsible for in the context of the Bonn Agreement. (Read more on this topic in the BAHA Special Feature: Eye on the North Sea).

06/06 - Inaugural flight between Brussels and Addis Abeba by Ethiopian Airlines

On Tuesday 6 June 2006 the inaugural passenger flight of Ethiopian Airlines arrived at Brussels’ Zaventem Airport.  The B767-300ER (ET-ALJ) with flight number ET704 from Addis Abeba (ADD) and Paris (CDG) landed at 07.57 local.  During the start-up Ethiopian will connect Brussels twice a week with the capital of Ethiopia, this number will increase up to 4 flights during the summer season.  

02/06 - Smart Wings opens connection between Zaventem and Prague from 12/06/2006

As from 12th June Smart Wings will offer six times per week a connection between Brussels' Zaventem airport and Prague. An evening flight is offered from Monday till Friday and on Sunday. The flight is operated with a Boeing 737-500. Source: Luchtzak and Smart Wings

01/06 - Britten-Norman acquires five ex-Light Aviation Islanders

Bembridge (Isle of Whight, UK) based aircraft constructor Britten-Norman has acquired 5 ex-Light Aviation Britten-Norman BN-2A Islanders which were for sale by the Belgian government (see BAHA special feature "Islanders For Sale"). The company which was the original builder of the aircraft involved has the intention to recondition the aircraft for resale on the second hand market. A sixth aircraft was sold to a private individual of the Antwerp region which has the intention to rebuild the aircraft to flying condition.

May 2006

29/05 - 02/06 - Air and Land Components conduct low level flying exercise Poppy 02/2006 over the Province of Luxembourg.
The Belgian Air and Land Components conduct a low level flying exercise over the Province of Luxembourg under code name Poppy 05/2006 between 29 May and 2 June. The purpose of Poppys type exercise is to train Air Component's F-16 pilots and Land Component's Forward Air Controllers (FAC) in working together. All the Poppy 05/2006 targets and Low Level Flying Areas (LLFA) were located between villages of Massin - Libin - Recogne and Fay-les Veneurs (North Area) and Offagne - Tournay - Grapfontaine and Fay-le-Veneurs (South Area). Source on in FR and NL and the Baha special feature.
30/05 - New F-16A gate guardian on the move.

The last couple of weeks a number of ex-Rocourt Lockheed F-16A fighters have been on the move to several locations all over Belgium to become gate guardian. Some of them have been noted transiting through Beauvechain recently. The following aircraft are involved with the provisional destinations marked between brackets. FA-16 (Kleine Brogel), FA-18 (Beauvechain), FA-27 (Sabca), FA-36 (Rocourt), FA-46 (Techspace Aero), FA-47 (Florennes) and FA-55 (Evere South). Source: Aerobel.

29/05 - Rare Yak 50 aerobatic aircraft based at Temploux airfield

A rather rare Yak 50 aerobatic aircraft has been imported recently from Sweden by aerobatic pilot Jan Mevis and is now based at Temploux airfield near Namur. Constructed in 1980 Yak 50 with Russian registration RA-2005K was used between 1981 and 1983 by Russian pilots at Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) to train aerobatic manoeuvres. After this period in which the aircraft flew 120 hrs. it was stored until 2001 when the Shakty plant at Rostov gave it a complete overhaul. It was then sold to the private pilot and based at Barkaby (Sweden) which recently offered the Yak 50 for sale. Jan Mevis took this golden opportunity and acquired the fighter like aircraft. After an epic ferry flight RA-2005K arrived at its new home base at Temploux. Click here for a picture of the sole Yak 50 based in Belgium. 

28/05 - Three new aviation publications by BAHA members announced.

Three members of BAHA have reached the publication stadium of their most recent work.

Peter Taghon's superbly detailed study of the Aéronautique Militaire Belge during the early days of WWII called "L'Aéronautique Militaire Belge en mai-juin 1940" published as "Avions - Hors Série N°18" should be available in the libraries by now. (More information).

Daniel Brackx' long awaited detailed register of Belgian military aircraft  "Luchtstrijdkachten België  -  Vliegtuig- en registratieoverzicht 1945-2007" (Cover) will be available next June 15th.

Cynrik De Decker's wartime history of the airfields of Ursel, Maldegem en Aalter called "Vleugels boven het Meetjesland" will be available from 13 August onward. (More information)

28/05 - First urgent organ transport by Belgian Defence Agusta helicopter

A first urgent transport of an organ has been flown Sunday evening by an Agusta A-109BA helicopter following the agreement signed over a month ago. (See BAHA News of 19/04/2006). The transport involving a heart was flown by a Bierset based Agusta from Verviers to Antwerpen. Since 2 May an Agusta is on stand-by 7 days a week from 08h00 till 24h00.

27/05 - B-25 Mitchell arrives at the Royal Army Museum depot at Vissenaken

North American B-25J Mitchell 44-30925/N9494Z/G-BWGR which was acquired by a group of aviation enthusiasts around the Brussels Air Museum Foundation has finally arrived at the Royal Army Museum depot at Vissenaken. The aim is to restore the bomber as "Pat's Victory" in reference to a picture of a 320 RAF Sq. Mitchell coded NO-V which shows it at Melsbroek in August 1945.  Picture links: 1 and 2 .

23/05 - Renewed Sabena section reopened at the Royal Army Museum

An area specially dedicated to the history of the Belgian airline Sabena has been completely renewed and was opened in presence of many old "Sabenièns" at the aeronautical department of the Royal Army Museum. (Picture)

22/05 - Five future Belgian fighter-pilots receive their wings at Tours in France

Five Belgian student fighter-pilots have received their wings during a ceremony organised at the French Armée de l’Air “base aérienne 705” at Tours in the centre of France. This was the first mixed (French-Belgian) promotion to graduate in the framework of the mutual training programme called "Advanced Jet Training School" (AJeTS) started in 2004. The promoted pilots have finished their 3rd part of their instruction to become fully operational fighter pilots. They will now transfer to the French base of Cazaux (South-Eastern France) to start their 4th stage in the training on some twenty modernised Belgian Air Component Alpha Jets. If successful, the Belgian pilots will then receive their conversion to Lockheed F-16AM/BM at the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) based at Kleine Brogel airbase before being posted to one of the operational F-16 squadrons. Click here for a picture of the newly promoted Belgian and French military pilots. Belgian pilots are Adj. A. Debras, Vandeputte, D. Blanquaert, S. Malburny and K. De Roeck. Source: Armée de L'Air

22/05 - Renowned SV-4 restorer Gerrit Titeca has two ex-BAF SV-4's for sale.

Well known Stampe & Vertongen SV-4B restorer Gerrit Titeca of Oudenburg has two SV-4 aircraft OO-SVG (Ex V-21) and OO-SVH (ex-V-26) for sale. Both aircraft are for sale as a kit complete with a zero hour engine but not covered with linen for the price of 45.000€. Source: Thierry de Cardon.

19/05 - "Windkracht 10" movie mockup of Seaking arrives at Koksijde airbase.

A very realistic mock-up of a Belgian Defence Seaking helicopter used for the upcoming feature film "Windkracht 10" has been transported to Koksijde airbase and will be one of the interesting items on display on this year's Koksijde International airshow 1 & 2 July 2006. Source en picture: Aerobel.

20/05 - Sabena Technics fully operational again.

Sabena Technics, the Zaventem based aircraft maintenance company, has announced that is if fully operational again after the major fire in one of its hangars at Zaventem airport in the night of 4 on 5 May 2006. Source: De Standaard 

19/05 - Lockheed F-104G Starfighter FX-83 Starfighter tail for sale on eBay

Displayed at his café-restaurant “Le Raidillon” (The Steep Road) at Genval (10km South of Brussels) (picture here) the owner of the tail Lockheed F-104G Starfighter FX-83 has put this item for sale on eBay. Still in its original 10th Wing colour scheme the asking prise is   US $2.500. eBay link here.

18/05 - Cdt. "Mickey" Artiges worthy successor to John Vandenbosch as F-16 display Pilot

Cdt. "Mickey" Artiges is ready to start the 2006 airshow season as official F-16 display pilot. Two F-16AM aircraft, FA-131 and FA-126, have been earmarked to represent Belgium at the major European airshows in the capable hands of "Mickey". Cdt. Artiges (picture) entered the Belgian Air Force in 1993 to gain his wings in 1995. Making his conversion to F-16 in the USA, Mickey then transited trough the 10th Wing and finally was posted at N° 350 Squadron based at Florennes in June 1997. Participating in the Balkan operations as 350 Squadron pilot and passing along the obligatory "desk-job", Artiges now is a fighter-bomber pilot in N° 1 Squadron at Florennes. More info in FR. at

16/05 - Traditions of N° 11 Squadron taken over by Armée de l'Air escadrille 2/8 'Nice' at Cazaux

At the airbase 120 "Commandant Marzac at Cazaux,  France the traditions of famous Belgian N° 11 "Bat" squadron have been transferred to escadrille 2/8 'Nice' of the French Armée de l'Air. In this way the Franco-Belgian cooperation in fighter pilot training Advanced Jet Training School (AJeTS) has been further sealed.  At the same occasion a number of successful Belgian and French pilots received their school certificates from both Major General Van Caelenberge, chief of the Belgian Air Component and Armée de l'Air general Niclot, commander of the Armée de l'Air schools. Source: Armée de l'Air and in FR and NL. Pictures here and here.

15/05 - European Air Group exercise Volcanex 2006 organised in Decimomannu (Italy)

Between 15 and 26 May 2006 the annual exercise Volcanex organised by the European Air Group (EAG) is organised at Decimomannu airbase on Sardinia (Italy). The exercise simulates a deployment of a multinational air force outside of the European borders. The EAG is an association of 7 European air forces (Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, U.K. and France) aiming to improve the operational capacities of the associated member states. The current Director of the EAG is Major General Gerard Van Caelenberge of the Belgian Air Force who took over the post on 10th of January 2006.

15/05 - Ex Belgian Air Force De Havilland Dominie D-7 back in the air again.

Ex Belgian Air Force De Havilland DH.89 Dominie D-7 (RAF NR777) has made its first post restoration flight at Taieri Airport, Dunedin in New Zealand. Registered ZK-SWR the machine is painted in Swissair colours and is now put up for sale at the price of 600.000 NZ$.  See also BAHA news item of 24/11/2005. Click here for a picture of the restored machine. Source: Classic Wings via V. Jacobs.

14/05 Ryanair to start service between Charleroi and Marseille

According to Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO his company is to establish a direct link between Charleroi-Brussels South airport and Marseille in the South of France from November b9th 2006 onward. Three flights a week are planned. Source: Luchtzak & Ryanair

12/05 - Third part of exercise "Deployed Falcon" at Beauvechain airbase.

Between 15 and 18 May 2006 the third part of exercise "Deployed Falcon" was organised at Beauvechain airbase. This third exercise is organised as a preparation for an operation evaluation which in the framework of the NATO High Readiness Forces (HRF)/NATO Response Forces (NRF) will take place in June 2006. The HRF/NRF have to be operational from a deployment base in the shortest possible notice.  A number of Lockheed F-16 fighters are also involved in the exercise. Source: in NL and FR.

12/05 - Brasschaat, the oldest military airfield of Belgium has closed its doors.

In a moving ceremony held at Brasschaat airfield Lt. Col. Luc Van Den Neste, base Commander of the oldest military airfield in Belgium has officially transferred his competence over the School Light Aviation to Major General Gerard Van Caelenberge, Belgian Air Component Commander, effectively closing down this airfield located to the North of the town of Antwerp. It is sad to see that the closure of the cradle of Belgian Military Aviation was such a low key event.  A special feature on the history of Brasschaat airbase can be found here. Why aren't we more respectful of our past? In a more joyful mood three new pilots at the same occasion received their helicopter wings. One of them Cpt. Valerie "Val" Verkeyn was the second female Belgian fighter pilot who was designated to become Westland Seaking pilot at Koksijde airbase and followed her transition at Brasschaat. As all activities at the base will end on the 31st of May the last helicopter training course (involving 4 Alouette II helicopters) has to move temporarily to Koksijde airbase. From September onward all Belgian helicopter pilots will be trained in Dax, France.  Picture: Cpt. “Val” Verkeyn receives her helicopter wings and licence from General Major Van Caelenberge and Lt. Col Van Den Neste.

11/05 - Florennes "Recce Meet 2006" cancelled

The 1st Squadron organiser of the Recce Meet 2006 which had to take place at Florennes airbase on July 20th has announced that it regretfully had to cancel this event because of a lack of foreign participants due to very busy schedules and restricted national defence budgets. Source 1st Squadron "Stingers" website.

09/05 - SNBA resumes flights to Kigali.

SN Brussels Airlines resumes direct flights from Zaventem to Kigali, capital of Rwanda. Flights had been suspended on 21 February 2006 after an SNBA Airbus A330 had been blocked by the Rwandan authorities at Kigali. After the successful conclusion of talks between SN and the Rwandan authorities, the twice a week Brussels-Kigali flights resumed on 08 May 2006. SN Brussels airlines is the only carrier flying directly between Europe and Kigali. Sources: Luchtzak and De Standaard

09/05 - Belgian tri-colore fin flash to be replaced by MoD Logo on the "white" transport aircraft.

A number of 21 squadron (white) transport aircraft of the Belgian Air Component have been noted with their "traditional" Belgian flag on the vertical tail surfaces replaced by the logo of the Ministry of Defence. The following aircraft have been noted with this new badge: Airbus A310 CA-01, Dassault Falcon 900 CD-01, Falcon 20 CM-01, Embraer ERJ 135LR CE-03 and Embraer ERJ 145LR CE-03. More pictures can be found on the BAHA-Forum through this link. The MoD logo consists of a tricolore roundel surrounded by a blue circle containing twelve European/NATO stars. This decision to do away with the Belgian national flag was taken at MoD cabinet level and is subject of some serious discussions at lower military echelons.

06/05 - De Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth moves from Royal Army Museum to Florennes museum

Brussels Air Museum veteran De Havilland Tiger Moth in false "T-24/UR-!" colour scheme (c/n 83728) (picture) has been transported to the Spitfire Memorial Museum at Florennes. This move was made possible following the arrival at the Royal Army Museum at Brussels of the magnificently restored Tiger Moth T6534 (c/n 84875) (picture). The aircraft has been restored in its former RAF guise and is a welcome addition to the RAF collection in Brussels which also includes Spitfire LF.IXc "MJ360" and Miles Magister T9800.

05/05 - B-Hunter UAV written off after a hard landing at Elsenborn.

IAI- Eagle B-Hunter "BH279" has been has been written off after a “heavy landing” on its homebase at Elsenborn. The Belgian Air Component operates 18 B-Hunter UAV's (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) which have first been used in an operational "Peace keeping" deployment in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2005. (See BAHA-News item of 22/06/2005). A detachment of Belgian UAV's is soon to deploy to the Democratic Republic of Congo for some weeks during the period of the national elections in this country.  Click here for a B-Hunter picture.

05/05 - Belgian Defence C-130H and Armavia A320 destroyed in Sabena Technics hangar blaze

A massive hangar fire broke out around midnight in hangar 40 of Sabena Technics at Brussels' Zaventem airport damaging or destroying several aircraft undergoing maintenance. Fortunately only one Sabena Technics employee was injured (although seriously) and taken to hospital. One Belgian Defence Lockheed C-130H Hercules (CH-02) was completely destroyed in the fire. Of two Airbus A320's (EK-32001 and EK-32010) operated by the Armenian national carrier Armavia and International Armenian Airlines one was completely destroyed while the other one damaged. A third Airbus A320 of the Greek company Hellas Jet (SX-BVB) also suffered unspecified damage. In a nearby smaller hangar two aircraft from respectively Virgin Express and SNBA were pulled out to safety in time, while Boeing 737 OO-TUI of Jetairfly parked in front of hangar 40 could also be towed away from the inferno. Sources: Flight,, and De Standaard. Pictures of Lockheed C-130H CH-02,  Armavia's EK-32010, International Armenian Airlines EK-32001 and Hellas Jet SX-BVB

April 2006

27/04 - Terminal A of Zaventem airport evacuated

Terminal A of Brussels' Zaventem airport was evacuated this morning for safety reasons, after a passenger refused to undergo the safety checks and ran away into the terminal at 6.00 a.m. The evacuation was made as a precautionary measure. Terminal A is the part of the airport from which all flights to the Schengen zone are departing. Around 10.00 a.m. it was reopened and all flights resumed. Source: De Standaard

25/04 - Council of Ministers approves progressive update of the F-16AM/BM (Second phase M5)

The Council of Ministers approved the proposition by Minister of Defence André Flahaut to conclude a contract with the US authorities for the execution of the progressive update (Second Phase M5) of the Belgian F-16MLU fighters. The M-5 modification includes amongst others an improved GPS navigation system, introduction of improved precision weapons capability, introduction of the Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS), Link-16 tactical data-link and Helmet Mounted Cueing System (HMCS). The contract is concluded as an FMS-case (Foreign Military Sales) which has to guarantee common standards of improvements/updates throughout the NATO and European Union fleets. Source in FR and NL

25/04 - Direct air route from Brussels to Beijing and Shanghai to be operational next July.

The start-up of a new direct air link between Belgium and China from next July 2006 onwards was officially announced at Zaventem Airport. The flights will be operated Hainan Airlines, the fourth largest airline of China, using Boeing 767-300 aircraft which seat 34 passengers in business class and 199 passengers in economy. The Brussels – Beijing - Shanghai route will be operated in both directions on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Flights departing from Zaventem Airport will be evening flights. See also BAHA News of 30/03/2006. Sources: Luchtzak & BIAC 

24/04 - First Robin DR.400-140B Ecoflyer equipped with a diesel engine delivered at Deurne

OO-VPE the first Robin DR.400-140B Ecoflyer (c/n 2598) equipped with a Thielert 135CDi diesel engine was delivered to the Royal Antwerp Aviation Club ( at Deurne airport. Click here for an air-to-air picture by Dirk Geerts.

20/04 - Jordan signs a letter of intent to acquire 14 Belgian and 8 Dutch F-16 MLU's

At Amman, Jordan, a member of the Jordan Ministry of Defence, Dutch Secretary of Defence, Cees Van der Knaap and the chief of Material Resources of the Belgian Defence (DG-MR), Lt. General Jacques de Winter have signed a letter of intent (LoI) for the acquisition of 8 Dutch (5 F-16AM and 3 F-16BM) and 14 Belgian F-16 MLUs. The Belgian minister of Defence, André Flahaut, welcomed the news as the revenues from the sale will go directly into the defence budget. Belgium currently has 16 upgraded F-16s for sale. Source:  & NL or FR

19/04 - Defence Minister Flahaut: all organ transport to be done by Defence Agusta helicopters

Belgian Defence Minister, André Flahaut has declared at the representatives Defence Commission that a convention will be signed with the all hospital institutions of Belgium to centralise all transport of human organs by means of Belgian Defence's Heli-Wing Agusta helicopters.

19/04 - Air Component's 350 Squadron to train two weeks at Istres (France)

Five Lockheed F-16AM fighters belonging to N° 350 Squadron based at Florennes deployed at the French base aérienne 125 "Charles Monier" at Istres for a two week DACT (Dissimilar Aircraft Combat Training) exercise with their French counterparts of Istres, Orange, Nancy and Reims. The Belgian pilots are able to take advantage of possibilities offered by the French Central Zone and to experiment several tactical scenarios while the French pilots from their side will benefit from the MFFO (Mixed Forces Fighting Operation) to train their interoperability for this particular type of missions. Source: Armée de l'Air

14/04 - Lockheed F-104G Starfighter FX-47 restored in its former bare metal colour scheme

Volunteers of the Beauvechain "First Wing Historical Centre" are restoring Lockheed F-104G Starfighter FX-47 (c/n 9090) in its original high polish bare metal colour scheme and this to the highest standards possible. Almost ready for presentation, FX-47 will be one of the main poles of attraction of the Belgian Air Force 60th anniversary celebrations during the Defence Days 2006 organised at Beauvechain airbase on 1 and 2 September 2006. For more information and pictures go to the BAHA Special Feature on this subject.

14/04 - New weight limit per piece at Zaventem Airport

No matter how much luggage you are allowed to carry on your flight, there is now a maximum weight limit per piece at Zaventem Airport. Pieces of more than 32 kg are no longer accepted at check-in, on any carrier. If you have a piece of baggage that is heavier, you will be requested to redistribute the weight over several bags. This measure is installed as a health/safety precaution for airport workers at Brussels and all over the world, who handle your luggage. Source: Luchtzak

14/04 - SN Brussels Airlines fleet not to be renewed before 2010

SN Brussels Airlines (SN BA) will renew its fleet after 2010. Discussions will be started with both Boeing and Airbus. "Even if we reinforce our African network and if we harmonise our mid-haul fleet with that of Virgin Express, nothing will be reasonably possible before 2010", an SNBA spokesmen said. At the end of the current leasing contracts, SNBA will have to make a choice between the Airbus A319 and the Boeing 737 for its medium-range fleet. Furthermore, the airline has started modernising its long-haul aircraft. The aim is to start flying again over the North Atlantic. Source: Luchtzak

14/04 - Zaventem airport: 100% smoke-free

BIAC, the Brussels' Zaventem airport operator has decided to make Zaventem airport 100 % smoke-free. Smoking is no longer allowed in any of the public areas of the airport buildings as well as in restaurants, bars and lounges. The few dedicated smoking areas for passengers and visitors that remained after the introduction at the start of the year of the general smoking ban in public places, have now also been put out of use. As a result ashtrays are no longer available in any of the public areas of the airport. Source: BIAC

13/04 - Helicopter equipped NATO warships visiting the port of Antwerp.

On April 13th 2006 four vessels of the Standing NATO Response Force Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) (more info here) arrived at the Antwerp port (Zuiderterras) for a 5 day courtesy visit. All of the warships have helicopters on board and offer a unique possibility to see some very rare birds. The fleet is composed of:

HMCS Athabaskan (DDH 282) an Iroquois class destroyer of the Canadian Navy equipped with a CH.124 Seaking "12440".

ORP Generał Kazimierz Pułaski (272) is one of two Oliver Hazard Perry class guided-missile frigates in the Polish Navy and equipped with a SH.2G Seasprite. (Click here for a picture taken at Antwerp by Jack Felgeirolles)

USS Simpson (FFG-56) is an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate of the United States Navy equipped with a SH.60B Seahawk "162133 HN-427" (Click here for a picture taken at Antwerp by Dirk Geerts)

FGS MECKLENBURG-VORPOMMERN (F-218) a Brandenburg class frigate of the German Navy equipped with one or two Westland Lynx helicopters.

13/04 - Will SNBA and Virgin Express merge into a new "Sabena"?

According to an article in Belgian magazine Trends/Tendances, the name Sabena is a serious contender for the company that will result from the merger between SN Brussels Airlines and Virgin Express.  Rebranding an airline is a costly operation. The new name must thus be appealing. MTDS Design Strategy, the consultant who created the name SN Brussels Airlines, proposes Brussels Express. But Express would suggest a low-cost airline, which does not fit with the African operations.  Christian Van Buggenhout, the Sabena receiver and owner of the Sabena name, would like to see it again on planes and made the suggestion to Viscount Etienne Davignon, Chairman of SN Airholding. The name has also a lot of appeal, both in Belgium and abroad. To be continued... Source: Luchtzak

10/04 - TNT Express Launches New Air Route to Czech Republic

TNT Express, the world's leading business to business express delivery company, announced that it has launched a new air route between its European air hub in Liège, Belgium, and Brno airport in the Czech Republic. The new route - which operates a 10 tonne capacity BAe 146 aircraft every week day from Liège to Brno via Prague on both outbound and return journeys - provides significantly improved access to the east of the Czech Republic and, for the first time, enables guaranteed delivery before 9am and 12am to and from anywhere in Europe. Source: TNT Express

07/04 - News from the ex-Belgian Air Force Swearingen Merlin III front

Bob Rongé caught ex-Belgian Air Force Fairchild Swearingen Merlin III LX-NRJ (ex CF-05) during a visit at Deurne (Antwerp) airport and learned that this machine was to go to Congo Brazzaville on April 8th 2006. In this African country the Merlin will be used by Aerodata-Surveys for in country mapping flights. Click here for a picture of this aircraft at Deurne on 07 April 2005.

06/04 - New books by DACO Products released

Danny Coremans of DACO Publications announced the release of the next book in the range "Uncovering the...” titled "Uncovering the Grumman F-14 A/B/D Tomcat". This publication by Danny Coremans uncovers the Tomcat in all its details: outside fuselage, cockpits, landing gear, maintenance and armament, including pictures of its very last carrier tour in the Gulf (which ended on March 10). "Uncovering the Rockwell B-1B Lancer", a second title in the "Throttle & Stick" range of Willy Peeters has also be release and shows every detail of the mighty Bone, including front & aft cockpits, weapon bays, armament and much more. Ordering information and previews can be found on the DACO homepage:

05/04 - Ryanair to expand its operations from Belgium.

Ryanair opens 5 new destinations from Gosselies airport to Faro, Malaga, Salzbourg and Valence and at the same time announces  that it is studying the use of two more airports in Belgium, one of which is Oostende, to expand its operations from Belgium. Source: La Dernière Heure.

04/04 - Belgian military helicopter pilots also to be trained in France

From next fall onwards all Belgian Defence helicopter pilots will be trained in South Western France. This means that all Belgian military pilots will be completely or partially trained at the Southern neighbours of Belgium. Since last year fighter pilots already receive phase 3 and 4 of their training on (Belgian) modernised Alpha Jets at respectively Tours and Cazaux in France while transport pilots are trained at Avord before joining the 15th Transport Wing at Melsbroek. Transferring the helicopter pilot training to France also mean that the School Light Aviation based at Brasschaat is to close next 30th of June. Source: 7sur7

04/04 - Saffraanberg instructional airframe Mirage BA-03 as monument at Temploux airfield

On the 4th of April Dassault Mirage 5BA BA-03 well known as an instructional airframe at the Royal Technical School at Saffraanberg has been transported by road to the airfield of Temploux to be erected as a monument where it joins F-84F Thunderstreak FU-51 and RF-84F Thunderflash FR-30. It's rather a pity that such well kept machine has to remain outside for the rest of its days.   More on Temploux in the Baha Special feature: “From the Belgian aircraft preservation front” by Jos Schoofs. A picture of BA-03 at Temploux can be found here.

04/04 - Air Component Agusta helicopters to return to Bosnia.

In late May the Belgian Government is to redeploy three Agusta A-109AB Hirundo helicopters to Bosnia-Herzegovina. The helicopters (one Medevac, one transport/liaison and one Reconnaissance version) will be deployed for six months and will form part of the European Stabilisation Force "Althea" and will operate from Mostar airbase. The Federal Government still has to approve the mission but this is expected to be done in the Council of Ministers on the 21st of April 2006. Source: Het Laatste Nieuws

02/04 - Boeing 767-300 N1607B of Delta Airlines makes emergency landing at Zaventem

A Boeing 767-300 of Delta Airlines had to make a precautionary landing at Zaventem Airport around 13h00 when, on a flight from Düsseldorf to Atlanta it suffered mechanical problems on one of the engines. The aircraft made an uneventful landing at runway 25 Left. Several fires-fighting units were stand by but no one got hurt and the aircraft could continue its journey after the necessary inspections.  Source: Het Belang van Limburg

01/04 - School Light Aviation to close on 30th of June 2006

The School Light Aviation of Brasschaat is to close next 30th of June 2006. For almost 60 years pilots were trained on this base situated to the North of Antwerp. The last student-pilots are to leave the School on 31st of May to continue their training at the Heli Wing at Bierset. The decision to close the base was taken in September 2001 in the framework of the restructuring of the Belgian Armed Forces. Source: Gazet van Antwerpen 

01/04 - 40 Squadron SAR Seaking helicopters scrambles of March 2006

The Air Component homepage provides details over the 40 Squadron SAR Seaking helicopters scrambles of March 2006. Every day of the year some two Westland Seaking Mk.48 helicopters are on stand-by at their homebase of Koksijde to take-off within 15 minutes. During night time this is only slightly reduced to one helicopters and the possibility to have a second one in the air within an hour. Source in NL or FR

* Searching emergency signal on frequency 121.5
* Medairevac. Victim of burn transported from Kortrijk to the centre for burns at NOH.
* Wounded crew member winched off fishing vessel “Zeebrugge 296” and flown to Veurne.
* Person suffering of internal bleeding wounds winched off the “AACHEN” and flown to Veurne.
* Sick crewmember winched off tanker “JOKACHI” and flown to Veurne.
* Injured crewmember winched off “HAJERI” and flown to AZ Brugge.
* Injured crewmember winched off “ARNEMUIDEN 20” and flown to Veurne.

News section by Daniel Brackx & Vincent Pirard

NEWS Archive

Last updated 12/09/08 10:15   Daniel Brackx