McDonnell Douglas MD900/902 Explorer
Twin engine eight seat police helicopter
After the withdrawal of its Aerospatiale SA330 Puma helicopters, the Air Support Unit of the Rijkswacht/Gendarmerie (now Federale Politie/Police Federale) had a requirement for a twin-engined medium sized helicopter (twin-engined as the aircraft should also be able to operate safely over urban areas). The aircraft had to be equipped with special observation equipment and cleared for night operations.
The aircraft selected was the McDonnell Douglas MD900 Explorer equipped with a NOTAR or 'NO TAil Rotor' system. The NOTAR replaces the classic rear propellor by an aerodynamic system in which air pressure is guided through the tail-boom to a nozzle which can guide the helicopter in the desired direction. One of the added bonuses of the system is that the NOTAR equipped machines are very silent. In 1997 two Explorers joined the then Rijkswacht/Gendarmerie followrd by two more machine in 2001 en 2010. Since 2013 all aircraft have gradually been upgraded to MD902 standards (engine and electronics).
N92047, G-11/OT-GIB, upgraded to MD902 standards 2012/14.
N91997 (First Security Bank, Wells Fargo Bank), G-12/OT-GIC, upgraded to MD902 standards 2014/15.
N40216, OY-HMS, G-16, overall black.
N40789 (MD Helicopters), OO-NHI (Noordzee Helicopters), G-17 25 Years Air Support Unit', upgraded to common MD902 standards 2018/20.
MD Helicopters MD520N
Single engine 4-seat light observation helicopter
In 1999 the Air Support Unit of the Rijkswacht/Gendarmerie (now Federale Police) acquired two MD Helicopters MD520N NOTAR (NO TAil Rotor) light helicopters as a replacement for the ageing, 1968 vintage, Sud Aviation Alouette II.
N30645, G-14/OT-GID, Active Federal Police, Melsbroek
N31967, G-15/OT-GIR, Active Federal Police, Melsbroek
Single engine light transport helicopter
In 1959 the Belgian Government acquired two Sikorsky H-19 helicopters in the framework of the Mutual Defence Air Programme (M.D.A.P.) which were to be operated by the Openbare Macht/Force Publique in Belgian Congo. One aircraft which was damaged at the tail was left at Kitona military airbase when the colony became independent in July 1960 while the other was taken over by the Katanga Government. In April 1960 two more Sikorsky's were transferred from Sabena but one aircraft crashed after only a few days of operations while the other was taken over by the new Congolese administration at the independence.
S-41, abandoned at Moanda, Kitona, (Belgian Congo) after being damaged at Inga on Apr 4th, 1960, spare parts used by the UN, scrapped.
S-42, KAT-42 (Katanga), seized at Elisabethville, fuselage still present in 1964.
OO-CWF (Sabena), S-40(?), crashed April 1960, wreck used as spare parts resource
OO-CWG (Sabena), S-.. (?), Openbare Macht/Force Publique, , WH-01, WT-01 (FAC)
Sikorsky (Sud Aviation) HSS-1 Seabat & S-58C
Sikorsky (Sud Aviation) HSS-1 Seabat
Rescue- and transport helicopter
Between 1961 and 1962, five Sikorsky HSS-1 (S-58) helicopters build under license by Sud Aviation in France were acquired by the Belgian Air Force in order to create a Search and Rescue unit (previously equipped with fast rescue ships operating out of Lombardsijde/Nieuwpoort). Two aircraft were temporarily assigned to the Belgian Navy to be used as aerial minesweepers (B-7 and B-8). At the end of their career and after delivery of the Seaking helicopters a number of HSS-1's remained in service as training helicopter.
B-4/OT-ZKD, storage Koksijde
B-5/OT-ZKE, Accident during autorotation at Koksijde on 29 Aug 1985
B-6/OT-ZKF, on display at the Royal Army Museum, Brussels
B-7/OT-ZKG, used by the Belgian Navy as minesweeper with anchor incorporated in Belgian roundel. Crashed at St. Idesbald on 07 Jan 1976 due to engine problems
B-8/OT-ZKH, used by the Belgian Navy as minesweeper with anchor incorporated in Belgian roundel. Special paint schemes "25 Years SAR", "The Last One/40 Squadron", gate guardian at Koksijde airbase.
In 1963 five Sikorsky S-58 helicopters were taken over from the Belgian national carrier Sabena to serve as logistical transport helicopters (Short Range Transport or SRT) for the Nike surface-to-air missile batteries based in Germany. In the Belgian Air Force these aircraft were designated S-58C and two of these former passenger helicopters were equipped with a VIP interiors. All of the S-58C's were withdrawn from use with the arrival of the Westland Seakings in 1976.
OO-SHG, (KAT-43) Belgian Congo, B-9/OT-ZKI,
Written off in accident at Koksijde on 21 Sep 1964
OO-SHH (Sabena), B-10/OT-ZKJ, D-HAUE spare parts source for D-HAUG (ex B-15)
OO-SHI, B-11/OT-ZKK, D-HAUF, Auto und Technik Museum, Sinsheim (D.)
OO-SHL (Sabena), B-12/OT-ZKL, D-HAID, Air Classic, Frankfurt (D.)
OO-SHM, (KAT44) Belgian Congo, B-13/OT-ZKM. Written off in accident at Merzbrück on 15 Oct 1971.
N878, OO-SHQ, B-14/OT-ZKN, (VIP configuration), D-HAUC, spare parts resource , preserved as "80+25" at Laupheim (D.)
OO-SHP (Sabena), B-15/OT-ZKP, VIP configuration, D-HAUG, "PJ+366" Heer for film, still active
Westland Seaking Mk.48
Twin engine rescue helicopter
To replace the successful Sikorsky HSS1/S58 in the Air-Sea Rescue role, the Belgian government ordered five Westland Seaking Mk.48 helicopters in April 1975. In a first stage, all aircraft were used for training Belgian aircrews at RNAS Culdrose before being delivered to Koksijde in November 1976. All aircraft have since undergone several updates including replacement of the radar by a vastly more capable version and the installation of a FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red) camera. The most remarkable intervention of the Seakings took place after the disaster with the "Herald of Free Enterprise" off the coast at Zeebrugge on March 6th, 1987. Three Seakings of N° 40 Squadron were able to rescue 30 passengers from a certain death. After more than 30 years of service the Seaking is to be replaced by the NH Industries NH90 helicopter in the years to come
G-BDNI (Westland), G-17-2, RS-02. Last flight 13 Jan 2019, sold to Historic Helicopters, Chard, UK to be maintained in flying conditions.
G-BDNJ (Westland), G-17-3, RS-03. Last flight 29 Aug 2013, earmarked to become monument on roundabout at Koksijde.
G-BDNK (Westland), G-17-4, RS-04. Last flight 15 Feb 2019,sold to Historic Helicopters, Chard, UK to be maintained in flying conditions.
G-BDNL (Westland), G-17-5, RS-05, Special c/s 25 Years Seaking. Official last flight 21 Mar 2019, last flight to VLOC Oostende: 26 Mar 2019