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|24th January 2016, 16:56||#1|
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Royal Museum of the Armed Forces, Belgium
During a recent visit to my home country the Netherlands, I spend a day in Brussels, Belgium to visit a special Italian Car exhibition in the Autoworld museum.
I wrote about that experience here: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/beyond...r-passion.html (Brussels Autoworld, Italian car passion)
Right opposite the Autoworld is also the Belgium Royal Armed Forces museum.
See also http://www.klm-mra.be/klm-new/engels...ks/startpagina
So when we were done looking at cars, we went across and wandered around a bit more amongst the planes. As you will see from these photographs, the overall impression, the whole set up is quite different from the Autoworld. Itís a bit of mishmash, all thrown together. We did not have time to look at everything, in essence we only did the main hall where all the planes are displayed.
All these planes have some sort of historical significance for the Belgium Air Force. Although to be honest, it is not always clear to me what the Belgium angle might be. So here goes:
Just a first impression of the main hall:
The mighty F4 Phantom. Its pointy bit is a bit out of whack. When I was in my teens I was a very keen aircraft spotter. we would ride our bicycles over to the Dutch Army Base Soesterberg, which at the time also had an American squadron of Phantoms stationed there. The Dutch Airforce flew tiny F5s, these Phantoms looked absolutely massive compared to those.
(have a look here: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/commer...my-museum.html )
Even by today standards itís a big fighter. Although some would argue if it is really a fighter at all. Initial models did not even have machine-guns fitted! As they were deployed to Vietnam the American Airforce quickly added the machine guns.
This F104 Straighter is also known as the widow maker. Countless Airforces crashed them all over the world. Various European airforces used them and everybody was crashing them. Very fast, Mach 2.
F86, Sabre. One of my favourites. Also used by the Dutch Royal Airforce. Introduced into the Korean theatre. Note the deployed speed brakes.
The SEPECAT Jaguar. A British French concoction that never lived up to its expectations. I believe it served in the Indian Airforce too, maybe still is?
If anything it is a pretty robust plane and does well in dusty, warm climates, so maybe it is successful in India. Itís electronics were outdated before it even entered British service. Even so, it suffered from endless electronic niggles. My brother in law in the UK used to work on them in the RAF and he hated them with a vengeance.
I always liked the way it looked though, so different from most fighters of its era.
Some details of its armanant in the second picture.
A Mirage. I must be honest, I know very little about Mirages. They all look the same to me. They are French and the French know a thing or two about aviation and military aviation too.
I used to be into comics and I had all the Tangy and Laverdure. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanguy_et_Laverdure ) Being French military aviators they flew (mostly) Mirages.
The various Airforces around the world have had and still do have various trainers. This is one of the most successful jet trainers. The T-33 developed from the original T-80 Shooting star.
This Fouga Magister is the French answer to Airforce Jet Trainers. I think itís one of the most elegant little planes every made. The instructor sits behind the student pilot in the front cockpit and has a little periscope to look forward! Second picture shows the periscope even better.
I have actually flown one of these as student pilot!! I have a Private Pilot License and whenever I get the opportunity I will rent a plane and do some flying. Iím not current anymore as I just donít fly enough here in India. But whenever Iím travelling in the USA I try to get some airtime, so Iíll rent a plane and a CFI (Certified Flying Instructor). A few years ago, I had rented a Cirrus SR20 and the CFI told me he also instructed on old war birds and old jet fighters! Long story short, he got me a short ride in the Fouga Magister. Only about 30 minutes stick time for me and two touch and goes. Fantastic experience.
Here some more detailed information on this fantastic little plane:
Two very different planes, but both have earned their respective place in aviation history. At the rear, the Caravelle and in the foreground the Lockheed F16 Fighting Falcon. I have no idea what the Caravelle did with respect to the Belgium Airforce?
Nice line up!
A so called Goldie Oldie you are likely to find in just about any Airforce museum, the Gloster Meteor. One of the first mass deployed jet fighters.
This here is a bit of an oddity, as again I have no idea what it is doing in the Belgium Airforce museum, the F101 Voodoo. Initially designed as a fighter/bomber it served multiple roles and also ended up as a prominent plane of the American National Guard. The one on display is a reconnaissance version. It had multiple cameras in its long nose. All those sort of black patches are actually windows behind which the various cameras were mounted.
Big plane, twin engined think Phantom size.
Another Mirage, sorry no text I just donít know much about Mirages.
Any Airforce museum that takes itself serious will of course have one of these, a Spitfire. In the background a nice Junker Trimotor 52
DC3. I have flown all around the world on these. In fact, my very first flight as a little boy, about 12 years, was on this plane. There are still some flying, mainly carrying freight these days.
Last a nice Thunderstruck!
Last edited by Jeroen : 24th January 2016 at 17:16.
|25th January 2016, 22:31||#3|
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Re: Royal Museum of the Armed Forces, Belgium
The second Mirage is the Mirage III primarily a tail-less delta winged interceptor and with a useful ground attack capability. It was made world famous by the Israelis in their pre-emptive attack against the Arabs (mainly Egypt) in the 1967 War.
On the Sepecat Jaguar I would beg to differ from views of your relative while fully respecting his perspective. The Jaguar is a very sturdy and stable machine with one of the lowest accident records and at least in Indian service has shown itself capable of multiple avionic upgrades that have kept it contemporary today. The British sadly powered their Jaguars with 3300 kgf Adour engines that left the machine underpowered and both the French & British for different reasons did not fit their aircraft even with the avionics they produced nationally. When India bought the license to build them we fitted 3800 kgf Adours and developed the DARIN package using French & British avionics to give the aircraft a modern nav-attack system and ability to launch guided munitions. Over the years we progressed to DARIN II and now DARIN III. The Jaguar served with distinction in the first Gulf War and in Bosnia. The RAF finally did get their Jaguars modernized in the 1990s. Sorry to point this out but the photo here is of a Mig-27. Photos of Jaguar beneath followed by a scale model from my collection.
|26th January 2016, 15:44||#4|
Join Date: Jun 2014
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Re: Royal Museum of the Armed Forces, Belgium
Wonderful article! You are adding more and more items to my 'To-do' list while I am here in the Netherlands! Keeping that apart, each and every article you have written shows the level of attention you have paid while visiting and capturing details.Good job Sir!
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