Kleine Brogel, Belgium

Photo Call

21 July 2006


This year's Photocall at Belgium's northernmost fighter base was held on 21 July. Absence of a major COMAO exercise during the summer months was no deterrent for KeeBee's organising comittee to welcome the enthousiast fraternity on base however. This had two reasons, each of which contributed to activity at this Limburg base. First was the impending airshow at Leopoldsburg two days after the Photo Call, the other being the fact that 21 July is Belgium's Independence Day. On this date, a large military parade takes place in Brussels. This also includes a mass fly-past of Belgian Air Component (BAC) aircraft. Kleine Brogel was set two supply 12 F-16's which all took off during the afternoon.


The Leopoldsburg Air Show, known under the alternative title of Sanicole Air Show, was an opportunity to whitness one of the final displays by Belgium's Fouga Magister trainer. After some 47 years the days of the whistling turtle are now coming to an end. A positive thing is that the Czech Air Force is showing off their new SAAB Gripen fighters in Western Europe more and more. Following introduction during 2005, Both Leeuwarden and Fairford were visited by JAS-39C's which found a place in the static park in either case. Sanicole had the honour of the Czech Gripen's first flying display in this part of Europe by the single seater JAS-39C that accompanied this JAS-39D.

Portugal's Air Force is justifiably proud to again have a jet demonstration team. The Asas de Portugal had disappeared in 1992 following the retirement of the Cessna T-37C, but the team reformed last year with the Alpha Jet. A display of with two jets is flown, but such appearances outside Portugal usually mean that a third or a fourth jet comes along just in case. 

Another Czech contribution to the Sanicole show was made up of a pair of Aero L.159A's. These Advanced Light Combat Aircraft partner the SAAB JAS-39C/D Gripen in Czech Air Force service and no doubt provide a useful stepping stone for student pilots transitioning from flight training on the very similar L.39 to the Gripen.

For some time, the Dutch Pilatus PC.7's have been going black. The new scheme, inspired by an RAF move to spray training aircraft black for reasons of better visibility against grey skies, now also means that the display team from Woensdrecht flies black aeroplanes. Evidence of this is L-06. The yellow stripe and spinner were added following comments made by Woensdrecht ATC personell that without it the aircraft were rather difficult to see against the backdrop of a runway.

The French Mirage 2000 display team obviously has the liberty to choose from either single seat Mirage 2000RDI or twin seat Mirage 2000B airframes. After having flown their display at Fairford by two seaters, they took a pair of single seaters to Belgium. It is possible however that two seaters are preferred for overseas visits as the second seat can be used for an accompanying crew chief.


FA-116 was one of the twelve F-16's taking off for the parade over Brussels. Most of the F-16's stayed nicely low, enabling the photographers some attractive action shots.

Despite all the rumblings concerning security and uninvited " guests" making their way into Kleine Brogel in the past, the base is to be complimented for allowing so many people through its gates on a normal working day. 

All pictures (c) Hans Rolink