September, no doubt, was quite hectic with all celebrations taking place in Belgium in order to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation. Belgium Represent!
Among all these events, one particular initiative is undoubtedly the stunning reconstitution of no less than 3 temporary airfields. These temporary airfields are located in the Belgian Ardennes and will re-enact the airfields as they were used during World War II.
The project has set 3 timeframes:
- Episode 1: 5th-8th September 2019
- Episode 2: 13th-16th December 2019
- Episode 3: 17th-20th January 2020
Summary of Episode 1: ‘Mission accomplished. Successful outcome”.
Not only did the Grand Public enjoy the local festivities to commemorate the 75th Anniversary but they will also take an active part in the commemoration by witnessing lots or airborne Piper Cub along with more activities.
Temporary airfields as organised by the Piper Cub Ardennes 1944-2019 team :
Reconstitution of temporary airfields (aerodromes) in Chenogne (EBX1) and a diversion airfield in Jodenville-Morhet (EBX2) as a backup, in the municipality of Vaux-sur-Sûre.
Reconstitution of an epoch temporary airfield (aerodrome) at Bizory (EBX3) in Bastogne.
The team performed flyovers of Pipers on low-level patrol near schools, villages, historical monuments (children will be invited to go out in the playground to witness the flyovers of planes) with the ringing of church bells while aeroplanes are flying over to give the children and inhabitants the atmosphere of the liberation. This will serve as an anchor and starting point for initiating a reflection by the children supervised by their teachers on the dangers of war and the relative fragility of our democracies. (Vresse-sur-Semois, Paliseul, Vaux-sur-Sure, Bastogne, Saint-Hubert, Manhay).
The Piper Cub Ardennes team executed a ‘NUTS Formation’ of 17 aircraft, led by Guy Rasse. Brussels Info was a bit surprised: ‘Confirm number of aircraft: 7 ?“. Guy Rasse “Negative Brussels Info, Nuts Formation of 1-7, seventeen aircraft!“.
These temporary airfields reconstitution was also part of the Bastogne well known “Battle of the Bulge”. This initiative is included in the 75th Anniversary Commemoration.
On September 7th and 8th, during the Heritage Days, the reconstitution of temporary airfields was one of the highlights.
Fact & Figures on Episode 1:
- Opening of Episode 1 first day with the fly over the Patrol of the ‘Red Devils’ over Bastogne, Bizory and Chenogne to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Belgium.
- More than 25 aircraft (from Belgium and Europe: France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Germany) registered and 21 operational aircraft,
- 48 pilots (some featured in this group picture taken at Bizory Airfield)
- All marshalling held on temporary airfields of Chenogne and Bizory were handled by the members of the non-profit Organisation Belgian Aviation Preservation Association (BAPA) based in Gembloux. The Teams handled the onsite security optimally.
- Over 2000 students reached directly during the flyovers and during the school activities
- Over 1500 visitors during the ‘Episode 1’ on the different Aerodromes
- Fly Over of the different Ardennes Cities with a formation of 17 aircraft on September 6th.
The operation ‘Piper Cub Ardennes 1944-2019’ is also supporting the non-profit Organisation “Animalaine”, based in Bastogne. They aim to support the local communities. Excerpt from their philosophy: “Animalaine cohabits with a second association named “The Source”. Thus, the Living Museum is also a reception centre for people with mental disabilities. Thanks to this project, Animalaine is committed to these people with the goal of social and professional reintegration. A common life, human exchanges are created, values are shared: the project Animalaine, it’s them, it’s us, it’s you.”
Episode 2: Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge
The episode two will take place on December 13th-16th, with airborne activities (subject to safe weather conditions) departing from the main platform of Saint-Hubert and headed to temporary airfields of Chenogne and Bizory.
Activities are foreseen onsite with snack food and reenactors. A Piper Cub is also foreseen onsite, even in case of bad weather (read no flying allowed) onsite for the greatest pleasure of the families and children. “Kodak Moments” will be enabled to allow everyone to take pictures along with a meet and greet with pilots and crew.
In parallel, the planes will fly over (weather permitting) the region of Bastogne throughout the weekend to take part in the reenactments in Manhay, Hardigny, Bastogne Barrack and for the parade in Bastogne.
On December 14th, the ‘Marche du souvenir’ will also make a pitstop at the temporary airfield.
You can support the non-profit Organisation and take home a unique souvenir from this event by acquiring the “Piper Cub Ardennes” dedicated badge.
On October 20th 2019, still in continuation of the 75th Anniversary Commemoration; the Piper Cub Ardennes 1944 -2019 led by Philippe Mordant inaugurated a Monument in Sibret (Vaux-sur-Sûre). This the Monument “L-Birds 1944-1945” was inaugurated in the presence of direct witnesses from WWII, Mrs Helen Patton, Granddaughter of General Patton, the local authorities, pilots and the Grand Public.