[75th Anniversary Commemoration] “Piper Cub Ardennes honouring Belgian skies”

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Authors Benoit Denet & Martin Gillet, reporting from Saint-Hubert.

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.

© Piper Cub Ardennes

The full program can be found on their Facebook Page and dedicated website. Stay up to date with the latest news and agenda updates by following their posts.

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 :

© Piper Cub Ardennes 1944 – 2019

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.

© Martin Gillet
© Martin Gillet

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).

© Martin Gillet
© Benoit Denet
© Institut Saint-Joseph de Carlsbourg

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!“.

© Benoit Denet
© Guy Rasse
© Benoit Denet

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.

© Ville de Bastogne

The full programme can be found online on Bastogne’s website.

On September 7th and 8th, during the Heritage Days, the reconstitution of temporary airfields was one of the highlights.

The full programme of the Bastogne Heritage Days can be found online on Bastogne’s website.

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)
© Martin Gillet
© Martin Gillet
  • 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.

Check out www.pipercubardennes.be for all information (timings, activities, locations etc) along with their dedicated Facebook page.

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.

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