Final landing for CH-13, the oldest C-130 Hercules of the Belgian Air Force

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C-130 Hercules CH13 at Beauvechain © Jozef Vanden Broeck

At around 11:00 on 26 April, a C-130 Hercules landed at the military aerodrome of Beauvechain, Belgium, in the presence of the Minister of Defence Ludivine Dedonder. Not surprising in itself, except that it was the very last flight in its operational career for this aircraft. After many years of loyal service, the C-130H with tail number CH-13 finds its definitive home base in the Golden Falcon /1st Wing Historical Centre  (1WHC) of the Belgian Air Force.

The War Heritage Institute (WHI) will soon add this new aircraft to the museum collection. The official handover to the WHI is scheduled for Friday, 30 April. The institute decided to place the aircraft in the museum in Beauvechain rather than in Melsbroek, where the local air museum also wanted to host it. CH-13, the only aircraft of the Belgian C-130 fleet that will be preserved, will be on public display here from June.

The Belgian Air Force still has four C-130 cargo planes for the time being. They will remain in service until the end of December 2021, when the new Airbus A400M will take over completely. After fifty years of loyal service, the Air Component and the 20th Squadron Airlift of the 15th Wing are now saying goodbye to their C-130 fleet, which once consisted of twelve aircraft. On the tarmac of Melsbroek, the C-130’s make way for the brand new A400M aircraft.

CH-13

After 25,740 hours of flying time, the crew of the CH13 switched off the engines for the last time today. With that, the curtain finally falls on the operational career. This aircraft served less time than the other C-130’s. It entered service with the Belgian Air Force only twelve years ago, in 2009. It was actually the oldest one in the fleet as it had already had a solid career with the US Air Force as a meteorological research aircraft studying hurricanes. The aircraft replaced the C-130 with tail number CH-02, which was damaged beyond repair in the fire of the Sabena technics hangar in May 2006.

 26 April 2021

Source: BelDefNews (Kurt Verwilligen)

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