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C-130 News: Belgain Air Force Begins to Retire its Hercules


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2018-01-18 Belgium.jpg

Belgian Air Force retired his first C-130 Hercules on Dec. 27, 2017. This aircraft, registered as CH-08 c/n 4478 was in service since 1973 and has flown 22.219 flight hours. It was assigned to the 15th Wing Air Transport witch is located at the Melsbroek airbase, a part of Brussels Airport.

 
The Belgian Air Force bought 12 C-130H Hercules transport aircraft in 1970 to replace the Fairchild C-119G Flying Boxcar. The first Hercules was delivered in mid 1972 and was assigned to 20 Smaldeel from 15 Wing at Melsbroek. The BAF lost two C-130s due to accidents, so it acquired an additional Hercules.
 
Initially, all the Belgian Hercules had received the Lizard camouflage color scheme that was replaced by a grey color during the mid-life update program.
 
As of 2020, the C-130 fleet will be gradually replaced by Airbus A-400M aircraft. Belgium has bought 7 Atlas and the deliveries are scheduled from 2019-2020. Currently 10 C-130s are still in service.

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I learned to love the Belgies when I worked A/R shop at Rhein-Main AB in the 80's...got a call from Job Control (remember them?) on grave shift one lovely sleeting winter's night that a tramp steamer -130 from the Belgian Air Force had stopped by for some gas before continuing on home to Melsbroek, and almost went left off the runway when they hit the binders on roll-out.  Two of my guys and I went out to see what we could do for them.  Climbing up the crew door steps, we noticed that the cargo compartment was almost full of cases of Stella Artois and Chimay beer!  We new instantly that this bird had been sent to us by a Higher Power.  We fairly quickly figured out that the co-pilots side brake valve had given up the ghost (leaking) and was not doing much to apply the right MLG brakes.  By some miracle, we actually had one in stock at supply, so we R&R'd the valve in short order, and everyone was happy.  The crew was evidently very happy that they weren't going to be stuck in Germany overnight, and as a sign of their gratitude, they gave each of us a case of Stella and a case of Chimay by way of a token of appreciation!  The only problem was hiding six cases of beer from day shift and getting them out of the shop after turn-over...

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