C'est au travers d'anecdotes racontées par des anciens mécanos et des pilotes que nous retraçons en quelques pages agrémentées de nombreuses photos les années plus glorieuses de la base de Beauvechain (...) S. Nemry
The cover of the book edited for this occasion. A splendid present for all the guest of the day.
(Edition: 1st Wing / Belgian Defence)
Text : http://www.sbap.be
In 1936 the Aéronautique Militaire took possession of a field with an area of 25 hectares located at a place called "Le Culot". This was where Beauvechain airbase emerged, but from May 10th, 1940, the field was under attack and being evacuated. German Forces installed themselves and under pressure and the advance of the Allies, the Luftwaffe evacuated the premises in October 1944 and aircraft from the USAF took over the airfield.
After the war, in 1946 (70 years ago), the airfield saw the arrival of 22 Spitfire LF.XVI wearing the marking of the 349 and 350 Squadron, originated within the RAF during the war. Those two prestigious squadrons incorporated in the 160 Wing had taken off some minutes before from the airbase at Fasberg (Germany) to rejoin the Belgian soil. And so, Beauvechain airbase was born. In 1947, a third squadron rejoined Beauvechain, the 10th Night Fighter Squadron.
February 1948 saw the disappearing of the 160 Wing to become the 1st Fighter Wing and 1948 welcomed also the arrival of a new squadron, the 4th Daylight Fighter Squadron.
1951 was marked by the installation of the 11th Night Fighter Squadron equipped with Mosquito NF-30.
Activity is high and in 1955 the base is renamed Base Charles Roman, a tribute to this pilot of the 11th Squadron who gave his life in ordered aerial service.
The first jet era started off and the Wing was being equipped with Gloster Meteor F.4, followed by the F.8 and Meteor NF-11 for the Night Fighters. In 1957 the Hawker Hunter made his appearance with the F.4 and F.6 models to fly through the skies of Beauvechain. The Canadian CF-100 Canuck was chosen to replace the Hawker Hunter in 1958 and the Wing was also renamed 1st All Weather Fighter Wing.
The 11th Squadron was disbanded in 1960 and it was not until 1962 when the 42nd Squadron with their RF-84F took over the premises of the 11th.
In 1964 the Wing turned towards modernity with the Lockheed F-104G Starfighter aircraft, which flew some beautiful hours with the 349 and 350 Squadrons.
The first F-16 landed in January 1979 and the necessary conversion gave birth to a new unit: the Operational Conversion Unit (O.C.U.).
On March 04, 1996, the 1st Fighter Wing was disbanded and sees the arrival of the Siai-Marchetti SF.260 coming from Goetsenhoven airbase and the Alpha Jets who left Brustem.
Bierset said goodbye to the Agusta A109 in September 2010 and the helicopters were relocated at Beauvechain. In July 2013 the first NH-90 TTH arrived at Beauvechain and became the mount of the 18th Squadron whereas the Agusta A109 formed the backbone of the 17th Squadron.
The independence of Koksijde airbase ceased in June 2014 and the 40th Squadron was administratively incorporated within the 1st Wing at Beauvechain.
And so the circle came around and it is with great pride the personal of the airbase celebrated this 70th anniversary...