The Belgian Air Force are renewing their VIP fleet, and the most recent addition has received its full colour scheme at Lelystad in The Netherlands.
As part of the renewal of the transport fleet, the two Falcon 20s had already been retired a few years back and the sole Falcon 900 on the inventory was also withdrawn from use in 2019. Instead now two second hand Falcon 7X VIP jets have been acquired.
Contrary to the earlier Falcons, these aircraft are not on the military register. They are leased for a period of 12 years from the Belgian company Luxaviation. Support will be provided by Brussels based Abelag Aviation, just opposite the runway from Melsbroek airbase where the Falcons will operate from. The contract is a so-called ‘dry lease’ which means no staff is involved. The aircraft will be flown and operated by Belgian Air Force personnel of the 21 smaldeel (squadron) of 15 Wing.
Although the aircraft are not owned by the air force, they are getting a coat of paint similar to earlier VIP aircraft, including roundels and squadron markings. Because of operational commitments the first Falcon 7X was put into service directly after arrival earlier this year, while still carrying the former civil colours, but the second one has been sent to The Netherlands for painting first.
Aircraft painter Satys at Lelystad airport was chosen to do this job. The aircraft arrived in August and after exactly a month it was delivered to Belgium on September 16th. Two pilots were brought to Lelystad by bus and after performing an extensive inspection they took the Falcon home. The other aircraft is expected at Lelystad for her turn in the paint shop during the summer of 2021.
As said, the aircraft don’t get a military serial. The civil registrations are not chosen random though. The first one that had already been delivered carries registration OO-LUM, which stands for LUchtMacht or air force in Flemish. The one that has been painted up now is registered OO-FAE, which not surprisingly stands for Force AErienne or air force in French.