It all starts at the age of 12, in 1971.

How can you one day feel the need to enrol in the military, and more precisely in the Air Force ? 

It all starts at the age of 12, in 1971. At my holy communion, a friend of mine from primary school, who also did his holy communion, offers me a small gift, as it is usual between friends in the time.
He has the smart idea of offering me a plastic building kit of an aircraft ; it’s an Airfix model at the scale of 1/72 of a Blackburn Buccaneer.
 

02 Buccaneer Airfix


Very good idea indeed, as I immediately feel attracted by the aircraft plastic-models in particular. The first kit will soon be followed by another one, another one, then plenty of other ones.
While building one after the other, I will collect the building notices included in the kits as they contain a chapter concerning the history and the characteristics of the aircraft.
My interest for military as well as civilian aircraft slowly grows. A little later, at 14-15, I start buying specialised magazines, my first one is Aviation Magazine International, later I change and go for Le Fana de l’Aviation, that is still published today.
 


 

Then come the information requests addressed to the Belgian Air Force and Sabena, to receive pictures and information concerning Belgian civilian and military aircraft of that time.
I stay staring at the sky for long times looking at the various fighter planes training in the sky of the Ardennes. Even at night, I cannot resist going outside when a Mirage or a Starfighter fly by, the latest being easily recognized by the howling noise of its engine.

My mother laughs at me saying : “He’s happy now, he saw some lights !”

In 1975, the documents I receive from the Belgian Air Force often contain booklets explaining the different available careers : pilot, technician, air traffic controller etc.
 

I am certainly very interested in flying but my parents very quickly bring me back to earth. Flying amongst other qualities requires a very good sight and I was unluckily born with a non reversible and non curable defect in my right eye. My parents explain that due to this fact it will not be possible for me to consider a career as a pilot.
At that time, I am in secondary school A2 in the electromechanical department and everything works well without to much problems. As I am anyway more and more interested in aviation, it’s only natural that I make my way toward military aviation.
In the seventies, it’s not easy to join companies such as Sabena without experience ; the Air Force offers a training right after secondary school. In addition, it offers a good salary right from the beginning even as technician trainee.

In early 1978, I’m at the end of the college cycle in the A2 electromechanical cycle and the Air Force Technical School offers a particularly well adapted training. It’s a one-year-course in aircraft mechanics, called complementary A2 also called A2C.
 

I fill all the necessary administrative forms to join the selection examinations to become a technical NCO by following the complementary A2 courses for aircraft mechanics.
My first choice is “Air Force”, second “Navy” and, as I’m less interested, “Infantry” last.
The final choice will be driven by my results at the selection examinations…..

NEXT : The selections     

 

 

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