Bamf News 8 December 2008

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Brussels, December 2008

2008 is a great year, 2009 will be the great challenge.

As we look back to 2008, it is a very successful year.

The Voisin de Caters is now completed and displayed at the Royal Army Museum thanks to the tenacity of the Museum management. The aircraft is now the centerpiece of a display dedicated to aerostation and to Pierre de Caters, the first belgian pilot.

The organization of the exhibition was in the expert hands of the Museum staff and although the Bamf was not the project leader, our members provided a valuable assistance to this project :

  • Our sponsor, the Hexcel company provided us with the raw material to manufacture the radiator.

  • We found the rear wheels.

  • We found the booms.

  • We provided advice for the final installation of the aircraft and checked out the technical feasibility.

  • Our members acted as advisors for finding the expert partners for the wing’s covering. Some visits permitted to answer our partner’ questions.

  • We designed the presentation panels for the engines displayed and for the replica. The Museum printed these panels.

  • We restored a Bleriot scale model.

  • We prepared publications on the project and helped to spread the information produced by the Public Relations of the Museum.

  • We produced picture CD’s and drawings sets.

  • In the previous years, the bamf already provided a financial assistance to manufacture the lower wings with our partner, Etablissements Poncelet.

Although taking part in a multi discipline team from different organizations is as complicated in a public establishment as well as in the private industry, the project was successful and a amazing experience for the Bamf.

The Museum was also very active in a lot of other activities in 2009. An Avro Anson and a Bristol Sycamore were acquired. Although the Anson will need an in deep restoration but this is a unique witness of Sabena history which entered the collections. The Sycamore was a unique opportunity to fill a gap in the use of helicopters in the Belgian Armed forces. The Auster was finely refurbished by the Museum teams and both the Halberstadt and the Lysander restorations are well underway. Some aircraft, specially the WW2 Allied aircrafts were repositioned to offer a new view to the public. Lighting was also installed in the WW1 gallery. There are Museum’s projects lead by the Museum staff and a very significant sight of a renewed enthusiasm in the Air & Space Hall. Our contributions to these projects were limited to provide as much support as possible spreading the information thru our revamped website or by our members working as advisors. We thank the Museum, his management and its personal for the confidence in the support we can provide.

On other fronts, we continue our traditional activities and started new initiatives. We provided printers to the Historical team, one of these is now serving the visitors at the library. We still host with pleasure the André Dillien’s lists or the website of the “Belgians in Saaf & Raf 1940-1945”. It is very motivating to be associated with such a successfully team.

We started publishing the drawings of Dragan Saler & André Hiernaux. We financed three paintings by Claude Lesoil to illustrate the B-25 and the de Caters. The positive reactions of the public encourage us to go ahead with these activities.

On the public relations side, we continue to maintain and develop our worldwide network. We displayed the “B-25 circus” at the Melsbroek open days, being visited by General Van Caelenberg & Minister De Crem. This event permitted to strengthen our relations with our dutch colleagues. We were also present at Le Bourget and La Ferté-Allais with our friends of Memorial Flight and Jet Alpine. We received the strong support of Sabca and we will help to introduce the history of this company to the visitors of the Museum.

Last but not least, our restorers were also working as bees. The first Tipsy is seeing the end of her restoration and the second one is now a very active workplace. The team working on the Dragon is completing the fuselage, an obscure and long run job but this is the price to pay for excellence. The Storch is just waiting for a few panels to be completed.

Our masterpiece remains the Mitchell with a quite lot of work performed in 2008. The aircraft was prepared for the anti corrosion process in Lokeren. As much as possible of the equipment was removed from the aircraft. The process should normally be completed in January 2009. An insurance contract was signed for the volunteers who work on the aircraft. The worldwide hunt for parts is now open.

We thank all our sponsors, partners, friends and members who made this year 2008 so rewarding.

For sure, 2009 will be a challenging year as the rhythm of the projects will speed up and the need for resources will increase.

We hope the Museum will continue to evolve in the same dynamic way as in 2008. We already heard of renovation works in the premises but this time taking in account a professional communication and access for the public.

We know the economic situation will also be very difficult. Your support is so more important in 2009 than never before. For those providing us with a gift of 50 Euro or more, we have prepared two albums depicting the de Caters aircraft and the “making of” of the construction of this aircraft.

By making a donation please do not forget to mention the project which you support and which album you will be pleased to receive. We really need you. The collections need your support. You do contribute to expand our common heritage

Do not hesitate to visit us at www.bamf.be or at the Museum every Saturday.

Merry Christmas & Happy New year

Cordially yours

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Brussels Air Museum Foundation a.s.b.l / v.z.w.. c/o Royal Army Museum Parc du Cinquantenaire/Jubelpark, 3 1000 Brussels

Bank Account ING 310-1844762-05 IBAN: BE96310184476205 BIC: BBRUBEBB

ISSN 1782-3951

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