Formation by dawn, a short story with a little bit of BAF history
On the 9th of January 1992 Achille RUMA former Pilot of BAF and later on Flight Captain on B-747 at SABENA made his last flight before retirement from New York to Brussels.
To surprise, celebrate and give him a last flight on Boeing 747 he never would forget, Florennes AFB send four F-16’s and 15th Wing two C-130 of in the air to give Achille the formation flight of his life. Once we were over the Channel we joined up on him and flew a formation over Belgium never seen before.
Of course people on the ground saw this formation too and asked the newspapers what was happening ? A B-747, in accompany by four F–16’s and two C-130 flying in early morning over Belgium and called all the Belgian newspapers asking if they know what was happening. Next morning it was front news in all the newspapers and only then the Chief of Air Staff got informed also about what happened the day before and was not so happy about it.
Being the only photographer informed about that mission,that morning lying down on the open ramp of one of the C-130’s in the early ice cold winter weather toke the picture of those four F-16’s.
In the beginning I wasn’t allowed to publish the pictures, later on the picture was made on a 75’ by 100’ inches size to decorate the BAF staff conference room.
Some years later the Belgium post office services made a collection of stamps about the different sections of Belgium Defense to commemorate the anniversary of 50 years of NATO. For presentation of the Belgian Air Force they choose that picture for that stamp who was produced at thousends of 7 frank stamps