2020 Through the lens of the Low Approach members: Laurent Heyligen


Deciding on a Top 5 for 2020 was not an easy task.  2020 has been a bizar spotting year for most of us, but with a bit of creativity I managed to make the best out of it.  No exciting trips, airshows or base visits, but one museum trip to Germany, a few quick hops to Nörvenich and a few new delivieres to the Royal Netherlands and Luxembourg Air Forces complete the list.


The first picture was made during one week trip to Germany where I managed to squeeze in 11 museums in…. 6.5 days.  A bit of careful planning (during the lockdown) and virtually empy museums mean that you can make a good tempo.  The picture shows a not so commonly seen former Soviet Air Force Yakovlev Yak28R Brewer-D that is on display in the Luftfahrtmuseum on the former airbase of Finow near Berlin.

In a another German museum I photographed this ex-Sabena and ex-Belgian Air Force Sikorsky S58C.  After flying with Sabena and the Belgian Air Force it flew with a German company before being preserved/stored for many years at Frankfurt airport.  In late 2019 it was acquired by the Flugwelt Museum at Altenburg (a bit South of Leipzig) were it is now being restored in its original Sabena colors.

The first flying picture for this year was made during ‘the’ spotter event of year at Nörvenich, where in late August a detachment of 6 Israeli F16s with several support aircraft arrived for a two-week deployment.  On the picture you can see a Lockheed-Martin F16C ‘Barak’ from 101 ‘The First Fighter Squadron’ that is based at Hatzor.  I am sure that this deployment was the highlight of the year for many spotters in our area !

Next on the list is a nice landing shot of one of the first two Airbus A330MRTT Multi-role tanker-transport aircraft that were delivered to Eindhoven airbase this summer.  It’s part of a new multi-national collaboration between (up to now) six countries who have ordered 9 of these aircraft.  It’s seen here during landing back at Eindhoven in the Netherlands after one of its many training missions this summer. 

Not only the Royal Netherlands Air Force welcomed a new aircraft type, but also the Belgian-Luxembourg 20th Squadron based at Melsbroek finally received the first of 8 Airbus A400M transport aircraft this year.  The first aircraft, serialled CT-01, in fact the only example ordered by the Luxembourg Air Force, arrived on September 9th in very bad weather.  Luckily I managed to capture it again in early November when it arrived back after its first training mission over the United Kingdom in some nice evening sunshine.

Text & Photography: Laurent Heyligen