Local residents were once again treated to the sights and sounds of fighter jets soaring in the sky above Happy Valley – Goose Bay as the Belgian Air Force (BAF) stopped at 5 Wing, for a two-day layover on May 21.
The nine F-16 fighter jets, two United States Air Force KC-10 refuelling tankers, and two BAF C-130 Hercules were at 5 Wing for a stop enroute to this year’s Maple Flag exercise being held at 4 Wing Cold Lake.
Exercise Maple Flag is an international air combat exercise held annually to provide Canadian and Allied aircrew with realistic training in a modern simulated air combat environment. Some of this year's participating nations include Canada, Belgium, Colombia, Germany, the Netherlands, Republic of Singapore, United States of America, and the United Kingdom.
All BAF F-16s were easily housed within hangar 8, a very large building that is central to Wing Operations at 5 Wing Goose Bay, and where many transient aircraft are housed.
Major Ed Roberds, the Wing Operations Officer was on hand for the arrival of the BAF.
“For me, it was extremely exciting having worked in NATO for four and a half years to see the Belgian F-16s arrive at 5 Wing. We (5 Wing) work hard to maintain a top-notch airfield and it is great to see military aircraft and personnel on our ramp.
The newly renovated hangar 8 building has upgraded maintenance, as well as mission planning areas, giving it the ability to be ready on a moment's notice to accept aircraft. In addition, power units for aircraft and ample storage have also been added. These upgrades and renovations are another example of how 5 Wing Goose Bay is moving forward and providing world class facilities to satisfy the growing requirement for future training and operations on the base.
5 Wing Goose Bay boasts the third busiest airport in Atlantic Canada, with traffic increasing. It is a major stopping point for medical diversions, and has proven its ability to provide food and shelter for hundreds of passengers when aircrafts have suddenly encountered mechanical issues and are diverted to 5 Wing.
With its world class facilities and airspace that is second to none for any type of aircraft operations, 5 Wing Goose Bay, gateway to the north, is in a position to grow.