From Lelystad to Grimbergen
When we woke-up on Sunday morning, 28 February 2016, the weather was too good to not to go flying. We called the rental company at Lelystad airport, and one plane was still available until 2pm; a 1973 Reims (France) built Cessna 172. These old Cessna's provide a feeling of flying a Citroën 2CV (especially the doors).
No disrespect for the 2CV
We called the aeroclub at Grimbergen, and the permission to fly there was granted. On the way to Lelystad airport we filed the mandatory cross-border flightplan, and we were airborne at 10.30. The route was direct to Grimbergen, on the way crossing the Gilze-Rijen and Antwerp CTRs.
History Grimbergen airfield
Grimbergen airfield was built in 1939 by the Belgian government. After the German invasion of Belgium in 1940, it became a Luftwaffe base. The control tower is a relic of the occupation. After the liberation of Grimbergen in September 1944, the airfield was used by the RAF until the end of the war.
RAF groundcrew preparing a spitfire for a mission. Grimbergen, December 1944
After the war, the airfield was used by the US army for a while for the temporary storage of army equipment. In 1947 the airfield was given over to civilian use once again, and became home to the major part of Belgium's General Aviation fleet, including the national airline Sabena's Cessna 310-equipped flying school, at which all Belgian ATP students took their training. In 1992 the Flemish Regional Government closed the airfield, but in 1997 the airfield opened again as a private airfield. The management of the airfield is in the hands of the non-profit organisation vzw Recreatief Vliegveld Grimbergen (RVG), which is led by members of the Vliegclub Grimbergen and the Sabena Aeroclub.
View of Aviodrome at Lelystad airport
Final runway 01 Grimbergen airport
Veleda with the C172 at Grimbergen airfield
René at Grimbergen airport
René and Veleda
Alfred Hardy hangars
There are two remarkable hangars on Grimbergen airfield, designed by Alfred Hardy (1900-1965) and constructed in 1947. In the period after the war, Hardy became known with his construction method for concrete mushroom constructions. He was the only Belgian of whom a project was included in the 'Twentieth Century Engineering' retrospective (1964), held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; namely the hangars in Grimbergen.
With a central cylindrical support structure, Hardy's designing principle managed to take advantage of the many qualities of reinforced concrete. The roof consists of a dome and a hollow plate. The concrete of the cantilever plate is subject to radial compressive stress, whilst the tensile stress is being absorbed by a concentric armament.
Alfred Hardy designed hangar under construction
The first creation to which the principle is being applied is at the same time his most famous, the two plane hangars in Grimbergen. Beneath the cantilever, sports planes can be arranged radially and there is room for repair works centrally below the lamppost. The space is closed up by aluminum sliding doors. The sheer typological and functionally compact use compel admiration. With its radius of 25 meters and concrete width between 6 and 12 centimeters this also applies to the technical aspect.
From Grimbergen to Lelystad
After finishing our coffee (the rest of the people at the airfield cafe were drinking beer and wine), we walked back to our plane. We fired-up the engine, and contacted Grimbergen radio. Radio asked us to also pay a cross-border fee, that was forgotten when we payed the landing fee. We went back to the office to pay the extra €5, and then we were off again, back to Lelystad.
Kasteel van Grimveld, Grimbergen
Belgium-Dutch border Meer-Hazeldonk
Power plant Raamsdonksveer
Final runway 05 Lelystad airport