09 Apr 2024

Celebrating 80 years of flight at Namur Aerodrome

Founded in 1944 as an American air base, Namur Aérodrome in Belgium celebrated its 80th anniversary this March. The airstrip has welcomed all sorts of aircraft, from Douglas C-47s to Cessna 150s over the years, with helicopters, gliders, skydivers and drones also regularly using the airfield. The Royal Belgian Aeroclub chose to highlight the importance of Namur Aérodrome’s contribution to national air sports by participating in the anniversary event.

Namur Aerodrome 80th anniversary
Air displays took place during the 80th anniversary open day at Namur Aerodrome.

Air displays, flight and skydiving experiences, a flight simulator, aeromodelling and drone demonstrations and an antique aircraft stand also formed part of the open day, which was free to visit on 23 March 2024, from 11.00-18.00. Families were welcomed at the aerodrome (EBNM), with games and activities for children. The Royal Belgian Air Cadets were also present to showcase the organisation to potential new glider pilots who could join the 200 cadets already enrolled.

Namur aerodrome cadets
Royal Belgian Air Cadets at the 80th anniversary celebrations of Namur Aérodrome

Jacques Berlo, President of FAI Member, the Royal Belgian Aeroclub (the NAC for Belgium) was pleased to participate in the event:

"The 80th anniversary celebration at Namur Aérodrome, with so many air sports disciplines being demonstrated, was the perfect opportunity to highlight the work of the Royal Belgian Aeroclub and FAI. Congratulations to the aérodrome for a successful event which showcased air sports in Belgium.”

Gliding above Namur Aérodrome

about the Royal aeroclub of belgium

The Royal Belgian Aeroclub was one of the earliest aeronautical organisations to exist, with its history dating back to 1901. It was a founding member of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) in 1905 and has enjoyed a long and fruitful participation with FAI over the years.

The air sports organisations belonging to the Royal Aeroclub of Belgium are: Aeromodelling, Aerobatics, Ballooning, Gliding, Hang Gliding and Paragliding, Paramotor, Skydiving and Rotorcraft. 

Namur skydiving
Skydiving is among the air sports on offer at Namur Aérodrome

Namur Aerodrome: a brief history

Although the aérodrome site in Temploux, Wallonia was first used by German reconnaissance planes in 1917, it wasn’t until 1944 that the American army re-discovered it when seeking a base that it became a more permanent site. Used as a strategic base for the repatriation of WWII prisoners, Douglas C-47 aircraft used the steel planking runway until the end of WWII when the air base was no longer required. Not long after, in 1947, the aerodrome was re-opened as a gliding school, ‘Aéro Club de la Meuse’. The metal runway was removed, and the grass airstrip was regularly used by trainee pilots from 23rd June that year.

Government and private investment during the 70s and 80s developed the facilities, with the aérodrome beginning a new era in 2017 under a change of management. The site was updated with an asphalt runway in 2018 and a new building with restaurant and rooftop bar was inaugurated in 2021.

Interactive activities for families at the 80th anniversary celebrations

Images supplied by Namur Aérodrome