The Jet Age

After the creation of the Belgian Air Force, the Belgian authorities began to develop this force. The foundations for this new air force are 349 and 350 Squadron. They will call Beauvechain their home for the next 50 years. In the coming years, the Air Force will face major changes and the threat as known during the Second World War will change. For the start-up of the air force, Beauvechain proved to be the most suitable, both in terms of location and it was also the airfield that had suffered the least damage during the war years.


Spifire XVI & XIV

October 1946

Before arriving at Beauvechain the 25 th of October 1946. 349 Squadron together with 350 Squadron made a detour from Fassberg to Evere for the opening ceremony of the newly formed Air Force. 

Later that day the sky skies over Beauvechain were filled with the beautifull sound of spitfire engines. The spitfires with the blue noses and the marking GE will be the symbol of 349 Squadron.

December 1946

01 December 1946, Major Louis "Manu" Geerts DFC and former CO of 609 Squadron becomes the new squadron leader.


January 1947

16 January 1947, The first fatal accident for 349 since the end of war. Lt Eric Born crashes over Beauvechain with his spitfire XVI TB373. His engine failed on take off.

March 1947

In March 1947, 349 (Belgian) Squadron, who is still under command of the remaned 160 Day Fighter Wing, receives bit by bit their spitfire XIV, equipped with the Rolls Royce Griffon 65 engine. The nose had 5 blades to master all that new power.

September 1947

02 September 1947 another fatal accident occurs. 1Sgt Georges Spiette crashlands spitfire LF IX MH 366 at Etterbeek while conveying the plane from UK to Belgium. Engine troubles were the cause of the accident.

November 1947

05 November1947, Major Paul Dechamps becomes the new Squadron leader.


1948 ,the squadron receives the news to become the first Belgian Jet Squadron. In May 1948 the decision on buying the Gloster Meteor was taken by the Belgian Governement. The first Trainers will arrive in September of that year.

July 1948




July 1948, Major Marcel Mullenders is among the Belgian Air Force pilots the only one to have some operational background on "Jet". Being a pilot within the RAF 616 Sqn during the war, his squadron was the first to be equipped with the Meteor F.3 fighter. He was also part of the first five pilots of the squadron to be converted on Meteor. His experience made him the ideal person to lead the Squadron into the jet age. making 349 Squadron the first Belgian Jet Squadron of the Belgian Air Force.

At the same time former CO of 349 Squadron A. Van de Velde becomes Wing Commander of the 1st Fighter Wing


From the 12th of July till the 7th of August 1948, 349 and 350 Squadron go to Koksijde for firing practice


April 1949

In April 1949 349 receives the first batch of Meteor F4. EF 2, EF6 and EF7 are the first 3 arriving in the Squadron and making 349 the first Belgian Jet Squadron. Transition training is done on the Meteor T7

04 April 1949, creation of NATO, in which Belgian joined. With this decision, the Air Force will change dramatically. This was done by the creation of additional squadrons.

May 1949

by the 15th of May , 349 Squadron started with operational flights on Jet and was fully equipped with the Meteor IV.


June 1949

12 June 1949, 349 Squadron under lead of Maj Mullenders participates at the International Aviation Meeting at Evere AF. Preforming a acrobatic display with 9 Meteor IVs 

September 1949

23 September 1949, the 1 Wing participated in Exercise Bulldog. This is the first time the Belgian air force participating is an exercise bringing NATO members together. This is the first time since the war that the old war pilots returning to England.


August 1950

04 August 1950, Captain Leon Divoy becomes Squadron Leader.