Unveiling Belgian F-104G FX99

It was a very rainy day that 22 September 2023 in the Belgian village of Eigenbilzen, but in our hearts there was one big sunshine! We all loved the F-104, we all had a connection with the F-104. Between the guest were also the Tiger Air Forces Museum of Kleine Brogel with the famous Jos’Snor’Palmers with his crew members. Also our Dutch F-104 D-8114 friends paid a visit as ‘partners in crime’! Also the Belgian Mirage-group from Brustem airbase were present! In all, pilots with their wives, enthousiasts and collegue restorators were there! A little more than about 140 people made it to Eigenbilzen. The FX99 made it’s last official flight at 26 September 1983 as she was ferried from Kleine Brogel airbase to Koksijde for storage accumulating some 2617 flight hours.

From mid 1994 till October 2021 this a/c could be found at Canadian Markham as part of a museum. Two enthusiasts brought her back to Belgium and arrived end October 2021 in Helchteren, very close to it’s home base Kleine Brogel. Due to circumstances the plane was sold to the current owner and IFS member Luc Degens who restored it from the day it arrived in Eigenbilzen at 26 august 2022 at his premises. Dedication and much interest resulted in a magnificent restored Belgian F-104 in a fairly short amount of time, and till today it’s one of the finest examples of a Belgian F-104 that can be found in Belgium.

Back to today, 22 september 2023. The first plans to make the unveiling would be at 16.00h but the weatherconditions didn’t let this to happen. So it was sceduled an hour later, at 17.00h. At this time the weather cleared up and surprise surprise, a three-ship of 349 Sqn F-16s of Kleine Brogel came by to salut the F-104!

Shortly after all former F-104 pilots that were present, gathered around FX99 and just after 17.00h the big black cloth was carefully taken away and the beautiful F-104 s/n FX99 came to view! After a loud applause the plane was welcomed in the Belgian society again! The three Belgian pilots that made that last official flight happening, Cdt. Francois Aerts who flew this FX99 was together with Patrick Steens and John Lemmens, who piloted that time the accompanying TF-104G the FC11 to Koksijde for storage were after 40 years still around and were happy to see each other again at this, more or less, reunion, with fellow fly boys AND with FX99. The plane is now still in the open, but will be put inside in the near future as more like a shelter/hangar will be built at Luc’s premises. 40 Years after her last flight FX99 was again full of life, as the nav-lights were blinking again, and the landing lights shining like never before!

After the unveiling the rain sets in again, as God wanted to say, you’ve had your unveiling, now I can let it rain again… Belgium as from today a real nice and correct restored F-104 again!

From left to right Hans van der Werf, Patrick Steens, Hans Ruijgrok, Wilfried DeBrouwer, Hubert van der Linden, John Lemmens, Chris Christiaens, Mich Kerckhofs, Francois Aerts, Robert Crets and finally Robert Bomans.



I would like to thank Luc Degens for the invitation he gave and wish him all the best of luck with his plans!

Roger Seroo.


  1. Kent Valentine

    Was Willy Blendeman there as well? (Another “star” of the Verlinden Lock On #1)

  2. Yves Duwelz

    Thank you for sharing

  3. Roger Vansieleghem

    I don’t know in what state the F-104G FX 99 arrived at Eigenbilzen, but for an individual to buy an F-104G and have it restored is quite an achievement for which I wish to congratulate Luc Degens.

    May I add that I flew the FX 99 on Dec 10, 1974 and also on July 17, 1975.

  4. Harry Prins Post author

    Thanks Roger for you comment. The aircraft arrived in Belgium in a very bad state after having been outside for many years in a museum in Canada. Indeed it was a great achievement!
    Please let me know how many hours you flew the F-104 in total in the Belgium Air Force, thanks!

    Harry Prins (chairman Int F-104 Society)

  5. Libaers Mark

    Beste allemaal, Dear all,

    Gefeliciteerd met het puike werk en dankbaar voor de mooie momenten voor al mijn medepiloten in 31 SQ – een schitterende groep.

    Congratulations for the magnificent work and thankfull for the incredible times in the companionship of my fellow “Tiger” pilots – a splendid community.

    Tiger Tiger-Tiger


  6. Patrick Janssen

    Another zipper saved for posterity and this for many years to come! With some wing tanks and underwing tanks and my promised C-2 ejection seat in the cockpit she will be even more representative of the KB steed before the electric jet arrived.
    One-O-Four forever!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *