"20 Years of the Alpha Jet in the Belgian Air Force"
By Marc Arys
Soft Cover, 169 colour photos, 1 black and white photo and 22 black and white line drawings. English text.
The Alpha jet was a French (Dassault-Breguet) and German (Dornier) joint project to develop a trainer for their respective Airforces. Marc Arys has gone to great lengths to research this book on this trainer used by over ten countries around the world. Belgian pilots would advance from this trainer into the F-16's in use by the Belgian Airforce. This book focuses mainly on the Alpha Jets in use with the Belgian Airforce, although the history and development parts of this book deal with the complete French/German history of this trainer. The book clearly lays out the history of this very stable and pilot friendly jet trainer. From the Alpha Jets history, development, in-service maintenance, simulators, a very complete walkaround of the plane with 92 or more walkaround photos. Also included in this book are wingpod weapon loads, a cut away drawing of the plane, line drawings showing the ejection sequences under different situations and much more.
I've always had a fascination with 2 seat fighter aircraft and trainers in particular. When I heard of this book, I was quite pleased that someone would go to the time and effort to research a trainer. Books about frontline fighters are easy to come by, but books about trainers are very rare indeed. My perspective is from 2 angles.......general aviation and scale modelling.
From a general aviation point of view this book seems to hit every topic I'd be curious about. Reading about the maintenance schedule and viewing very clear colour photos of the maintenance hangers with jets in various stages of repair is a sight not often experienced by non-military types. The explanation of the various weapon pods that can be carried by this jet on training missions gives a good insight into the role the Alpha Jet plays in preparing the pilot for their next plane....the F-16. Although the Alpha Jet can be used as an attack aircraft to support ground troops, it's primary role with the Belgian Airforce is that of a trainer. In then hands of a skilled instructor pilot, the Alpha Jet has been known to outclass a student pilot in an F-16. There are colour photos in this book of the various colourful and creative paint jobs various Alpha Jets have carried throughout the years in the aerobatic and demonstration roles at airshows....including one on the "Batman" theme...."A Batplane" if you will (decals for this one are available in 1/72 from DACO PRODUCTS in Belgium - Alpha Jet "Batbird" - Ref. D7211).
From a modelling perspective, this book seems to hit everything I could ask for in a book. There are colour photos of the exterior, landing gear, wheel wells, cockpit, ejection seat out of the plane, weapons systems and plenty of colour photos of open hatches if the modeller was so inclined to begin super detailing one of the 1/72 or 1/144 Alpha Jet kits available on the market (although super detailing open hatches in 1/144 is unlikely). Marc has covered most detail areas of this trainer with an eye for the detail a modeller would want in walkaround photos.
For kits and decals for this plane there is a reasonable selection, although nothing currently in 1/48 (there was a 1/48 kit of the Alpha Jet made by ESCI...thanks goes to Dustin Faulkner for informing me about this 1/48 kit) , there is a good selection of items in 1/72 and even some in 1/144.
Concerning Alphajets decals, I found some more :
- Carpena 72.37 "Gulf Air Arm 2" : Qatar Alphajet 1E
- ModelArt 72028 : French Alphajet ET 1/8, ET 2/8, ETO 00/008, '96 60th anniversary
- ModelArt 72031 : French Alphajet '95 "Patrouille de France" acrobatic team
- Modeldecal 72057 : French Alphajet '78 CEAM, '80 ET 1/314
I closing, I would say if you have an interest in trainers or the Alpha Jet in particular, and if you want some good information and photos of this plane, then this book is well worth picking up.
For more information on how to order this book or to view the photos contained in this book....go to http://users.skynet.be/marys
This review copy was kindly provided by Marc Arys
In an e-mail Steve Bamford
received this further information from:
About the Belgium Air Force in
general and the Alpha Jet in particular you can also reach the following web
The official BAF website ;
another good website is
unofficial by very complete BAF website constantly updated by M.Daniel De
If needed, bring with you an english/french dictionary, this last superb website is in french language only.