2004: In an old shed along the Maarlose Dijk, Jos “Moustache” Palmers is collecting all kind of aviation objects, concentrating on all items that may be linked to history of the 31st “Tiger” Squadron, 10th Wing, Kleine-Brogel. His broad collection however is in dire straits mainly due to moisture and temperature problems. The Base Commander, Colonel Van Caelenberge, comes to his rescue and offers to house the whole collection in Hangar 140. Moving the collection however turns out to be complex and due to lack of manpower the preparation of the hangar takes more time than expected.
2006: Commandant “Celle” Celis, a former 31 Sqn pilot, makes an appeal for help to the 10th Wing veterans.The reactions are hesitant, enthusiasm is low.
April 27th, 2007:
A group of determined volunteers, confronted with the poor state of the collection of Jos Palmers and Hangar 140, realize that this location is not suitable to accommodate a historical museum due to lack of heating and insulation. Displaying photographicmaterial for instance would be utterly impossible.
The new Base Commander, Colonel Wouters, comes up with a solution: he proposes the westerly wing of Building 9, the former but abandoned Maintenance Group building, as future home of the 10th Wing museum.
To provide legal protection for the volunteers against liability, a non profit association is founded called ’Kleine-Brogel Air Museum’ (KBAM). A starting budget is provided by the 10th Wing combined with a donation by the ‘Friends of the 31st Sqn’.
At the same time the newly founded KBAM participates in a contest organized by the Flemish Community, aiming to promote the conservation of flying and rolling stock. The project proposed by the museum is accepted and a considerable subsidy is assigned.
In September the renovation works in Building 9 are started: doors have to be removed and new doorways have to be cut to guarantee an uninterrupted flow of people throughout the museum. The whole inside of the building has to be freshly painted, lighting fixtures are to be repaired or replaced by spotlights and practical systems to suspend the picture panels are to be installed.
2008: The aircraft on display at “Hof Bergendal” are cleaned, sanded and filled as necessary. They receive a primer coating, a new color coat and brand new insignia.
Meanwhile Mister Kelchtermans, the mayor of Peer donates a 1953 Willys Jeep.While picture panels are being made, a 1943 map, scale 1/25.000 and two razor sharp aerial pictures of the airfield in 1951 and 1970 are donated by the National Geographic Institute.
Financial difficulties however are looming at the horizon: the new KBAM is informed that the second part of the subsidy of the Flemish Community will only be paid after the completion of the museum. The 10th Wing initially agrees to lend this money until completion but is not able to fulfill this promise. Luckily however the City of Peer comes to rescue through a loan without interest which is eventually only paid out in March 2009.
In September, 2009 a couple of master modelers donate more than ten airplane models which are immediately stored behind glass.
2009: As a result of the financial problems the opening of the museum is delayed by four months. The volunteers however work as fast as possible trying to make the deadline of October 31, 2009.
The Jeep is repainted and the starter of the ‘Devils’ pilot van is replaced by a second hand one. This is all done by 10th Wing personnel after duty hours.
Meanwhile the volunteers of the documentation center (DocCen) start selecting out of thousands of pictures those needed for the picture panels, and are writing the accompanying texts.
At the same time the members of the “Panel Team” are laminating these pictures and texts, gluing them on cardboard and fixing them on the panels .
A Tiger covered Jaguar Sedan still in driving condition finds its final location on the parking in front of the museum.
At the same time the museum opens its own website.
The “touchdown” of the assigned Fouga Magister is delayed due to asbestos problems in the depot Vissenaken. An intervention of the Defense Minister, Mr. De Crem provides a swift solution.
Good news arrives from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics after their decision to support the project.
Even the American 701 Munitions Support Squadron personnel provides pictures and texts, covering their history since they started working together with the 10th Wing. A delegation of non commissioned officers donates a flag of the USA, complete with flagpole and support base.
On August 17th the museum is visited by a representative of the Flemish Community, Ms K. Moermans: the spending of the first part of the assigned budget is audited and turns out positive. She also provides advise to extend the initial deadline until the end of January 2010 without problems.
October 15: Paesen, a local construction company, offers a truckload of gravel to finish the parking of the Fouga Magister.
October 8: The Flemmish Community grants the delay and sets the final date for 'Project KB Air Museum' at Januari 31, 2010.
The 701 MUNNS supports the search for an original radiator for the ’53 Willys, which is eventually purchased October 9th.
2010: On January 20th the Kleine-Brogel Air Museum is officially opened by the Base commander, Colonel Vansina in the presence of Mayor Kelchtermans and Major General Van de Voorde, Commander of the Belgian Air Component.