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After an original idea by Paul Freeman.
First published 7 Nov 2010. This collection of airfields is © 2010 - 2017 RonaldV
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As (Asch)

23-06-2011

15-04-2017

603

50°59'28"N 005°33'48"E

Asch (or As) airfield (Dutch: vliegplein Asch or vliegveld As, French: Champ d'avion Asch) was originally built in 1917 by the German army occupying Belgium, close to the city of Genk, 85 kilometer east of Brussels.
They used the airfield as a weapons training facility (German: Fliegerschießschule, or pilots firing school). For its time it was rather large, having a 1100 by 800 metres grass airfield and several metal hangars and brick support buildings. The first aircraft to take off from the airfield did so on 26 May 1917.

Asch-1917.jpg
View of the Asch Fliegerschießschule in 1917 (jasta11.co.uk)

After the war, the airfield was pressed into service as a flying school by the Belgian army. They left in 1926 however, and the airfield was then split in two: the hangars and airfield were bought by one Jozef Mardaga. The remaining grounds and the Officers Casino were built by baronesse de Beeckman-Wittouck. She converted the property into an orphanage, which existed until 2003. 

Asch_around1924.jpg
The front terrace of the Officers Casino, ca. 1924

Today, the hangars and airfield are completely gone, only the concrete floor of one of the hangars still remains in the woods that now cover the area. The flying field is now occupied by a go-kart center. Until a few years ago, only the former officers casino remained standing. By late 2009 the building had been looted and severely mistreated, but it's old Colonialism grandeur could still be seen. When on New Years Eve 2009 somebody started a fire in one of the orphanage auxiliary buildings the Major of As had the entire area fenced off and guarded. 
For some years, several organisations and individuals tried to get the local and provincial governments to restore the building to its former glory. Another fire ended that dream though and the building was torn down in 2013.

Asch-2002.jpg
Front side of the orphanage in 2002, its final year in operation.

asch2008.jpg
Rear side of the former Officers Mess/Casino of airfield Asch in June 2008 (photo RonaldV)

This airfield is not to be confused with the airfield of Asch (Y-29) , which is located about 3.5 kilometers to the Southeast at present day Air Base Zutendaal, although other sources claim it was about 3 kilometers east of Asch




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