The Cerfontaine Aerodrome has a whole new look. Under brand new management, it is steering aviation towards ecology.
“Everything has been designed to reduce the carbon footprint. We are planning to put in photovoltaic panels, electric charging stations, a cleaner fuel pump… We really are banking on technology to reduce pollution”, explains Stéphane Bertozzi, the Cerfontaine Aerodrome Manager. The aerodrome has been undergoing major changes for a few months now. Several projects are underway aiming at reducing the site’s pollution.
Ecological approach has already taken off
Alongside these plans for the future, the aerodrome’s team maintains the site in such a way as to combine aeronautics and nature as harmoniously as possible. First special feature: no tarmac: instead, 2 grass-covered runways, each measuring 800 metres. “The runways are maintained in a way that respects biological norms. In the near future, we are hoping to achieve zero pesticides. We are currently triallingdifferent methods”, he clarified.
The runways are surrounded by meadows, fields and woods: second special feature of the site. “We practice what we call “late mowing”, so as to respect plant and animal life”, he explained. An itinerary of approximately 1.5 km, nicknamed the “eco-trail”,should be appearing shortly. The idea is to have a free educational trail that can be used by schools and families to explain all of the things the site does to promote biodiversity. In particular, there are insect hotels, beehives and flowery meadows. Furthermore, all of the information panels along the trail will be made out of wood.
An educational trail will explain the aerodrome’s environmental approach
Finally, several new plants are to be grown over the aerodrome’s 55 hectares which will diversify the fauna and flora.
From up in the air: views of woods, water and fields
“It is one of the most beautiful sites in Belgium for parachute jumping”, explains a seasoned parachutist. “When you jump here, you can see the dams at the l’Eaud’Heure lakes, the tiny surrounding villages, the forests, the fields. There are barely any roads.”
In fact, this aerodrome has been a roaring success with parachutists, mainly because there is so much to see from the air. Each year, from mid-June to mid-September, over 12,000 jumps are performed. Among them there are regular parachutists and tandem jumpers, those jumping for the first time and those hoping to obtain their skydiving certificate.
The aerial site is a hit with the public due to its lush green countryside
The parachutists who come are very mixed. Those taking the big leap are aged between 7 and 97, with most falling into the 25-50 category. “We welcome quite a few hen and stag parties as well as marriage proposals, for example”, Stéphane Bertozzi goes on to say.
So many activities to leave you dancing on air
Whilst parachuting is especially popular, it is not the only sport that draws people toCerfontaine. There is a whole host of leisure activities to discover on site. You can take a helicopter flight, fly in a ULM, a hot air balloon or even try out a glider. “A gliding club has recently taken up residence at the site. They offer gliding initiations and flying courses”, he explained.
Aside from the activities up in the air, private events can also be organised around the runways. “The l’Eau d’Heure Valley Trek was held here, for example. Riders and their horses roamed over the whole region, starting with the fields at the aerodrome”.
And for those who prefer to keep their feet on terra firma, a club house allows you to enjoy the views from the side of the runways.
50, Route des Lacs
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