Belgian Air Component 2009 Air Displays

 

 On June 2nd, the Belgian Air Component officially presented its display pilots at Beauvechain Airbase. As Lieutenant-General Gerard Van Caelenberge expressed it, the Belgian Air Component is like a company that has to show its capabilities to its shareholders, the taxpayers. All display aircraft are standard training or combat aircraft. All display pilots are instructor pilots or operational squadron pilots, practicing and displaying in their spare time. What is shown thus reflects the technical and professional capabilities of the Belgian Air Component.

 

F-16AM

Commandant Michel “Mitch” Beulen is the new Lockheed Martin F-16AM solo display pilot. He flies with No. 349 Squadron of the 10th Tactical Wing in Kleine-Brogel and totalises 2,200 flying hours, 1,750 of which on F-16. His good weather display consists of 17 manoeuvres and is performed in 11.5 minutes. The bad weather show is one minute and two manoeuvres shorter. Weather limitations are 5 kilometres visibility and 10,000 feet ceiling for the full display and 3.7 kilometres and 1,000 feet for the limited show. Maximum acceptable crosswinds do not exceed 25 knots, or 20 knots on wet runways.

Mitch

Mitch

Mitch’s display aircraft, F-16AM-2 FA-134, received a special colour scheme, in which it flew for the first time on May 29th, 2009 at Kleine-Brogel Airbase.

Lockheed F-16AM FA-134

Lockheed F-16AM FA-134

No flashy colour scheme for demo Lockheed F-16AM FA-134 but a very smart looking variant of the operational grey tints.

A.109BA

 

The Agusta A.109BA Hirundo of the Wing Heli at Bierset Airbase will be displayed by two pilots during the 2009 air show season: 2nd Lieutenant Richard “Rikke” Jorissen of No. 18 Squadron and Igor “Gorky” Craeghs of No. 17 Squadron. Rikke totalises 2,500 flying hours and has been Hirundo display pilot since 2006. Gorky has 2,000 flying hours and started displaying in 2007. During the 11 minutes long display, 21 manoeuvres are performed. Weather limitations are 5 kilometres visibility and 1,500 feet ceiling, with winds not exceeding 20 knots. From 15 knots onwards, all stationary and sideways flying manoeuvres are cancelled.

 

The display aircraft is a standard transport helicopter, void of all medical, observation and anti-tank equipment. As the A.109BA has not been designed for air displays, the helicopter is equipped with two g-force meters to measure stress exerted on the airframe during the different manoeuvres. A single display routine causes airframe stress equal to one operational flying hour, hence the helicopter is replaced by another one after 10 displays in order to avoid excessive wear to a single airframe. That is also why all display Hirundoes retain their standard military camouflage. The present mount is H44.

Agusta Team

  2nd Lt Igor “Gorky” Craeghs of No. 17 Sq. (left) and 2nd Lt Richard “Rikke” Jorissen of No. 18 Sq. (right)

Agusta Demo

 SF.260D

 

The venerable SIAI Marchetti SF.260, which is celebrating its 40 years of service and 300,000 flying hours with the Belgian Air Force / Air component in 2009, will be presented to the public by the display team Hardship Red. The name of the team originates from one of the call signs often used for training missions and from the basic colour of No. 5 Squadron at Beauvechain Airbase, which is red. The four aircraft are flown by instructor pilots (IP) Major Jean-François Balon (Red 1, Leader, CO No. 5 Squadron, 3,000 flying hours of which 1,500 on F-16), Commandant Alain Collard (Red 2, Left Wing, IP since 2007, 2,370 flying hours of which 1,500 on C-130) Captain Nicolas Delfosse (Red 3, Right Wing, IP since 2008, 2,050 flying hours of which 1,350 on F-16 in No. 350 Sqn) and Captain Kristof Cloetens (Red 4, Box, IP since 2008, 2,100 flying hours of which 1,349 on F-16 with No. 349 Sqn). Commandant Christophe Deroubaix acts as Red Spare. He is IP since 2001 and totalises 2,100 flying hours, 1,800 of which on SF.260. All 16 manoeuvres flown during the 20 minutes display are standard aerobatic figures taught to student military pilots. Weather limitations are 3.7 kilometres visibility and 1,000 feet ceiling.

Hardship Red

Hardship Red:  (Standing from left to right) Major Jean-François "Jief" Balon (Red 1, Leader, CO No. 5 Squadron), Commandant Alain "Papy" Collard (Red 2, Left Wing), Captain Nicolas "Choco" Delfosse (Red 3, Right Wing), Captain Kristof "Cloety" Cloetens (Red 4, Box) and  Commandant Christophe "Tcholle" Deroubaix (Red spare). In front are two of the team's crew chiefs.

 

The aircraft flown are four standard SIAI Marchetti SF.260M+ basic trainers in the standard yellow and red training colour scheme.

Hardship Red

 

 

2009 BELGIAN AIR COMPONENT FLYING DISPLAYS

 

DATE

COUNTRY

LOCATION

DISPLAY AIRCRAFT

23 MAY

CZ

CASLAV

Hardship Red

06 & 07 JUN

FR

CAZAUX

F-16AM

11 JUN

FR

COGNAC

Hardship Red

14 JUN

FR

TOURS

F-16AM & Hardship Red & A.109BA

19 & 20 JUN

NL

VOLKEL

F-16AM

26 & 27 JUN

AUT

ZELTWEG

F-16AM & A.109BA

27 & 28 JUN

FR

REIMS

F-16AM F-16

04 & 05 JUL

BEL

KOKSIJDE

F-16AM & A.109BA & Hardship Red

11 JUL

UK

YEOVILTON

F-16AM

25 & 26 JUL

UK

SUNDERLAND

F-16AM

22 & 23 AUG

NOR

RYGGE

F-16AM

28 & 30 AUG

BEL

KIEWIT

Hardship Red

29 & 30 AUG

POL

RADOM

F-16AM

29 & 30 AUG

SWI

DITTINGEN

A.109BA

05 & 06 SEP

UK

DUXFORD

A.109BA

05 & 06 SEP

CZ

BRNO

F-16AM

10 SEP

UK

JERSEY

F-16AM

12 SEP

UK

LEUCHARS

F-16AM

19 & 20 SEP

CZ

OSTRAVA

A.109BA

20 SEP

BEL

SANICOLE

F-16AM

11 OCT

UK

DUXFORD

F-16AM

 

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© Jos Schoofs & Daniel Brackx (June 2009)

Last updated 03/06/09 12:56   Daniel Brackx

daniel.brackx@telenet.be