Last Demo for Cdt. John Vandebosch.
On October 28th, John Vandebosch performed his very last demo in front of his colleagues and team members on his home base Kleine Brogel. Take-off was at 1630 pm and this was followed with a very high speed pass over the base. He pulled 9G turns and also some negative Gs were executed during his last display.
Very high G turn, the trademark of John Vandebosch
John flew three full airshow seasons as Belgian demo pilot. And this job brought and a lot of work and sacrifices. Besides being a demo pilot he also had to fulfil his daily job as a fighter pilot in 31 Tiger squadron. Over those three years John flew dozens of demo’s and went from the south of France to Greece and from England to Poland and so on.
Cutting the corners in full afterburner.
Being a demo pilot is a full time job. Besides the daily routine at the squadron, John needs to practice his demo and he needs to plan everything for the upcoming airshow. When the fellow pilots of his squadron went home on Friday night, John was already abroad for an airshow. But he was never alone, technicians, crew chiefs and a spare pilot followed John abroad becoming a real family enjoying some very good times.
F-16AM FA-82 is up and away after a very slow pass.
After his last demo at Kleine Brogel a small ceremony was organised upon which John received a well deserved ‘Job well done’ from his colleagues. But not only his colleagues told him it was a great job he had done, almost at every airshow John received very good comments and people were always amazed with his performance and the amount of skill he demonstrated as a presentation pilot.
The ever smiling John tasting one of the better Belgian beers upon its final demonstration.
But this is not the final end for John as a demo pilot. His successor will be Cdt. Michael “Mickey” Artiges from Florennes based N° 350 squadron. As "Mickey" needs to acquire the basic knowledge as a demo pilot, for the next couple of weeks John will fly together with him to teach some basic items and key figures a demo pilot needs to know.
So as from next year we will see "Mickey" performing at airshows and not John the man who is pulling 9G turns and negative G’s during the display. But as John said, "As a demo pilot you represent a country and your job is to promote the Belgian air force while it is always a challenge to perform an airshow demo. With "Mickey" being very happy and extremely motivated to take over as next Belgian F-16AM presentation pilot, Belgium and its Air Force will continue to have an outstanding performer at the European airshow scene".
Job well done for John and the very best for Mickey.
Text and pictures by
Dirk Voortmans (10/05)
Last updated 26/10/12 09:11 Daniel Brackx