2016 Event Review

Belgian Air Force Days, June 25-26, 2016
Location: Florennes Air Base, Belgium
Admission: 15 €, free entrance for children under 12 years
Parking: Off site no shuttle buses provided. This meant up to ¾ of an hour to walk from parking lot to the show area!!!
Value: Medium
Rating out of 10: 7
 

RDAF F16 Solo Display

This year's Belgian Air Force Days at Florennes Air Base were to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Belgian Air Force. A big air show was set up on June 25-26, both days filled with flying displays of the finest. The show was a good mixture of current military aircraft and warbirds.

As Belgium had not yet decided which aircraft is to replace their ageing F-16, the Belgian Air Force Days also provided a forum for the aircraft manufacturers Dassault with the Rafale, Eurofighter with the EF2000 Typhoon and Saab with the JAS39 Gripen. While the spectators enjoyed impressive flying performances of these jets, another competitor, Lockheed only showed a mockup of its F-35 Lightning II in the static display.

Other fast jet displays were performed by F-16 Solo Display teams of the Belgian Air Force and the Danish Air Force. The heavy and powerful Mig-29s from Poland and Slovakia along with Swiss and Spanish F-18s contributed perfectly to the noisy part of the air show. Not as loud as these jets, however likewise fascinating to watch, were several warbirds like the Spitfire, P-51 Mustang, North American T-28B Trojan, North American Harvard AT-6 or the B-25 Mitchell and, rarely seen, a Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAS) "Boomerang". The good old times of biplanes came to life with a formation of three Stampe SV-4, a training aircraft in the early 1930. Despite being a military air show, one of the highlights was a civilian aircraft: the Lockheed Super Constellation, the only airworthy one in Europe.
No international air show without top aerobatic teams – the Patrouille de France on Saturday and the Red Arrows on Sunday. Two small but nevertheless excellent teams showed their expertise in formation flying – the Red Devils of the Belgian Air Force with the Marchetti SF-260 and the civilian team The Victors with the Piper PA 28. The smallest team with only two Mirage 2000N nuclear strike aircraft was the French Air Force's Ramex Delta team. They provided a stunning and noisy role demonstration of various tactical maneuvers as they are used in combat situations. Three weeks after this air show, the team flew their last official display at the Royal International Air Tattoo.

The display of the Ramex Delta team was a worthy end of a varied and manifold program on a cloudy and rainy Saturday. In general it was far from the best as air show go:static display was unsuitable for taking photos (aircraft parked too close to each other, cordoned off close to the aircraft), the crowd line was too far away from display axis and runway, and the long walk from the parking lot did not helped the rating.

Performers included:

Belgian Red Devils

Belgian A-16AM Solo Team

Patrouille de France (Saturday)

Red Arrows (Sunday)

Ramex Delta

SAF JAS-39C Gripen

FAF Dassault Rafale

Slovak AF MiG-29AS

Swiss AF F-18

Spanish F-18

Italian AF Eurofighter

RNLAF AH-64D Apache Solo Team

P-51D Mustang

Spitfire

B-25

Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAS) "Boomerang"

Stampe SV-4

Lockheed Super Constellation

Report and photography by Ralf P Walter for The Aviation Magazine

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