"It’s a longstanding tradition within the Belgian Air Force to have an F-16 Solo Display Team perform during the airshow season. A legacy worth preserving. Once every two or three years, an experienced F-16 pilot is selected to represent the Belgian Air Force internationally. From 2018 onwards, for the next three seasons, Senior Captain (Sr.Cpt.) Stefan Darte will perform at airshows all over Europe with a freshly painted F-16AM."
"Very early in his career, his fellow student pilots gave him his nickname. It was obvious that his surname had to be extended with the addendum 'Vador', referring to the main character in the popular Star Wars movies."
"Sr. Cpt. Stefan Darte was born in 1977. He is a highly experienced pilot which has been flying the F-16 'Fighting Falcon' for some years. He spent most of his career flying with the 1st 'Scottish Thistle' Squadron, 2nd Tactical Wing, based at Florennes Air Base. He's currently a fighter weapons instructor. With nearly 3.000 flying hours on the F-16, 'Vador' will be able to demonstrate the maneuverability of the Fighting Falcon convincingly."
“The F-16 Demo Team is more than a pilot and an F-16. Vador is supported by a vast team of professionals, each with their own speciality. During the airshow season, the groundcrew of the F-16 Demo Team will ensure that the pilot can perform in the best possible conditions with a perfectly prepared aircraft.”
The team itself consists of one displaypilot, fourteen technicians and a webmaster. All team members belong to ordinary air force personnel which means they have to fulfil their duties as the members of the team as well as they are available for any mission to preserve peace and security worldwide.
“From the very first moment that Vador was assigned to become the new F-16 Demo Pilot, work started on the design of his new jet. Black and grey shades, underlining the speed and agility of the Fighting Falcon. The result is the Dark Falcon, the first Belgian Air Force F-16 demo jet with an all-black radome!”
The 2018 theme of the F-16 Demo Team is inspired by the international partnerships of the Belgian Air Component. To underline these partnerships, the “Dark Falcon" will be different in every country it flies. The “Dark Falcon” was presented on April 30, when it flew its first high performance display."
“During the season, we will keep you informed on our displays, projects, opportunities, surprises and charities. And for those true enthusiasts among you, we have a surprise in store: during the 2018 airshow season, the Dark Falcon will change its livery slightly 9 times!”
We invite you to make a lot of photos of our F-16 and the team and mail them to us.
Each week, we will post the best photos on here on our website and on our Facebook page. By the end of the season, we will select the best photographs and invite the makers of these photographs to Florennes AB for a unique meet and greet with the pilot and his crew. We'll post more about this on our Facebook page in a few months.
One of the selected photos will be chosen to be part of the Belgian Air Force exhibition stand for 2019! On top of that, the person that took that photograph will be given his/her photo, printed in high quality on hard board in size 100 x 70 cm, signed by the entire F-16 Demo Team !
So, get ready to make loads of photographs and be creative !
BECOME A PILOT YOURSELF
"The Belgian Air Force is a small but reliable NATO partner and offers many interesting and exciting job opportunities. If your ambition is to become a pilot yourself, we welcome you to come and see us at the events we will attend in Belgium. You can find more information on the following link (in Dutch) or this one (in French)."
The future looks promising.
By the end of the next decade, the entire fleet of our Air Force will be radically renewed. The NH-90 helicopter is already in use. Recently our Belgium has deployed the transport version (TTH) for its first foreign peace keeping mission in Africa while the marine version (NFH) will embark aboard the Belgian Navy frigates as a flying weapon system in the foreseeable future. Already the first pilots and technicians are in training abroad for the arrival of the A400M Atlas, the state-of-the-art transport aircraft that will replace the faithful C-130 Hercules aircraft in the coming years. Finally, the Air Component prepares the replacement of the F-16 as the backbone of its combat capability.
DARK FALCON CHARITY
“The Belgian Air Forc F-16 Solo Display supports a charity close to their heart: a childrens hospital in the city of Namur in Belgium, not too far from Florennes AB. Any possible profits of our appearances will be for the benefit of the children and professionals taking care of them in the hospital”
“The Belgian Air Force F-16 Solo Display has plenty of cool goodies, from badges to squadron prints, books T-shirts and even ceramic beer mugs! Benefits will go to our charity: the Childrens hospital in Namur, Belgium.”
JOIN TEAM VADOR
Altdough spectacular, the mayor part of the flight demonstration performed by “Vador” is especially focused on precision maneuvers, employed in actual combat during conflicts around the world and perfected in training. What makes this show unique, is the choreography of their execution, the rapid succession of movements and the low altitude of the performance. This requires a lot of airmanship.
The demonstration of the 'Dark Falcon' takes about 10 minutes. During this show, the pilot Vador performs a series of spectacular maneuvers. Doing so, he will submitted to accelerations up to 9G and reaches speeds of more than 1,000km/h.
BELGIAN AIR FORCE
SOLO DISPLAY F-16
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