Beauvechain Air Base Day 2019, pilot recruitment asset for the Belgian Air Force

On April 10, 2019, the Beauvechain Air Base – home base of the 1st Belgian Air Force Wing – organized its annual public event which, like most of the air forces do in the world, aimed at attracting youngsters toward a military pilot career. The Belgian Special Forces also took part for the same reason.

Beauvechain Air Base Day 2019 pilot recruitment asset for the Belgian Air Force 1 Belgian Special Forces member descending from an NH90 MTH of the Belgian Air Component (Picture source: Air Recognition)

The 1st Wing of the Belgian Air Force (actually named “Air Component”) encompasses the 15th Squadron (Operational Conversion and Training Unit) and the 17th Squadron, both operating Agusta A109 helicopters, the 18th Squadron operating NHIndustries NH90 TTH Caiman helicopters, the Force Protection Squadron, and the Basic Flying Training School, composed of the 5th and 9th Squadrons, both operating Siai-Marchetti SF.260D/M trainer aircraft. Beauchevain is also the home base of the Military Glider Center; it operates L21B Super Cub as tow aircraft, and a variety of glider types. The Aviation Safety Directorate is also based at Beauvechain. The Base Commander is currently Colonel MSc Eng Danny Vandenberk. 

Beauvechain Air Base Day 2019 pilot recruitment asset for the Belgian Air Force 2 One of the four SIAI-Marchetti SF.260 of the "Red Devils" display team taxiing toward the runway during the press day (Picture source: Air Recognition)

The BAB Day 2019 was the first opportunity for the Belgian Air Component to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Marchetti and the 40th anniversary of the F-16, hence a new demo programme by the four “Red Devils” on Marchetti, and by Senior Capt Stefan “Vador” Darte on F-16 “Dark Falcon”, beside the aerobatic display that was performed by the A109. The Belgian naval version of the NH90, the NH90 NFH (which recently took over the SAR missions of the Westland Seaking operated by the 40th Squadron based at Koksyde), was also demonstrated with a rescue scenario.

The demo performed by the Belgian special forces involved the participation of a Belgian and a German NH90, as well as A109s in air support and MEDEVAC roles.