After a five year hiatus, the Belgian Air Force Days returned to the Kleine Brogel Air Base, also known as ‘KeeBee’ in the aviation community. We visited the BAF Days on the first day, the Spottersday, which is known for good photo possibilities. On this day, the most aircraft are arriving and doing some practice demonstrations.
This airshow is a highlight in Europe, as it always features various exotic visitors. It is also used to present the capabilities of the Belgian military to the public, with the event arguably being the highlight of the public affairs calendar.
The participants throughout the day
Walking along the flightline, you could once again see how diverse the list of participants was. Starting with various helicopters from the Belgian Air Force at the entrance, this was only a glance to what we could expect to see at the airshow. More and more jets arrived throughout the day. One of the arriving highlights was this Swiss Air Force F/A-18C Hornet in the early morning shortly after the doors opened.
Simultaneously, the “Zeus Demo Team” from greece started their F16 for a morning practice run. The demo team is named after the hellenic god Zeus, who is the highest god in the hellenic mythology and is stronger than every other god. This spirit was also delivered by the very aggressive flying demonstration.
Further interesting arrivals were the Polish F-16s followed by Portuguese F-16s arriving in a two ship formation featuring a special tailart.
The first highlight of the flying display was the appearance of the USAF F-35A Demo team, flown by Major Kristin “Beo” Wolfe. She is the first female pilot for the USAF F-35A Demo Team. Her motto is to fly the F-35 as hard as possible, the highlight of her display being the “dedication pass”. This is a manoeuvre involving a high speed pass with a bank, creating a vapour cone.
Another highlight was the display of the Belgian Air Force solo display. Steven “Vrieske” De Vries flew a display with lots of negative G manoeuvres and high G-forces. His F-16 is wearing a special paint which represents a snake. Something very special about the so called “Dream Viper” is the rudder. It is wearing the Belgian flag and the flag of the country it is performing at. It was also one of the last displays flown by Vrieske, as the BAF solo demo pilot changes every two years.
There were also some special appearances at the airshow. One of the biggest highlights was the German Panavia Tornado in the new “Tiger” foiling. This was the first public appearance of this livery, as the roll out was just a few days before. The German Air Force also sent their special painted A400M promoting the multinational excercise Air Defender 2023.
Another highlight was a special tailart by the Belgian Air Force. As the first F-16 reached 8000 flying hours, they revealed the jubilee livery, just for the BAF Days. The livery had its roll out just a few days before the airshow. The last flight was already at the Spottersday. Afterwards it was parked at the entrance and never took off again.
Further participants are showcased in the gallery below. We had an amazing time at the Belgian Air Force Days. See you again in five years!