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Mon, Feb 26, 2024

Belgian Falcon Demo Team Ends Season

Aging F-16s End Term as Airshow Faves in Surprise Turn

Belgium's F-16 demonstration team is calling it quits for a time, citing external commitments, aging airframes, and a transition to the F-35 Lightning.

In a message posted to the team's Insta account, the Belgians said that they would "not be renewing the F-16 Solo Display for 2024", despite having a banner year in 2023. "Instead," they said, "we have actively initiated our transition to the F-35." That transition isn't the only thing on their plate, but it remains high on the list of things to do. There apparently isn't much life left in the F-16s on hand, too, since the team describes their aircraft as being "near the end of their service life." 

On top of that, they add, "our recent involvement in training Ukrainian pilots has mobilized a significant portion of our resources." That's a pretty full plate for a fairly limited-scale air force, leaving the distinctive green 'Viper' livery retired for the foreseeable future.

"Our primary focus now is on training our fighter pilots, fulfilling our operational commitments, and transitioning to the F-35A. We express immense gratitude for the dedication of our last F-16 demonstration pilot, Senior Captain Steven ‘Vrieske’ De Vries. Throughout the past two seasons, he has served as an exemplary ambassador for the Air Force with his 'Dream Viper' performances," the team said. 

FMI: www.16solodisplay.be

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