My Belgian Air Force career
a photo tour narrated by Philip Avonds
I have also compiled a few pilot stories from my career. These can be read here.
|18 October 1976: my first day in the Air Force|
|I'm the fifth from the left...|
|Elementary Pilot Training on Siai Marchetti SF-260|
|125 flying hours / first solo flight: May 5th, 1977 with ST-09|
|Advanced Pilot Training on Fouga Magister CM-170 in 1978|
|also later 1982-1984 and 2003|
|150 flying hours / first solo flight: February 28th, 1978 with MT-16|
|(anecdotic note: I made 4 flights with tailnumber MT-48, the subject of my scale Fouga Magister model)|
|Graduation on Lockheed T-33A|
|90 flying hours / first solo flight: September 19th, 1978 with FT-36|
|I receive my Air Force pilot wings March 1st,
|76B promotion at wings parade March 1st, 1979. This was also the day of the official presentation of the Belgian Air Force Alpha Jet (seen at the back)|
|44 years later and the hangar of our wings parade can still be found on the Brustem airfield (near Sint-Truiden)|
Flying fast jets: my little boys' dream!
After pilot training, I was very happy to be assigned to Kleine Brogel to start my operational pilot career on the Lockheed F-104G Starfighter.
Back to the parking place after my first solo on TF-104G (tail number FC-08)...
...doing the shutdown checks...
...and receiving congratulations from the F-104 instructor pilots, from left to right: Swa Aerts, Marc Van Huysse and Tony Muls
May 22nd, 1979
|Note that the first solo was performed in a TF-104G with empty back seat. The reason was that there was a slight difference in "feel" between singleseater and twoseater (due to the CG being more forward on the singleseater). My first singleseater flight was performed the next day.|
|After the traditional "shower" from the fire truck, posing in front of the aircraft and drinking a well deserved beer together with my chase pilot Armand Van Reydt|
|Some 40 years later, I find my first solo aircraft on display at the open air museum of Savigny (France)...|
|First operational tour: 31 "Tiger" Squadron in Kleine Brogel|
|Lockheed F-104G Starfighter|
|645 flying hours|
|CO Alex Peelaers congratulates me after my first solo
on F-16A (tail number FA-61)
July 8th, 1983
|Second operational tour: 31 "Tiger" Squadron in Kleine Brogel|
|General Dynamics F-16A|
|160 flying hours|
Helicopters: a whole new ballgame
Unfortunately, medical reasons brought my fighter pilot career to a halt. I had to choose between transport or helicopter. The latter became my choice for the simple reason that the location would give me better aeromodelling opportunities...
|Initial helicopter training on Sikorsky HSS-1|
|From the most modern jet in the inventory to the oldest aircraft...|
|40 Squadron Search and Rescue (SAR)|
|75 flying hours / first "solo" flight: November 14th, 1984|
|Westland Sea King SAR helicopter|
|3200 flying hours / first "solo" flight: March 18th, 1985|
|The only time I didn't land with the airplane I took off with...|
|AFF jump from a Sea King above Koksijde|
Farewell party and last flight 22-24 October 2003
|Tour through the city of Koksijde with the squadron fellows...|
|...and lots of smoke and flares!|
|Photo session before the last flight.|
|One more flypast...|
...and my last landing as a Belgian Air Force pilot!
(anecdotic note: the same day and at about the same time, the last official Concorde flight was landing at London Heathrow...)
|A well deserved beer at the conclusion of my Air Force career|
|presented by CO Erwin Deolet|
|Many years later: nostalgic ride in an SV-4b in 2014, read more|
Philip Avonds Scale Jets