Fast Jet Action From Fighting Falcon
Published: 28 Apr 2016
More than 40 years after the aircraft type first flew, the F-16 Fighting Falcon remains one of the most potent combat aircraft in the world and one of the best air display performers.
Putting the aircraft through its paces at this summer's Air Tattoo and demonstrating it still packs a considerable punch will be Belgian Air Component demo pilot Cdt Tom 'Gizmo' De Moortel.
Belgium has flown the F-16 since 1979, and its Fighting Falcons are among the oldest still in service, but thanks to major upgrades they remain a force to be reckoned with.
Two wings of the Belgian Air Component operate a total of 54 F-16s, in the form of single-seat F-16A MLU and two-seat F-16B MLU (mid-life upgrade) models. They have taken part in coalition air operations over the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, as well as the Baltic Air Policing initiative.
The 2016 display aircraft, again sporting a spectacular colour scheme dubbed 'Blizzard', is provided by 31 and 349 Squadrons from the 10th Tactical Wing at Kleine Brogel. On several previous occasions, the Belgian F-16 has scooped one of the Air Tattoo's flying display trophies.
Backing up the F-16 will be two aircraft from the Belgian Air Component on static display. These will be a C-130H Hercules transport and, making its first appearance at the show, a veteran Piper L-21B Super Cub used as a glider tug to support the country's Air Cadets.
Photo Credit: Rich Cooper