Text & pictures : Serge Van Heertum & Marc Arys - S.B.AP. ©
Who doesn't know “Mickey” and his superb F-16 demonstration?
After 3 years of airshows and thousands of spectators who vibrated by seeing his evolutions, Cdt Avi Michael Artiges passes the hand to his colleague “Mitch” Beulen of the 349 Squadron based at Kleine Brogel.
To end 3 season of high stunt-flying and power, “Mickey” offered a last demonstration above Florennes air base, with a snowy background to its guests and the press on December 3rd.
Impressive as usual…
Joined after its demonstration by “Mitch”, our two guys made a superb break before touchdown.
Back to the parking and after shutdown, they yielded with the requests of the photographers, in order to immortalise this moment and their cordial handshakes.
To summarize, “Mickey” is a great "Gentleman", a noble-hearted friendly family man. He will continue his career on F-16 and SBAP wishes him a lot of success.
Also let us welcome “Mitch”, who in his turn will get the crowd to vibrate and will carry the Belgian colours high in the sky.
For both of you, good flight and always safe landing.
See also the Special Feature on the BAHA web site!
Cdt Avi Michael Artiges joined the Belgian Air Force in 1993 as an airfield policeman. He integrated the Promotion 93A and after a successful training, received his wings in 1995.
After a conversion onto the F-16 in the United
States, Cdt Artiges passed through the OCU with the 10th Wing at Kleine Brogel. Finally he joined the 350 Squadron based at Florennes. During
this period he participated actively in the Balkan campaign.
In 2002 he left this Squadron for the Operation and Evaluation Center (OEC). After this administrative period, Cdt Artiges went back to an operational unit, the 1st Squadron also based at Florennes.
During his career, "Mickey" has totalised 2450 flight hours, of which 2050 on F-16!
Who is Michel 'MITCH' BEULEN?
pilot of the Air Component F-16 Solo Display 2009 - 2011 is Michel "Mitch"
349 (F) Squadron at
Kleine Brogel Air Base.
Mitch was born on June 16th, 1975 in Oostende and lives together with Kim and his 2 sons, Niels and Mathias, in Hasselt since 2003.
He acquired his first flying experience with the Belgian Air Cadets (BAC) in 1992. In October 1996 he joined the pilot's promotion (Prom Pil) 96B. From January 1997, Mitch received basic flight training on SF260 Marchetti with the 5th Squadron at Beauvechain , the Advanced Flying Training on Alpha-Jet with the 7th Squadron and his Initial Operational Training with the 11th Squadron. On 16 December 1998, he received his pilot wings.
In September 1999, Mitch moved to Kleine Brogel for his operational conversion on the F-16 in the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU). Initially on F-16 OCU (block 15) and afterwards on F-16 MLU (MidLife Update). In September 2000, he joined the 349 Squadron.
worked through the entire training cycle from Combat Ready to Force Leader in his
Squadron. He took part in various specialised courses such as the
Tactical Leadership Programme
Florennes and the
Operational Test & Evaluation Course (OT&E) at the National Test Pilot School
(NTPS) in California (USA). He also took part in exercises such as: ACMI - NOMAD - Maple Flag -
Red Flag - Green Flag - NATO Air Meet (NAM) in Konya (Turkey) - Bold Avenger as
Director of Operations (DOO) in Örland (Norway) and
Air Defence Meet in Landivisiau
He participated in the F-16 M4 test program (Early Operational Assessment and Operational Test & Evaluation) an flew operations during Operation Joint Falcon in Amendola (Italy).
Mitch totalises more than 2000 flight hours of which 1700 on F-16.
|"Mickey" and Mickey|
|Start up in the shelter||on taxi|
|High speed turn||low speed pass|
|High speed||Negative climb|
|Low roll||Mickey and Mitch|
|Break||and a last pass over the squadron|
|Back to the parking||Following the crew chief signs|
|Concentrated till the shutdown||and here is the new one! Welcome "Mitch"|
|"Mickey" his trusted crew and "Mitch"||Mickey and his real fan club...|
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