Text & Pictures: Marc Arys © sbap 2014

On Wednesday November 05, 2014, Lieutenant-General Compernol handed over the command of the Belgian Air Component from Lieutenant General Aviator Claude Van de Voorde to General Major Aviator Frederik Vansina in presence of civil and military authorities, a.o. the Belgian Minister of Defence Steven Vandeput, the mayor of Florennes Pierre Helson, General Aviator Gerard Van Caelenberge, Belgian Chief of Defence, Lieutenant General Aarne Kreuzinger-Janik, former Commander of the German Air Force, General Denis Mercier, Commander of the French Armée de l'Air and Lieutenant General A. Schnitger, Commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

The ceremony was led by Colonel Aviator Georges Dejaeger, Chief of Staff of the Belgian Air Component and the troops were under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Pira. The troops present were a detachment from the 1 Wing at Beauvechain, a detachment from the 2 Wing at Florennes, a detachment of the ATCC Semmerzake, a  detachment of the CRC Glons and a detachment of the 80 UAV Squadron at Florennes.

Before the effective hand over of the command Lieutenant General Van de Voorde gave a little speech, reflecting, in his own style, on his past five years as the Air Component Commander. His own style including a little slip of the tongue when talking of the Air Force in the french language he talked about the 'Farce' (= joke). To conclude his speech he thanked all the personal of the Air Force and although he sometimes had to take decicions, good ones or bad ones, he did it as he said: 'I did it my way'.  Before leaving the remainder of the ceremony in the hands of Lieutenant General Van Compernol, he inspected the troops for the last time, the Royal Music Chapel of the Belgian Air Force playing, of course, 'My Way'. One has to say these were quite emotional moments for him.

However the ceremony went on and Lieutenant General Compernol officially appointed General Major Frederik Vansina as the new Commander of the Belgian Air Component, becoming the 15th Commander since 1946.

The ceremony was concluded by a fly-by of most of the aircraft types in use with the Air Force, including the types flown by Lieutenant General Van de Voorde as well as those he commanded.
Four Marchettis leading the way, three Alpha Jets and four F-16 pointing out the 'training scheme' of the pilots, from the Marchetti and Alpha Jet onto the F-16. Followed by two C-130H and three A-109 Agusta, trailed by a Falcon 900, a Falcon 20, an Embrear and four F-16, gear down, as a tribute to Lieutenant General Van de Voorde. When we thought it was all over, four F-16 buzzed the ceremony with full afterburner... sadly no time to take a decent picture...

SBAP would like to thank Lieutenant General Van de Voorde for his cooperation during the past five years and good luck with his new job.  We also wishes all the best to General Major Frederik Vansina. Good flight and safe landings to both of you !

The Standards

Col Avi Dejaeger and Belgian Minister of Defence Steven Vandeput

Col Avi Dejaeger
Col Avi Dejaeger and Lt Gen Avi Claude Van de Voorde, A little speech to remember the five past years
Lt Gen Van de Voorde during his last inspection of the troops
Lt Gen Compernol and the newly appointed Air Component Commander
Gen Maj Avi Frederik Vansina


Claude Van de Voorde


Frederik Vansina



(Serge Van Heertum)


(Serge Van Heertum)


Claude Van de Voorde was born on March 10, 1962. After three years at the Royal Cadet School in Brussels, he is admitted to the Royal Military School where he graduates in the social and military sciences.

At the end of 1985 he receives his wings and after his conversion onto the F-16 he is assigned to the 31th Tiger Squadron at Kleine-Brogel airbase ending as the operations officer. During his stay he particpates actively in various international exercises and deployments such as the Tactical Leadership Program, Red Flag, Very Low Level Flying. He also earns the license of Fighter Weapons Instructor after an intensive training at Örland Air Station (Norway).

After his second cycle in 1994 he becomes a staff officer at the headquarters of the Tactical Air Force where he takes the responsibility of the section 'Offensive Operations' as well as the desk management and planning. Achieving the higher staff course at the Royal defense Institute at Brussels, Maj Avi Van De Voorde is appointed commander of the 31 Fighter-Bomber Squadron in 1998 and takes actively part in Balkan operations. As the Belgian F-16 detachment commander he also flies missions over Bosnia and Kosovo within the frame of operation 'Allied Force'.

In 2001 he rejoins the section Planning and Programs of the air force staff and is later on appointed to the Strategic Department within the new staff where he is responsible for the long term planning of the Air Component.

He is promoted Colonel and in January 2004 becomes the military adviser of the Belgian delegation to NATO representing Belgium regarding the armament and nuclear policy.

Shortly after completing his Senior Course at the Nato Defence College in Rome, he is becomes base commander of the 10th Tactical Wing at Kleine-Brogel in 2007. He concludes his time as BaseCo totalizing almost 2.000 flight hours on F-16.

On July 23, 2009 General Major Aviator Claude Van de Voorde is appointed Commander of the Belgian Air Component and on September 01, 2011 also aide-de-camp (Vleugeladjudant) of king Albert II.

He will be the new Director of Operations within the Ministry of Defence.
Claude Van de Voorde lives in Hoegaarden with his wife Dominique and their two children, Thibaut and Charlotte.






Frederik Vansina was born on June 03, 1964. After one year in the “Inter Forces” of the Royal Cadet School in Lier, he is accepted in the 123 Promotion “All Weapons” at the Royal Military School.

Completing his pilot training in Brustem at the end of 1988 he starts his operational career with the 1st Fighter Wing at Beauvechain airbase, where he joins the 350th Fighter squadron after converting to the F-16. He steps through the various stages and specializes in electronic warfare. After completing the European F-16 user’s Fighter Weapons Instructor Training in 1992, he becomes the squadron’s Weapons and Tactics Instructor.

With the squadron, he takes part in numerous exercises and deployments such as the Tactical Leadership Program, Red Flag, Very Low Level Flying and multinational air operations from various areas within the European theater.

After the Majors Course, he returns to 350 Squadron as the Operations Officer in 1995.

When the 1st Fighter Wing disbands in 1996, he rejoins the Plans and Programs Division (VSP) at the Air Force Headquarters in Evere and become responsible for various Air Force investment programs dealing with fighter and trainer aircraft. For a period of four years, he combines this staff job with the one of aide-de-camp to His Royal Highness Prince Filip.

In 2000 Major Fred Vansina is appointed commander of the 349th Fighter Squadron at Kleine-Brogel and participates in the operation “Joint Forge/Joint Guardian” in the Balkans as Chief of Operations operating with a Belgian-Dutch detachment based at Amendola, Italy.

He is selected for the Higher Staff Course at the Royal Defence College in Laeken in 2002 and as a Lieutenant Colonel is posted to the Strategy Division of the Joint Staff where he working on studies regarding the future of the tactical air capability. He is subsequently appointed as the synthesis officer of ACOS.

Lieutenant Colonel Vansina assumes command of the 10th Tactical Wing Flying Group in 2005 and is transferred to COMOPSAIR in 2007 where he takes responsibility for the F-16 Operations Section. After a few months he becomes the Commander of the Operations Division.

On September 01, 2009 Colonel Aviator Vansina takes command of the 10th Tactical Wing at Kleine-Brogel and under his command the Wing participated in air operations over Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force and over Libya in Operation Unified Protector.Concluding this command he is selected for the Senior Course at the NATO Defence College in Rome and is appointed Chief of Staff of the Air Component in February 2013.



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